Despite the name, Panda hasn’t gone into the Team America: World Police business. Instead, Global Protection 2013 is its top-of-the-range internet Security product, with all the bells, whistles, vuvuzelas and ti’ko drums.
Panda has jazzed up the interface a bit since the 2012 version, with a nod to Windows 8’s Metro interface.
On the front panel are big, squarish icons for all the main components of the suite. There’s also a small status panel at the top, showing the number of scanned files and the total number of infections spotted.
At the bottom is a row of icons covering social media protection and buttons calling up security tools, such as network analysis and a virtual keyboard.
The suite includes scanning, anti-virus and firewall, but also extras like file encryption, PC optimisation, parental control and personal data protection.
Each of these tools has its own setup and reporting screen and these are clearly laid out and generally easy to navigate.
Global Protection 2013 has a new Scan Manager which, Panda claims, only works when necessary and can result in 70% faster scans.
We were interested to test this and so ran our standard test, timing the scanning of 50GB of mixed files, twice. The first time, the program took just under 40 minutes to scan 456,329 files, giving a scan rate of 191 files/sec, near the fastest among programs we’ve tested.
When we ran the same test again, the program took 23 min 42 sec to examine 273,770 files, roughly half the time and half the file set, so the intelligence certainly seems to be working.
Our final test, copying a 1GB file with and without a background scan running, slowed the copy from 43 sec to 50 sec, an increase of 16%, one of the lowest we’ve seen.
The anti-virus software test organisation AV Test hasn’t yet finished evaluating the 2013 AV engine in Panda Global Protection, but it tested the 2012 product and scored it at 13.0/18.0, a fair score, though only about half way up the field of 25 internet security products in its test group.
It isn’t up with the likes of Kaspersky or ZoneAlarm and is even beaten, overall, by Microsoft’s free Security Essentials 4.
Breaking down the score into its components parts, Panda 2012 managed 5.0/6.0 for Protection, 4.0/6.0 for Repair and 4.0/6.0 for Usability.
It achieved 100% on detection of recent malware and the same on older threats, but was only average on detecting zero-day attacks, even though Panda pioneered sharing threat details through the cloud.
In the Repair category it did well at spotting widespread threats, including rootkits, but was only average at removing them and well below average on fixing other critical system modifications. It also gave a few more false positives than the group average.
The extra facilities within the program include file encryption, with a password manager to safely store your online passwords, and PC optimisation.
Optimisation in Panda’s book comprises cleaning temporarily files and disk defragmentation, but there’s also a facility to schedule backup of selected files and file classes.
Panda Global Protection 2013 is a reasonably comprehensive protection tool for one or more PCs in a home or small-business environment. The last version of the AV engine to be tested wasn’t a top player, but protection efficacy of Panda’s 2013 offering is as yet unknown. The suite is easy to use and on our PC had, as Panda claims, a light touch.