- Exceptionally good at detecting malware
- Brilliant at removing malware
- Extremely low system resource usage
- Clear and very easy to use interface
Having been reviewing antivirus and internet security programs for a while I have noticed that F-Secure products are not, perhaps, recognised as well as some of the other brands out there. In my opinion this has been a complete travesty as they have been well amongst my favourites for a few years now.
But will the new 2013 version of Internet Security prove to be as good as previous versions….?
Will it run on my PC?
The minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- Windows – XP Media Centre Edition / XP / Vista / 7 / 8
- 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
- minimum of 800 MB of free hard drive space
- Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
Is it easy to install this program?
Just double click on the installer, choose whether or not you want to report usage back to F-Secure and then you’ll be good to go in around a minute or so. If you know how to switch a computer on you’ll have no problems whatsoever getting this program installed!
What is the user interface like?
F-Secure have stuck with pretty well the same interface for a few years now. Its very simple to get to grips with which is good news for the majority of users who may otherwise feel intimidated by something altogether more complicated. But still, its pretty boring for those of us who’ve seen it before.
That said, its the only (very) slight criticism I could find for this program. If you read on you’ll discover why I think this program is otherwise superb in every way.
The simple interface, as I just mentioned, is a boon for those of you who aren’t tech experts. Whatever screen you are on, you won’t find too much to click on and be distracted by. The main screen (seen above) links to the most important areas of the program, namely the scanning, tools, settings, status and statistics.
None of these lead anywhere too complicated and you won’t find any baffling advanced options that require a computer science degree to understand.
Theres also a widget, aka the Launch pad, which can reside on your desktop. Personally I think these widgets are a bit of a waste as they tend to get hidden behind running programs and browser windows but some of you may appreciate the quick and easy access to the main program, parental controls and subscription/contact area.
What features does the program offer?
Whilst this program isn’t quite as feature packed as some of the competition (e.g. no new antitheft protection or banking protection/virtual keyboard combo) it does excel in what it does offer.
The key features are as follows:
Antivirus and anti-spyware
These areas don’t need much in the way of explanation I hope – they are the bread and butter of the program – the main reasons why you would buy it in the first place. As you will read further down, this program gets this bit very right indeed.
This feature enhances your security beyond the traditional virus definition database method of old. Using the cloud, DeepGuard will protect you from newer threats (zero days) very quickly after they are first discovered. This aspect is becoming increasingly important as newer pieces of malware are the ones most likely to catch you out.
The firewall component will prevent unauthorised users from accessing your computer and personal information. Just like the program’s interface, F-Secure’s firewall is simple to use and doesn’t require you to be a network engineer in order to understand it.
If you don’t way to stay up all night, grow your… ego or make a million on penny stocks then anti-spam is what will keep that junk out of your email inbox. This feature does an admirable job of blocking spam and it also throws in protection against African princes, PayPal update requests and changes to your online banking login credentials (aka phishing).
Another hand feature this as it will protect you from shady web sites that may appear in the search results. If you see a green tick next to a web page then click away. Otherwise, run to the hills!
Got a little one in your family?
If so, you’ll appreciate parental controls but make sure you know more about how it works than they do!
Via the Launch pad widget I mentioned earlier you have easy access to a ‘Contact Support’ web page where you can search for information of initiate a conversation with a specialist.
Normally this isn’t something I mention in reviews such as this as I’m of the opinion that most security companies are actually rather poor in this regard which is unfortunate in the extreme. However, over a few years now, I have built up the opinion that F-Secure do indeed get this side of things right both in terms of the usefulness of the help they give as well as in the speed of their replies.
If you are the sort of person who thinks they may need support one day then this could be a big factor in who you decide to go with and F-Secure are well worthy of your consideration in this regard.
Will it keep me safe?
I tested F-Secure Internet Security 2013 against a collection of dodgy web links malware including some zero day Trojans and a collection of Adware. Almost all of these threats were blocked immediately right at the browser level. I was actually able to download two zipped files without warning but as soon as I tried to unzip and run them the program did in fact recognise and block the threat.
I then tested the program against a folder full of malware that I’d copied over to my test machine. The standard scanning picked up well over 90% of them which is impressive when you consider the fact that all of the samples I used were around 60 hours old or less. That left a total of 8 files that weren’t immediately recognised as malicious. Of these, 7 were then blocked by DeepGuard when I tried to run them. The remaining one didn’t seem to be blocked at all but then it wasn’t found to be running on the system either so I think F-Secure may have disabled that one. Either way, over 99% of the malicious files I tested the program with were stopped before they could do any damage and that is a good hit rate (no security program is 100% infallible).
As regular readers will know, I always like to keep my reviews as balanced as possible and with this program that meant stooping as low as mentioning the lack of innovation in the design of the interface. That of course is testament to the good job that F-Secure have done with all the important aspects of this program – there is really nothing else to criticise in any way.
On that note, I went into this review thinking there may be an issue with resource usage which is something I’d picked up from a couple of other people who’d already had a quick look at the program. That issue simply doesn’t exist though – resource usage is by far and away the lowest I’ve seen thus far from any 2013 program. I caught the screenshot below at an unfortunate time just as things peaked for the only time – for 99.9% of the scanning time CPU usage was less than 4%. Multitasking whilst running a full system scan was a pleasure – no slowdown whatsoever – I suspect others’ opinions of this program may have been skewed due to running it in a VM which I did not.
As for other aspects, the program is very easy to use indeed. Its simple to set up and does an excellent job of protecting you from the bad stuff on the web.
In fact, I could probably wax lyrical about why this program is so good for another few hundred words here but I’ll wrap it up instead by saying this one is going on my laptop for the next 12 months as I have every confidence it will keep me safe and secure without causing any productivity issues whatsoever.
I like it 🙂
- From $47.99