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Monday, 19 December 2011

ESET Smart Security 5 - Review

A short while ago I took a look at ESET NOD32 Antivirus 5 and was very impressed. Is the bigger brother, ESET Smart Security 5, just as impressive? Read on to find out.
Key Benefits:
  • Easy to use
  • Fast updates and low system resource usage
  • Effective detection and removal of threats
ESET Smart Security 5 is an easy to use security program that will do a grand job of protecting your computer from all of the latest threats. It uses a small amount of memory and CPU usage is also low so if you shouldn’t notice any slowdown if you use your computer while scans are in progress.
System Requirements
The system requirements as per ESET’s website are as follows:
  • Intel or AMD x86-x64 processor
  • 55 MB of free hard drive space
  • Windows XP / 2000 / Vista / 7
ESET Smart Security 5 installation
Installation and first impression
ESET Smart Security 5 is a security suite that is very quick to install. After downloading the initial file that is only a few megabytes in size you will run it and the program proper will then be downloaded. This comes in at around 55 MB in size and took about a minute to download on my connection.
Loading up the program for the first time will present you with the interface as seen in the image below (yeah, I know, it needs some attention at this stage). You will note straight away that ESET Smart Security 5 has a very clean and uncluttered interface which is something many computer users will appreciate.
Just like ESET NOD32 Antivirus 5, the first thing I noticed is that the program was notifying me that my Windows installation was not up to date (it is now!). Not many security programs check for this, despite the fact that keeping Windows updated is so vitally important.
ESET Smart Security 5 first look at interface
Features
For an internet security suite that is so easy to use and with such a simple interface, ESET Smart Security 5 manages to pack in a large range of features, the pick of which are:
  • Antivirus
  • Antispyware
  • Antirootkit
  • Antispam
  • Cloud based whitelisting
  • Firewall
  • Gamer mode
  • Host based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS)
  • Parental controls
ESET Smart Security 5 features
With ESET Smart Security 5 you will also have a large number of useful tools at your disposal as well:
  • Logging of all issues
  • Various statistics
  • A Visual display of file and network activity
  • A list of all running processes
  • The ability to schedule scans at a time that suits you
  • A list of all quarantined items that the program has identified
  • ESET SysInspector
  • A list of all active network connections
ESET Smart Security 5 tools
Effectiveness
Looking at test results from the independent test labs you will notice that ESET Smart Security 5 scores rather well in terms of detecting and blocking malware. Indeed the program performed well with the tests at AV-Test.org and very well indeed with AV-Comparitives.org. It also fared well in detecting my own list of malware links too.
For me, a frequent computer user, one of the most important aspects of any security product is its resource usage. With any security suite you have to expect its normal operation and, especially scanning, to have some effect as both use some memory and CPU cycles. Some programs are far worse that others in this respect though. Gladly, I can say that ESET Smart Security 5 is one of the good guys in this regard though – processor and memory usage are probably at the bottom of the scale in comparison to other similar programs.
ESET Smart Security 5 parental controls in action
Plus and minus points
+ ESET Smart Security 5 has a very smooth and uncluttered interface which makes it a good choice for less-savvy computer users who still want a robust protection package
+ Updates to the virus definition database are downloaded in the background for the most part and are very quick to install
+ The program has a high malware detection rate and had no problem removing the threats I tried it with
- Whilst using the program or running a scan the system resources (the amount of CPU and RAM used) is very low, meaning you can get on with whats important without having to wait for the program to finish what it is doing
Firewall allows all connections originating from your computer by default so you have to hope it doesn’t let any Trojans through! You can change the firewall setting to prompt for all outbound connections but this will lead to you receiving many more such popups for other programs too
- Spam filter won’t slow your mailbox down too much but a fair proportion of spam still hit my inbox whilst it was running
Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 Internet Security reviews.

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