Security for everyone - Reviewing Comodo Internet Security Complete 8
Comodo is a US-based company that has built itself a quite a popular brand, mainly based on their free security products like Comodo Free Internet Security or the Comodo Free Firewall. They are also developing commercial security products that offer users more options and features than their free products. Their most complete security product is Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 and it includes features like a secure sandbox in which to run unknown applications, a cloud-based antivirus engine, Wi-Fi data encryption and more. We were curious to learn how effective this product is in securing your Windows computers and devices so we have tested it for about a week. Read this review to see what we have learned:
The first step in having your computer protected by Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 is to download and install it. From the official website , you will have to download Comodo’s installer, which is an executable file of generous proportions. The ciscomplete_installer.exe has a size of 207 MB and it’s the complete setup for the suite.
When you run the installer, Comodo’s installation wizard is launched and you have to make a few choices regarding the installation. For starters, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 asks you to choose in which language you want to use the security suite. Some of the available languages packages are created by Comodo, while some are created by its community.
You are asked to provide an email address and to choose whether you want to enable Comodo’s “Cloud Based Behavior Analysis” and send anonymous program usage statistics to Comodo. All these choices are optional so it’s fine if you don’t want to provide your email address or enable any of the other two options.
During the next installation step, Comodo tries to convince you to change your default browser with Chromodo - a web browser based on Chromium (just like Google Chrome and Opera) that’s developed by Comodo. We didn’t like this and most users will want to stick with their existing web browser. Additionally, Google’s engineers proved that Chromodo - this web browser developed and advertised by Comodo to be more secure than others - is in fact an unsafe web browser that puts its users in danger.
Fortunately, you can stop Comodo from installing the Chromodo browser: click or tap the Customize Installation button and then uncheck Chromodo.
As you’ve probably noticed from the previous screen capture, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 also installs a tool called Comodo GeekBuddy - 24/7 Live PC Support. We’ll talk later in this review about it but, for now, we’d like to point out the fact that you can choose to skip installing this tool.
After you have chosen what you want to install, the installation proceeds and it doesn’t take long until it is done. Then, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 immediately starts an automatic update of its virus definitions database. To our surprise, this means that you will get another 235MB of data downloaded from Comodo’s servers. Having the definitions updated as soon as the security product is installed is a good thing. However, having to download 235 MB of files after you initially downloaded another 207MB, is not that great. In total, you must download 442 MB of data, which is quite a lot.
While Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 was still installing the updates (which is a very slow-paced task), our desktop was “invaded" by several windows and prompts. Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 loaded its main user interface, it kept the virus definitions updates window on the top, it asked us what type of network we are connected to, it loaded a GeekBuddy notification and it also loaded a gadget on the top right corner of our Desktop. We found this approach on the aggressive side of things and many users will feel the same.
Ah… how could you forget? You also need to reboot your computer in order for the security suite to work as it should. So here you are: take another notification, ‘cause maybe your Desktop is too clean and the user interface, the updating window and the GeekBuddy notification are not enough. :)
Our first impressions regarding the interaction with Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 are rather negative. Installing this suite means downloading a lot of data, Comodo tries to install stuff you may not want on your computer and, when the installation is done, it scares you with lots of prompts and windows being loaded on the screen. Casual users will surely not appreciate the first interactions with this product.
Integration with Windows 8.1 & modern apps
The first thing we looked at in terms of integration with Windows, was whether Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 disables Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. The security suite did disable Windows Defender but it did not disable Windows Firewall. This is not a great choice, because having two firewalls that run at the same time can lead to issues and performance problems.
Then, we checked if the Comodo firewall module adjusts its settings according to the network profile you use in Windows. The first time you connect to a network, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 asks you what kind of network that is: Public, Work or Home. These choices are inspired by Windows 7. However, modern versions of Windows use only two network profiles: Private and Public. This may cause confusion for some users.
One strange thing about Comodo Internet Security C o mplete 8 is the fact that you can only set this network profile ( Public, Work or Home ) once - when you first connect to that network. A fterwards, if you want to change the protection level of a known network, you can only set it as trusted or blocked. This only increases the confusion for its users.
On the bright side of things, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 is well integrated with all the networking features in Windows 8.1. We had no problems in creating or joining Homegroups and we had no issues when we shared files, folders or when we streamed media over the local network. Modern apps also worked well, without any problems.
