Eset Smart Security 7 review
Eset appears to have been rolling out updates to its Smart Security suite at a fair clip; our review a year ago was of an ageing version 5, while version 6 was current when we did our live testing for this group test. Now Smart Security is already on to version 7. Refreshingly, while many companies are keen to trumpet new features - not all of which may be useful - Eset's press release for version 7 concentrates only on three new improvements to the malware scanning technologies at the core of the product.
Eset was already one of the best-performing packages in our tests, and version 7 now includes a new exploit blocker focused on detecting the activity of malware rather than just its signature, to help it stop malware not present in its database. It also has a new way to tackle malware in the system memory that attempts to hide itself from detection, as well as a vulnerability shield to protect against known vulnerabilities in network protocols.
Smart Security 7 is a fairly discreet presence once installed on a PC; there's no gadget or obtrusive status updates. Start the main application and there's a simple menu to the left for settings, scans, updates and additional tools, and the homescreen displays frequently used links and important messages; this was one of the few products that spotted our test PC was missing a couple of important Windows updates.
You can configure most aspects of Eset's behaviour, but things remain simple in the Setup menu, which presents a limited set of options that can be enabled or disabled - usefully, you can switch features off permanently, just for a set period of time or until the next reboot. Those who want greater control will find it in the Advanced setup screen, which provides some unusually useful options, such as the ability to roll back to an earlier set of virus definitions.
Smart Security gave a very good performance in our live threat testing, defending completely against 96 of the 100 threats we threw at it. In a further case it was able to neutralise the threat, although it was compromised by the remaining three, placing it slightly behind Norton Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security with a weighted protection rating of 274 out of a possible 300.