Would you rather have 10 cookies, or all the cookies you want? Unlimited cookies clearly seems better, even though you probably wouldn’t even eat 10 of them at one sitting.
The same holds for security suite licenses. Rather than limit you to protecting a finite number of Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices, McAfee LiveSafe (2017) covers as many as you have in your household.
The unique Personal Locker encrypted cloud storage feature puts this suite into the winner’s circle.
That all-household protection costs you $89.99 per year.
That’s pretty good, considering that Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device and Trend Micro Maximum Security offer five licenses for about the same price.
A 10-license Norton Security Premium subscription also costs about the same, and it comes with 25GB of hosted online backup storage and an Editors’ Choice parental control system.
A Must-ReadTypically when I cover a company’s security product line, I work my way up from the standalone antivirus through the entry-level security suite and all the way up to the feature-packed mega-suite.
That lets me keep review sizes reasonable, as I just summarize any features shared in earlier reviews, concentrating on the differences, enhancements, and added features in the product being reviewed.
With this review, I’m not going to do as much summarization as usual, because McAfee LiveSafe is identical to McAfee Internet Security, with one enhancement and one standalone added component. Please click the link and read my review of McAfee Internet Security, then come back here to learn what more you get with McAfee LiveSafe.
Note that McAfee Total Protection is also nearly identical to McAfee’s entry-level suite.
It differs from LiveSafe only in the added features.
Enhanced Password ManagementTrue Key by Intel Security focuses on multifactor authentication more than any competing product.
It’s not as strong in some other areas, but the various authentication choices let you make it as secure as you want. With the entry-level McAfee suite, you get one TrueKey subscription and the ability to access your passwords on as many devices as you want.
I mention earlier that McAfee LiveSafe protects all the devices in your household, yours, your partner’s, your children’s, and so on.
Chances are good, however, that you don’t want to share your all passwords with everybody in the household. McAfee LiveSafe solves that conundrum by giving you five True Key licenses. Now each member of your household (well, up to five of them) can manage their passwords separately.
Personal LockerThe Personal Locker comes only with LiveSafe, not with any other McAfee product.
This is a 1GB chunk of online storage that’s thoroughly encrypted and protected by multiple layers of biometric authentication. You can install it on all of your Android and iOS devices, and also on PCs that run Windows 8 or later and that are equipped with the necessary camera and microphone.
You install Personal Locker by logging in to your McAfee account online and sending a download link to whatever email address is associated with the device you plan to use.
It’s also possible to simply download the app from the appropriate app store and activate it with a code that you can get from the online account. Note that to use this feature in Windows, you download a Windows app called McAfee Central.
When you launch the app, it starts setting up security. You define a PIN, snap a photo of your face, and recite an inspiring statement into the microphone three times.
There’s always the possibility that biometric authentication will fail to recognize you.
To avoid just locking you out of your files, the app prompts you to set up three security questions.
But gaining access to a locked account isn’t just a matter of knowing the answers. You must also call McAfee tech support and convince a support agent of your identity; the security answers are just part of the process.
Assuming you succeed, the agent remotely grants you temporary access, so you can recalibrate the face and voice recognition modules.
You can also register a trusted friend to be your delegate.
The friend gets an email explaining how to set up Personal Locker. Now if you lose your voice or get a nose job, you can have that friend unlock the Personal Locker for you.
There are several ways to get things into the locker. You can create a secure note right in the locker, or snap a photo to the locker without ever hitting the insecure Photos app.
And you can add photos or other files stored on the device.
For each item you add, you specify High or Low security. Low means a simple PIN is sufficient for access.
If you chose High security, you must go through face and voice verification to unlock the file.
True Key also uses face-recognition as one of its many authentication options.
To thwart a spy trying to authenticate using a picture of you, True Key can optionally require you to move your head from side to side. Personal Locker doesn’t have that same live-ness guarantee, and its face-recognition can be thrown off by a smile or other expression.
But that spy won’t get past voice recognition using a recording of your voice.
In addition to the standard test phrase, you also get a different phrase to speak every time you log in.
I hit a snag trying to use Personal Locker on a laptop upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 10.
The webcam works fine when I Skype in for weekly team meetings, but no Windows apps recognize the camera.
A little research revealed that a huge number of people who’ve upgraded to Windows 10 have the same problem, with no real resolution from Microsoft.
This is totally not McAfee’s fault, of course!
In testing, Personal Locker worked fine on both a Nexus 9 and an Apple iPad Air.
I set up facial and voice recognition on the Nexus and had no trouble authenticating on the iPad.
McAfee Total Protection offers local encrypted storage instead of biometrically protected cloud storage.
That’s pretty mundane by comparison.
Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2017, Kaspersky Total Security, and others offer very similar Windows-only encrypted local storage.
Top of the HeapMcAfee LiveSafe pioneered the one-subscription all-devices licensing that’s now part of the entire McAfee product line.
The unique Personal Locker is what puts it ahead of the other McAfee suites.
It’s an Editors’ Choice for cross-platform multi-device security.
Symantec Norton Security Premium, our other Editors’ Choice in this category, rates higher in testing, and comes with 25GB of hosted online storage for your backups.
It’s definitely worth consideration if you don’t expect to need more than 10 licenses.
Sub-Ratings:Note: These sub-ratings contribute to a product’s overall star rating, as do other factors, including ease of use in real-world testing, bonus features, and overall integration of features.Firewall: Antivirus: Performance: Privacy: Parental Control:
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