F-Secure Anti-Virus Review
Nowadays, it is possible to come across virtually anything doing something totally different such as Spam filtering, ransomware protection, firewall or even password manager, but with an antivirus name on it. That’s different with F-Secure Ant-Virus: it only sticks to the basics and does exactly what it says. A frenzy addition in this software is the free system tune -up tool, which is simply F-Secure’s tune-up limited edition.
F-Secure Anti-Virus actually does the purpose for which its manufacturers built it for: malware protection. It is a good antivirus program offering protection for Windows as well as Mac computers.
With a pricing plan starting from $40 per year, its malware detection is almost flawless. It offers protection from web attacks using two type of antimalware engines at the same time to increase threat detection.
F-Secure Anti-Virus will cost you $40 per year to offer antivirus protection for 3 computers. Alternatively, you can choose the $67 plan for 3 computers for two years. Moreover, protection can be used on Mac as well. This is a protection plan that is really not expensive, considering that it offers great features.
There are other offers from the company that provide specific features, platforms and protection for Windows. F-Secure Internet Security is available at $50 for a single PC or at $70 for 3 PCs. It adds URL Scanner, Parental Control, Home network scanner, hardened browser and real time client support.
There’s also F-Secure Safe which offers an online account and protection for Mac as well as mobile protection (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). Subscription is offered at $70 per year for 3 devices, $90 for 5 devices and $110 for 7 devices.
The antivirus supports Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Vista (Service Pack2) and all other Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 editions.
Before its set up is fully installed into a computer, the installer initiates a quick scan to clean up any possible malware present that might hinder the installation. This clean up tool can also be ran manually.
Once installation has been completed, the program’s simple window will be displayed. The window displays the current status of security as well as updates. There’s a button provided to initiate a scan or make setting changes.
Other available tabs provide access to several collection of tools as well as viewing the overall statistics about your computer protection. That’s all about the interface.
Just as with many other antivirus programs, F-Secure offers 3 levels of antivirus protection. It however has an additional unique twist. Its primary defense begins with matching of the malware signature. Apart from using F-Secure’s database and signature scanner, the program also uses a third-party license to increase its malware detection rate when scanning for threats.
Anything that is scanned also must pass to DeepGuard, a behavioral based monitor which tries to find any signs of infection. Additionally, there’s a cloud based system that quickly evaluates anything suspected by F-Secure using feedback collected from millions of other users of the program. Updates to the malware signature database is done daily. When you install the antivirus, you are automatically signed up for the feedback collection program but you have the choice to opt out through the Privacy section of the software.
The main interface allows you to perform a scan, but the default scan is a quick scan. For a whole system scan, you need to go the settings. Scans can be scheduled as well. There are daily, weekly as well as monthly scan schedules. You can as well schedule scan to take place after 5 minutes of less or no activity.
The scan can also be set to bypass certain apps or files. However, inserted external drives such as USB drives or SD cards are not scanned automatically. Therefore you will need to run the scan manually.
F-Secure does not take part in the lab testing done by ICSA Labs and West Coast Labs. It only participates in about 4 out of the 12 tests performed by Virus Bulletin. Out of the four tests that F-Secure took part in, it was granted VB100 certification.
AV-Comparatives researchers also perform a wide range of tests for which F-Secure also takes part in. in a test that aims at simulating zero day protections, F-Secure earned an Advanced Plus. As for other tests which it took part in, it was given an Advanced rating. It could have scored Advanced Plus rating in two of these tests but it was dragged down by false positives.
In malware blocking tests, F-Secure offered an incredible performance. Even with the “Handle harmful files automatically” setting turned off, the antivirus could still smite malware, in a silent manner without any interruptions to the user. In this hands-on test, the antivirus was able to clean out 75% threat samples. After a single malware detection a quick scan is ran to ensure that all traces of the malware are removed.
