Panda Internet Security 2009 detected 95 percent of the malware in AV-Test’s library and scored 45.3 percent in heuristic tests: seventh place for both categories.

Panda Internet Security 2009 also had problems with spyware for stealing bank data and passwords, stopping 69 percent, but performed more creditably at behavioural detection, where it caught eight out of 15 samples.

Its detection scores might not be awe-inspiring, but Panda Internet Security 2009 more than makes up for this with a superb range of features. A web-based addition, Collective Intelligence, sends signatures of scanned files to Panda servers for comparison against an online database.

As well as parental controls, backup, antispam and antiphishing, Panda Internet Security 2009 has a vulnerability scanner that can check for missing patches. Some of these extras could use polish, but this suite was the only one of the group with all of them – a highly impressive feat.

The backup feature can work by file type, selected folders or drives. It’s easy to set up, but you can schedule a daily backup only to another hard drive or to a CD or DVD. Panda Internet Security 2009's antispam option adds a toolbar and spam folder to Outlook and Outlook Express.

Panda Internet Security 2009 clocked a really quick on-access scanning speed, although it was way too slow at completing scheduled or manual scans.

Autumn normally heralds the release of next year's round of security software and Panda Security is no different. Its latest domestic range comprises three products: Antivirus Pro 2009, Internet Security 2009 and Global Protection 2009.

We looked at Panda Internet Security 2009, which for less than £43 offers a smorgasbord of protection; a multi-purpose antimalware engine, IM protection, heuristic-based pro-active protection, rootkit protection, a personal firewall, various anti-phishing measures, a spam and web filter, parental controls, a range of identity theft protection tools and data backups. So, quite a list.

In case you're wondering, the dearer Global Protection package adds two features to Panda Internet Security 2009: 2GB of online backup and a system tune-up facility.

The big new feature in Panda Internet Security 2009 is Collective Intelligence. This relies on every user to be the eyes and ears for Panda's central monitoring facility in 'the cloud'. In theory this has a number of benefits - zero-day attacks are spotted virtually immediately and real time alerts can be sent to all PIS 2009 users.

The use of white-listing technologies will improve scanning efficiency. Ideally, thanks to CI, the Panda Internet Security 2009 virus signature database held on each PC will list only those viruses actually reported to be on the loose, so it should be relatively small, which reduces the resource impact on each PC.

Panda Internet Security 2009 also makes use of this technology in its spam filter. This community-based approach to security isn't new - Sunbelt's IHateSpam relies on its members to identify spam emails to quickly build a ‘herd immunity' to threats.