Eset Smart Security 7 Review: Internet Security Software
|Visit Eset Smart Security 7 Website|
|Provides simple yet strong protection with added perks like a Social Media Scanner and Parental Controls.|
If what you want is simple security software with a few great extras, then ESET is the software for you. While the software is difficult to maneuver despite its simple design, ESET's high performance in its antivirus and antimalware protection more than make up for a less-than-stellar interface.
Compared to other software we reviewed, ESET's installation isn't as smooth as it could be. The installation process is broken up with a few questions and you have to wait for an email with an activation code before you can use the software. Despite those minor annoyances, installation is quick and relatively simple.
Once again, ESET has maintained their simple interface. Navigation can be found at the left sidebar and consists of Home, Computer Scan, Update, Setup, Tools, Training and Help and Support. The Home page displays your current protection status along with color-coded alerts regarding your system or the software, and links to "Frequently Used " features. (Sadly, these links remain static and do not change to reflect which features you actually use most frequently.)
Computer Scan offers four options: Smart Scan, Custom Scan, Removable Media Scan and Repeat Last Scan. You can also view logs for scans done in the past. Update lets you update the virus signature database and the software separately. Setup has easy toggle switches for enabling/disabling various features and also allows you to disable specific features on a timer — anywhere from 10 minutes to the next reboot, as well as permanent disabling. Help and Support provides links to the help manual, customer care and your product license information.
While simple, the interface is not as intuitive or easy to navigate as it could be. As noted in previous reviews, finding what you need can involve a little bit of hunting. The addition of "Frequently Used " links to the home page is a nice idea, but would be better if they updated to reflect the features you actually use most frequently — or if you could change them yourself, like we've seen from Bitdefender and Avast!.
ESET offers pretty basic features, but has started to add a number of extras over the past couple of years to keep up with the competition. Some of the new and important features in this year's software include:
Exploit Blocker: Detects infections in your operating system and applications.
Advanced Memory Scanner: Helps keep you safe from threats that are purposely avoiding detection.
Vulnerability Shield: Offers protection against network-based threats.
Parental Controls: Basic but effective parental controls filter web page content based on predetermined age categories and allow you to create custom blocked/allowed lists.
Anti-Theft: Free with the purchase of your software, this application lets you track your laptop or other devices so you can easily locate them in case of theft.
Social Media Scanner: Install this app to any number of Facebook or Twitter profiles, which it then scans for infected links and downloads. The app also provides a Status Report based on the most recent scan, Scan History where you can see all of your past scan results, a Security Center where you can manage your privacy settings and general settings for the app itself — including the ability to choose whether to warn others of infected objects or receive emails with a report after each scan.
Cybersecurity Training: This 30-minute training program walks you through various real-world cyber crime scenarios and provides tips and tutorials on how to keep your computer, your family and yourself safe online.
This is where ESET shines. In the most recent AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test, which takes into account the sum of the product's parts in protecting PCs, it scored 3 out of 3 stars. ESET easily thwarted our in-house virus tests as well.
Within the Tools section of the program, you will find features that track and log everything that happens with your computer. These features include everything from Log Files, which keeps the logs of all activity, to Running Processes, where you can view real-time information on all processes currently in operation with security risk level and other information provided by ESET's Live Grid.
Even more impressive than ESET's antimalware/antivirus protection is its performance. Once again, it achieved a score of 3 stars in AV-Comparatives' Performance Test this year — continuing a historical streak of top scores in this area. The software runs smoothly and quietly with few pop-ups or annoyances. If you want even less interference, Gamer mode can be turned on, which suppresses all but the most dire warnings.
While it doesn't offer as many features as other security software suites on the market, ESET continues to deliver reliable performance and antimalware/antivirus protection that will suit those who aren't looking for all the extras. The interface and installation process could be improved, but fewer issues with system-slowing pop-ups and the addition of Anti-Theft and Social Media Scanner features make ESET Smart Security 7 a solid choice.
System requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
* AV-Comparatives ratings on a variety of tasks related to the antivirus and antimalware product. "Known Malware " refers to a product's ability to catch pre-identified viruses, while "Unknown Malware " refers to its ability to detect brand new viruses. Older scores may reflect previous software versions.
AV-Comparatives. Score indicates overall effectiveness in a variety of tests over time. † indicates that company did not take part in all tests. See reviews for details.*Averaged 2010/2011 scores for each company's antivirus/anti-malware product by independent testing agency
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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