ESET Smart Security 5 review
The latest version of ESET's phenomenally effective Smart Security blocked all malicious software in our test and even cleaned up annoying advertising toolbars from legit programs
Review Date: 30 Nov 2011
Price when reviewed: £25
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
To understand how we go about the UK's most accurate and realistic anti-virus testing, read How We Test: Anti-virus software.
The latest version ESET's Smart Security suite has a clear, simple interface that belies the sheer scope of its features. The main window provides a simple overview of your PC's protection status, displaying whether or not the program's anti-malware, firewall, parental control and web and email scanning modules are active and up-to-date, along with a short list of your most frequently used features.
If you want a more in-depth look at your system's status, the Tools tab provides access to a task scheduler for scanning and updates, a system activity monitor and a range of logs and statics about both your system and ESET's protection of it. Even more finely granulated options are available via the program's advanced settings, where you can precisely configure the behaviour of the email scanner and use parental controls to log and restrict what kind of sites different users of your system can access, although the default definitions worryingly class standard sexual health information as Adult Materials.
As accurate anti-malware protection, it's hard to fault Smart Security 5. It blocked 100 per cent of malicious sites in our test. Most were prevented from even loading and replaced by an Access Denied notice in our browser. In our false positive tests, only 5 per cent of exposures (a single application) resulted in a warning and we were particularly impressed to find that the program quarantined an adware toolbar without blocking the other features of the program it was installed alongside.
ESET's software is often more expensive to buy than many of its rivals', but competitive pricing from high street and online retailers means that you can get a three-user licence for just £25, although we've not been able to find an equally good deal for a single-user version. We prefer the interface of BitDefender Internet Security 2012, which is also the cheaper of the two programs, but Smart Security 5 is a powerful and effective way of ensuring that your system stays clean and virus-free.
For straightforward advice on getting the best anti-malware deal, and keeping your software up-to-date year-on-year, then read Avoiding the anti-malware trap now.
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