ESET Smart Security 4 Review

Update: This program has now been replaced with ESET Smart Security 5.

ESET are one of the most well known security vendors around today. They have built up a great reputation with both their internet security packages and their standalone antivirus products (see my ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 review). Today I am taking a look at their latest internet security suite – ESET Smart Security 4.

ESET Smart Security interface

Interface

Installing ESET Smart Security 4 is extremely easy. During the installation process you can customise some of the options such as whether or not you wish to provide anonymous information to ESET about any detected threats, this is an option that seems to be becoming quite common amongst the security companies these days.

Your first impression of ESET Smart Security 4 will be based on it’s interface. The layouts of internet security programs are never overly exciting and some people prefer the minimalist feel and others (typically the more expert users) prefer to have 101 different options to hand. ESET Smart Security will appeal to those in the former camp, having a very simple interface that will likely appeal to the more novice user. Those of you who maybe feel intimidated by security programs will appreciate this approach as it means that all the non-essential, and potentially complicated, options are kept well out of your way, allowing you to concentrate on just the essential aspects of the program.

When you first ESET Smart Security 4 you will encounter the firewall which will ask whether you wish to run with a strict filtering mode or a more relaxed one which allows for file and printer sharing. You can see this in the image below –

ESET Smart Security network settings

Before moving on from describing the interface I would point out one little feature I found which I thought was a nice touch. When I clicked on ‘Protection status’ I received a warning that my operating system was not up to date. I knew this to be true as as Windows had advised me that there was an outstanding update when I had switched my laptop on a few minutes earlier. Forgetting to install Windows updates is easily done, despite the fact that it is ill-advised to do so.

ESET Smart Security activity monitor

Features

The program offers the traditional components of an internet security suite –

  • antivirus protection
  • antispam
  • antispyware
  • personal firewall

ESET Smart Security 4, as far as I remember, doesn’t offer any features that I haven’t seen in other internet security suites. Thats not a bad thing though as it does offer everything that you are going to need with making the program overly complicated.

The default position of ESET Smart Security 4 is to update it’s virus signatures just once per day which is a little unusual nowadays. Such a decision doesn’t seem to impact upon it’s effectiveness however and ESET do have the ability to push updates out on an as required basis should a significant attack be detected.

ESET Smart Security activity monitor

One of the reasons why the once a day updates works with ESET Smart Security 4 is because of the antivirus engine that is used here. If you have read my antivirus reviews then you will already know that ESET NOD32 antivirus is a quality product.  This is down to it’s combined use of advanced heuristics and a great signature-based scanner.

Another feature I especially like about ESET Smart Security 4 is it’s low requirements in terms of system resource usage. If you have a brand new PC then this shouldn’t be an issue to you but older computers can sometimes be rendered almost unusable when some antivirus/internet security programs are going about their business – I’ve certainly encountered issues when testing programs on a dual core laptop for instance. There are no such worries with this product from ESET though – my laptop was not bogged down in the slightest when scans were running and so your experience is likely to be a positive one if you use this program on a lower spec machine.

ESET Smart Security antivirus and antispyware protection

If you switch over to the advanced mode that comes with the program then other useful features will be revealed.

The pick of these are probably SysRescue which, as the name implies, allows the creation of a secure rescue disk. The other tool of note is SysInspector which can scan system processes that are already running in order to detect any threats that may have already embedded themselves into your computer.

Threatsense

Another feature of ESET Smart Security 4 is something that you will come across at the beginning of the installation process and is called ThreatSense.

Like many vendors these days ESET has added this feature in to allow them (if you opt in) to collect information from you about the kind of security threats that you encounter on your machine. If you do allow ESET to collect this information from you then you will be contributing towards their efforts to protect all their users from new and existing threats.

System requirements

This internet security suite has the following system requirements –

  • Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7
  • 32 bit or 64 bit versions available
  • 46 MB free space for download / 250 MB free space for installation
  • 80 MB of free memory

As I mentioned earlier, system usage was quite low with this program so I believe ESET Smart Security should work well on most systems that meet the minimum requirements.


ESET Smart Security - Save 25%

Conclusion

It is my opinion that ESET Smart Security 4 is an excellent program. I think, despite the advanced mode, that this program is probably best for the novice user as opposed to the expert, though the latter would still benefit from some of it’s features.

It’s simple interface and low system resource usage make it an ideal choice for those who want top quality protection without the hassle of having to become an internet security expert in order to learn how to use the program.

It will be interesting to see if my view changes in time as I am reviewing several more internet security products over the next few weeks but, for now, ESET Smart Security 4 certainly does impress me.

Do you already have this program installed? What do you think of it, or are you thinking of buying it? Do let me know via the comments below.

ESET Smart Security. Get award-winning virus protection with antispam and personal firewall.

While you are here please check out my 2012 Internet Security reviews.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. t. henderson says:

    Lee,

    Thank you for a very good review from a user POV. You stick to the facts
    and remain objective. I was wondering if there was a complete duplication
    of the Nod 32 product capabilities in Smart 4 or if there was an advantage
    to running both products on a single machine.

    Keep up the good reviews.

    br,

    T.

    • Hello

      To clarify, do you mean running ESET’s standalone antivirus at the same time as their Internet Security suite?

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