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F-Secure Safe 2018 review: Some good features, but it can't be trusted

F-Secure SAFE 2018 review
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
34
inc VAT (1yr, 3 devices)

A clean interface, but the maddening number of false positives mean we can’t recommend this suite

Pros 
Clean and simple interface
Password manager
Cons 
Huge number of false postives
Mediocre file-copy performance
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In terms of malware prevention, F-Secure’s internet security suite – known for the past few years as Safe – does a pretty good job. Its protection score of 99.7% equals Kaspersky’s, and only misses perfection by the tiniest margin.

Unfortunately, AV-Comparatives found that the score came along with a whopping 38 false positives – a dreadful result that’s miles behind any other contender. Maddeningly, there isn’t even a way to get the software to double-check with you before quarantining files: you just have to let Safe do its thing, then go into the software and manually restore any items that have been wrongly removed.

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It’s a shame, because Safe is quite an attractive security suite. As with Eset, the interface is clean and simple: the home tab offers literally two buttons, one for launching a scan and the other for configuring the (few) relevant options.

F-Secure SAFE 2018 review

The next tab down is Family Rules – an update to the old Parental Control module that moves management into the cloud, so you can configure web-browsing restrictions and time limits from an online portal. It’s a convenient way of doing things if your child has their own PC, and it also connects to F-Secure’s Android- and iOS-based parental-control apps. There’s no way to block applications or social media contacts, however, and web filtering only works on iOS if your child uses the F-Secure browser, so you’ll have to disable Safari.

The other major feature is F-Secure’s password manager, which comes as an optional download. This works perfectly well – but if you want to synchronise your passwords across multiple devices and platforms, you will need to pay £11 a year for the premium service. That’s a pretty shocking cash grab, considering that you’re already paying for Safe – and that there are plenty of third-party password managers that will do the same for free.

Aside from that, there’s not much to configure, the settings pages having been designed to a minimalist Nordic template. Safe also stays pleasingly out of the way when launching applications and browsing the web: AV-Comparatives rated it very fast, even when running new programs for the first time. File-copy performance wasn’t so hot though, rating as mediocre on the initial run.

F-Secure Safe 2018 review: Verdict

To be blunt, it’s academic anyway. Based on the results before us, Safe 2018 simply can’t be trusted to tell what’s a virus and what’s not. That’s unacceptable – and the fact that it’s expensive doesn’t help either.