McAfee VirusScan

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McAfee LiveSafe
Initial release1988; 35 years ago (1988)
Stable release(s)
SecurityCenter19.14.143 / March 9, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-09)
VirusScan25.7.148 / March 12, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-12)
Personal Firewall21.4.143 / December 4, 2021; 15 months ago (2021-12-04)
WebAdvisor4.1.1.685 / March 12, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-12)
QuickClean and Shredder20.4.162 / March 9, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-09)
Vulnerability Scanner10.4.110 / March 9, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-09)
App Boost18.24.154 / March 9, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-09)
VPN18.24.156 / March 9, 2022; 12 months ago (2022-03-09)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, IOS

McAfee VirusScan is an antivirus software created and maintained by McAfee (formerly known as Intel Security, and Network Associates prior to that). Originally marketed as a standalone product, it has been bundled with McAfee LiveSafe, McAfee AntiVirus Plus,[1] McAfee Total Protection and McAfee Gamer Security since 2010. McAfee LiveSafe integrates antivirus, firewall and anti-spyware/anti-ransomware capabilities.[2]
In 2006, British telecom company BSkyB started offering Sky Broadband customers a branded version of VirusScan for free upon broadband modem installation.[3]

VirusScan Enterprise[edit]

McAfee also produces an enterprise-level product named VirusScan Enterprise: McAfee has designed this for use on larger networks designed to make management of antivirus software on multiple computers easier. Unlike the home-user edition, the Enterprise edition consists of a client application for networked computers, and a server application, which the system installs updates and configures settings for all client programs. Clients can be controlled using the included ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), which is a unified console that can control VirusScan and other McAfee products. Support for VirusScan Enterprise ended on December 31, 2021.

VirusScan for Mac[edit]

In November 2008 McAfee announced[4] VirusScan for Mac OS. (Earlier versions used the name Virex, developed by HJC Software.) Key changes in VirusScan 8.6 included Leopard Compatibility (a universal binary package that ran on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs), On-Access scanning, and Apple Mail support.


Poor independent test results[edit]

In tests by Virus Bulletin and additional independent consumer-organizations, McAfee VirusScan has not fared well, frequently failing to detect some common viruses.[5]

A review of VirusScan 2006 by CNET criticized the product due to "pronounced performance hits in two of our three real-world performance tests"[6] and some users reviewing the same product reported encountering technical problems.[6]

Some older versions of the VirusScan engine use all available CPU cycles.[7]

As of 2009, McAfee virus-scanning products did not handle false positives well, repeatedly removing or quarantining known clean files, even after user restoration of these files.[8]

Customer support criticisms[edit]

Reviewers have described customer support for McAfee products as lacking, with support staff slow to respond and unable to answer many questions.[9][10]

2010 reboot problem[edit]

On April 21, 2010, beginning approximately at 2 PM GMT, an erroneous virus definition file update from McAfee affected millions of computers worldwide running Windows XP Service Pack 3. The update resulted in the removal of a Windows system file (svchost.exe) on those machines, causing machines to lose network access and, in some cases, to enter a reboot loop. McAfee rectified this by removing and replacing the faulty DAT file, version 5958, with an emergency DAT file (version 5959) and has posted a fix for the affected machines in its consumer "KnowledgeBase".[11][12]

2012 update issues[edit]

An August 2012 update to McAfee antivirus caused the protection to become turned off and users to lose internet connections. McAfee was criticized for not notifying users promptly of the issues when they learned about it.[13][14]

Current standing[edit]

McAfee, though well-known, continues to have mixed reviews by industry sources,[15] and the company has prepared a 2015 release series to address current market conditions. This repositioning includes voice and facial recognition authentication for cloud-based data security.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "McAfee AntiVirus Plus". PCMAG. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  2. ^ "McAfee LiveSafe". PCMAG. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Sky Offers 'Free' Broadband". CIO. IDG Communications, Inc. July 18, 2006.
  4. ^ "McAfee, Inc. Releases VirusScan Software for Leopard". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  5. ^ Virus Bulletin (registration required)
  6. ^ a b Tedja, Irsan (2005-11-09). "McAfee VirusScan 2006 Reviews". CNET. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  7. ^ Release Notes for McAfee VirusScan v4.5.1
  8. ^ "Computer Shopper Review". 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  9. ^ "TopTen Reviews". Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  10. ^ Adware Support review
  11. ^ "McAfee DAT 5958 Update Issues". 21 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Botched McAfee update shutting down corporate XP machines worldwide". 21 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  13. ^ "McAfee antivirus update causes problems for home and enterprise customers". 21 August 2012.
  14. ^ "McAfee Web Connection Issues with No Communication". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  15. ^ "McAfee VirusScan Home Edition Review". Archived from the original on 2005-02-05.
  16. ^ "McAfee announces 2015 editions of its antivirus and security suites".

External links[edit]