- Anti-Theft in case your laptop or netbook is stolen
- Minimalistic and easy to use interface
- Good protection vs. malware
Will it run on my PC?
The minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- i386 (Intel 80386) or AMD64 (x86-64) processor
- Windows XP / Vista / 7 / Home Server
Unfortunately, that is as much information that is available on ESET’s web site at the time of writing – there is no suggestion as to recommended processor speed or the amount of RAM required.
Also, I’m rather surprised that the imminent release of Windows 8 doesn’t seem to be supported.
Is it easy to install this program?
Yes, very simple indeed. During the installation process the only decision of importance that you’ll need to make is in regard to your network protection as per the image below:
Obviously you’ll need to read the descriptions above and then make your own decision but, for most people, I would imagine that the ‘Home Network’ option will be the one that you will want to go with.
What is the user interface like?
I actually rather like the interface that comes with this program. Considering the fact that the vast majority of users – people who would be thinking of buying an internet security program – are not experts in the field I think it is important that such programs are easy to navigate around and simple to use. ESET certainly get that side of things right.
The interface is uncluttered and kept very simple which I know a great many people will appreciate. I’ve seen too many programs which have all sorts of options on the main screen that would confuse their target audience but ESET get it about right here I think.
Everything of importance can be found via the sidebar to the left of the screen and each area is labelled in an easy to understand way.
What features does the program offer?
As a full internet security suite, Smart Security 6 offers a very large range of features. The main ones are as follows:
Even though the ‘2013’ programs are only just starting to be released around now it already seems likely that ‘anti-theft’ will be one of the new features that many of the security companies will use to market their products. I’ve already seen it from BitDefender’s new programs and I’m aware that some of the other vendors will be implementing their version too.
Thats not a bad thing though because such a feature is generally useful and will certainly add value to the majority of users’ experience.
With ESET’s anti-theft some of the things that you will be able to are:
- Track a lost or stolen device via your account at my.eset.com
- Use your missing laptop’s camera to video the thieves
- Take snapshots of your missing device’s screen
- Send a message to your missing computer
Smart Security 6’s firewall will help prevent unauthorised users from accessing your computer and personal information.
If you connect to a network that is hitherto unknown then the program will tell you so right away. You will then have the option of switching over to the ‘Strict Protection mode’ which will make your machine invisible to other computers on that same network.
External Media Protection
This feature will protect you from, and allow you to block, removable devices such as USB sticks and external CD/DVD drives. Allows you to set various related rules depending on the type of media, etc. One nice touch here is the the ability to block unauthorised copying of your files to an external device.
Antivirus and Anti-Spyware
The most obvious and most important aspect of any internet security suite is the antivirus aspect. ESET’s Smart Security 6 will protect you from the latest threats that could otherwise cause you many headaches through damage to your machine or via the theft of your personal data.
This feature is designed to improve performance by utilising whitelists of safe files that have been derived from a reputational database. Over time this should lead to quicker scans of your computer.
Host-based Intrusion Protection System (HIPS)
This area lets you customise certain areas of system behaviour in order to fine-tune your security level though one recent commentator here said,
“oh BTW it’s disappointing to see ESET’s HIPs still without rules … that’s a weak spot .. however when changing it to interactive mode it does a great job, yet creating rules is a hard work… if one’s sure his computer is not infected then a learning mode would do the job just fine”
If, like me, you play games on your computer then a gamer mode is a feature you will most definitely want. There is nothing more annoying than really getting into a game only to have the ‘reality’ broken by a warning from your security suite. ESET won’t do that to you – messages and resource hungry activities are suspended when a program is run in full screen mode.
If you take your laptop or netbook away from a power source then this feature will allow for intensive tasks to be postponed thus extending your precious battery life.
This allows you to control the type of content available to different users of your machine based upon different profiles, i.e. child or teenager. You can use a password to protect the parental controls function itself as well as to prevent unauthorised installation of new programs.
As with any parental controls it is worth checking the settings from time to time if you have older kids just in case they know more about them than you do!
Will it keep me safe?
I believe it will, yes.
In my own testing the program performed admirably against viruses, spyware and rootkits from a variety of malicious web sites.
There is one problem though which is something that may not affect most users anyway – the application will crash if you try to restore a previously quarantined file. This is an issue that is already known to ESET so hopefully a fix will soon be out.
If you have read all the way down to here then you may be thinking that I am mightily impressed with ESET Smart Security 6. And in many ways I am.
I know that the majority of people who read my reviews are “average” computer and internet users rather than experts and so this program will appeal to them on many different levels. Most importantly it is effective and will keep you safe (though NO program is totally infallible all of the time). It is very, very easy to get to grips with and the interface certainly won’t scare or intimidate anyone.
There are a couple of issues.
As mentioned earlier, there is a known issue in regard to restoring quarantined files and this really does need to be fixed as soon as possible. Also, there is no support for Windows 8 mentioned on ESET’s own site which seems very surprising indeed considering how close it is to release. Maybe its there and just not been mentioned? We’ll see..
Lastly, something that really surprised me, is the issue of system resource usage. In the past I have been impressed with ESET software because it has had such a small footprint. This year though would appear to be a step backwards. The CPU usage of 50%+ whilst running a scan (as seen above) was very typical and there was a noticeable lag when trying to multitask, especially when it came to browsing.
I’ve rated the program with these issues in mind. Should they both be fixed then I would have no reservations about rating this security suite much higher.
[Update: February 3rd 2013] Now that the final release of Smart Security 6 is out I thought it would be worthwhile taking another quick look to see if any of the issues I had have been addressed:
- The first thing to point out is that the program now lists Windows 8 as a supported operating system.
- CPU usage has improved with the final version hitting around 30% for most of the scan and my system appearing far more responsive whilst multitasking.
- The quarantine issue has now been fixed.
So, with the above in mind I’ve marked the score up from the original 3.5 stars. How do you rate this security suite?