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360Safe Internet Security review

Our Rating :

Chinese newcomer 360Safe impressed us with its malware defence, but performance elsewhere isn't as good as Avast


OS Support: Windows XP 32bit, Vista 32bit, 7, 8, 8.1, Minimum CPU: Not stated, Minimum GPU: N/A, Minimum RAM: Not stated, Hard disk space: Not stated

You’ve almost certainly never heard of Qihoo 360, the company behind 360Safe. This is no small upstart, however: Qihoo 360 is the second most popular search engine in China behind the all-conquering Baidu with 467 million monthly users. Its 360Safe is software is fully-featured and completely free, yet we didn’t see any advertisements during our testing and there’s no built-in store or pressure to upgrade to a paid product, unlike Avast and AVG Free.

Read our comprehensive guide to Internet Security 2015

The company makes the bulk of its money from search engine advertising, apparently using 360Safe as a good-will gesture to its customers. 360Safe licences anti-virus technology from five third parties including Avira and BitDefender. With so many engines, it’s no surprise that this unfamiliar product actually did reasonably well in our live threat tests on its first outing.

Protection Levels tells you what sort of security tools are currently enabled within 360Safe

^Protection Levels tells you what sort of security tools are currently enabled within 360Safe

Of the 100 threats it faced, 360Safe neutralised 81 without issue. A further 18 were defeated after they had started running but before they had gained a foothold. One piece of malware damaged the test PC without hindrance. This gives it an overall score of 270 out of 300, which puts it just behind Avast’s free anti-virus product.

There’s a downside to the amount of engines in use by 360Safe: it’s the most hand-holding piece of software on test by a pretty big margin. Of the 100 pieces of nonthreatening software we installed, seven were flagged as potentially hazardous, requiring user intervention to continue the installation. A further two were blocked completely with no user input leading to a low accuracy score of 765 out of 846.

360Safe has a clean and colourful interface, but it's also lightweight and responsive

360Safe’s user interface is one of the slickest we’ve seen. Bright colours, big icons and smooth animations give off an air of class. It’s not just a pretty face: there are some fairly good extra “junk” removal tools included, too. Running a basic scan will look for viruses, junk files, programs running at startup and the security of your wireless connection.

The Tool Box area has a software update scanner, although on our PC it appeared to be just taking information from Windows Update and not looking at our other installed software. There’s also a protected Sandbox mode, which allows you to run potentially harmful software virtually so it doesn’t affect the rest of your system. In a bid to encourage a bit of community spirit around 360Safe, there’s a poll at the bottom of the Tool Box screen that allows you to vote up to three times per day on what feature you want to see added to 360Safe in its next major update.

360Safe found plenty of issues with our PC, and it'll fix them for free

^360Safe found plenty of issues with our PC, and it’ll fix them for free

There are a few slightly jarring moments when onscreen instructions don’t read quite read properly, with phrases like “there is an incompleted fixing” obviously mangled, but at least intelligible.

360Safe is a good piece of software with decent malware protection abilities. It’s a little bit over-sensitive to legitimate software installations and is by far the most nagging piece of software on test. For free software, Avast Anti-Virus Free 2015 is the better product, while you’ll get the best protection by buying Norton Internet Security 2015.

System requirements
OS SupportWindows XP 32bit, Vista 32bit, 7, 8, 8.1
Minimum CPUNot stated
Minimum GPUN/A
Minimum RAMNot stated
Hard disk spaceNot stated
Buying information
Price including VATFree
Product codeInternet Security

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