In terms of online security, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 is lacking: you can get some protection only if you choose to change your DNS servers and that’s something some people will not enjoy doing. Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 doesn’t filter your HTTP traffic and it doesn’t offer any browser add-ons that could help in stopping you from loading malicious websites. If you are an IT professional and you know that you might be visiting a malicious website you could use the sandboxing feature offered by Comodo Internet Security Complete 8. That lets you use any browser in a sandboxed environment so that nothing dangerous gets out and infects your PC. However, that doesn’t protect you against phishing websites for instance and you could lose personal information quite easily. Unfortunately, casual users won’t know when to use the sandboxed environment offered by Comodo so they are not really protected when browsing the web.
Next, we used the Task Manager in Windows, to see how much RAM memory Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 needs to run its processes. We found that, in normal conditions, it needs about 75MB of RAM. When something special takes place, like a malware detection or an antivirus scan, the RAM used by Comodo grows with another 10-20 MB. However, the suite uses your processor a lot and, on our test computer it even used 100% of its processing power, making our computer rather unresponsive. If you’re curious, you should know that our test computer runs on a 2GHz quad-core Intel Core 2 Duo processor and has 6GB of DDR3 RAM memory.
Next, we used BootRacer to measure the boot timing of our test computer before and after we installed Comodo Internet Security Complete 8. Unfortunately, after installing Comodo, our test computer needed almost twice the time to boot than it did before. Our computer’s boot time increased by 31 seconds, which was 92% more than before installing Comodo. This is a huge increase.
To get a better picture of how much this suite affected our test computer’s performance, we also ran some tests with the popular benchmarking tool PCMark 8. We ran the Home conventional tests before and after we installed Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 and we’ve found that this security suite has quite a bit of an impact on performance. Our test computer was 8% slower in these tests than before installing Comodo.
Another negative point about Comodo is that it does not protect its processes from termination: we could easily kill all of them and malware will be able to do the same.
We also noticed that, if you uninstall Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 , you have to be careful because it doesn’t remove everything it installed in the first place. The Chromodo web browser and the GeekBuddy tools remain installed on your computer. You have to remove them manually in order to get rid of all Comodo software on your computer. Again, many users won’t appreciate this.
Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 has some big issues in terms of integration with Windows 8.1. The networking features work well but the security suite doesn’t disable the Windows Firewall and the Comodo firewall module doesn’t adjust its protection level according to the network profile you set in Windows. Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 is a resource-hungry product which almost doubled the boot times of our computer. Also, as it includes no online protection, Comodo leaves you unprotected when browsing malicious websites.
Ease of use and configuration
Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 offers an user interface that looks good. On its main console, it shows if you are secured or not, right from the start. You also get to see quick information about detected threats and network attacks.
Clicking or tapping any of the modules from the main console switches its “tile” and shows you more details about it or gives quick access to contextual actions.
On the bottom of the user interface, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 displays a toolbar that gives you fast access to a range of common actions like running an antivirus scan, making a manual virus definitions check and update, opening the Quarantine and so on.
While it doesn’t have a very intuitive name, the Tasks button from the top right corner of the main console is the one you have to press in order to get access to the actions, options and settings of all the protection modules that are included in this security suite.
If you want to get access to the really Advanced Settings , you have to go to Tasks , then to Advanced Tasks and then to Open Advanced Settings.
In terms of advanced settings, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 offers lots of them. They will probably make every security geek happy.
If you need help in understanding what a certain option or setting is about, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 offers you only online help. It’s comprehensive and it is mostly helpful, but there are some advanced settings that are hard to understand even if you read their documentation.
If you need further support, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 offers you GeekBuddy - a tool that will put you in contact with one of Comodo’s tech support staff. However, even if it is installed by default together with Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 , this GeekBuddy tool is not a part of the security suite. If you want to use it, you have to pay an additional and significant sum of money to Comodo. We found the way Comodo markets its products to be quite strange. Normally, their offer is for you to purchase a Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 at a price of 89.99 USD. But that doesn’t include GeekBuddy as far as we can tell from their website. If you buy Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 with GeekBuddy you will pay almost 200 USD (for 3 PCs), which is a huge price for any security solution.
If you are curious to see what happened on your computer in terms of security, it’s good to know that Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 offers both visual statistics that are easy to understand and very detailed logs about every security event that took place on your PC, however small.
In terms of alerts and notifications, Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 is neither verbose or silent. However, the notifications that kept popping from the GeekBuddy tool that came with this security suite annoyed us quite fast.
Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 has a decent user interface that does its job. However, in the time we used this product we felt that this user interface could have been better organized. The advanced settings for instance, are harder to find than they should be. One thing we consider very negative is the fact that, if you require some more advanced support in using this suite, you have to buy Comodo Internet Security Complete 8 with GeekBuddy, which costs roughly three times what you’d normally pay f or another security suite from another vendor.
On the next page of this review you can see how the firewall and the antivirus modules fared in our tests.