F-Secure does not have any protection that is web-based so as to prevent users from accessing malicious sites or any phishing websites. However, immediately a download is completed, scanning for malware is done. When this ability is tested with a new variant of malware downloads, F-Secure is able to wipe out up to 48% of the downloaded malware. And in some cases, the malicious file is eliminated even before clicking save button.
DeepGuard is F-Secure’s protection feature designed to offer protection against zero-day malware. These are malware that are very new to have antivirus signature. DeepGuard monitors the malware to identify any malicious behavioral patterns and when it detects any, it immediately blocks the application that seems malicious.
Moreover, DeepGuard is also going to block any program that is rarely seen in non-personal telemetry that is sent back by antivirus installations to F-Secure Central. If any program cannot be determined as safe, it is kept under close watch for any suspicious behavior.
There are usually certain types of detection that are behavior based that can confuse a user by opening up warning windows about suspicious behavior by a program that is perfectly valid. Certain malware software can configure your system so that they are launched on startup. However good programs also do similar things. Luckily, DeepGuard does not block completely any legitimate applications. However, it adds several samples of the programs to its watch list and closely monitors them. This is how a detection system that is behavior based should work.
Fast full scan
If you click F-Secure’s Scan button on its main window, it will perform what most other security programs call quick scan- scanning that mainly focuses on the common malware locations. F-Secure’s full scan is available on the tools tab and is called Advanced Scan.
But even so, this program’s full scan runs very quickly, and completes in 15 minutes only. This is just very low compared to the average length of a full system scan, which lasts for 30 minutes. What happens is that F-Secure identifies files that are known to be good during its initial scan so that it won’t need to rescan them again when another full scan is ran.
Once a full scan is completed, the previous editions of F-Secure used to offer multiple choices of approving single item after another for cleaning or an automatic cleanup. F-Secure’s current edition is more improved and handles the after-scan more effectively. You will be given a display window with a list of threats found with the recommended actions for every single threat.
From the list, choosing an action is pretty easier. You can also well choose the “Skip to Quarantine” option for items with lower risk value. Once you are through with specifying an action for every found threat, you simply have to click the “Handle All” and the program will perform specified actions.
However, here a number of issues with the interface. On right clicking the tray icon, there is no menu option displayed that shows up main window. The only way to reach the main window is by double clicking the tray icon. Simple actions such as opening setting page will trigger a dialog every time. Even though it’s a minor issue it can be irritating.
Even though it is one of the fastest when it comes to scanning a computer, it uses up more resources which affects system performance. Moreover, too many false positives that are irritating are given.
Protection for Mac OS
What’s more interesting is that the purchased license for three devices allows you to install F-Secure Anti-Virus on Mac as well. The Mac version looks and acts in a rather similar manner as PC version, though a few differences exist.
One notable difference with the Mac edition is that it doesn’t have a Statistics tab as in PC edition. Moreover, DeepGuard is not present in Mac edition. The antivirus engine for Mac is also very different. However, it is still good to have a subscription that can be used on both Windows and OSX.
It is a common practice for antivirus protections to make browser plugin installations that can mark up any dangerous URLs in the search results page. F-Secure is not left behind, but it does not interfere with results received directly from Google, Bing or any known search engine. But if you need protection against any potentially dangerous links, you can use the F-Secure Search.
Additionally, a search bar is also installed by F-Search on your browser for an easier access. It contains legends that explain the icons. Green check indicates the site is safe, a yellow exclamation mark indicates it is suspicious while a red cross indicates it is harmful.
If you subscribed to the multi-device management by F-Secure Safe, a blue check may also be displayed to show that Safe administrator has given you access. Red dash will show that access is denied. Bo rating is done for the paid search results.
The Windows edition has a link with Install Booster title (not present in Mac edition). When you click this link, the installation of the F-Secure Booster will be initiated. This is a tune-up tool that is rather different from AVG’s PC Tuneup. F-Secure however gives you F-Secure Booster limited edition while AVG gives you a one-day free trial for its PC Tuneup.
It has 3 main components, including Clean, Speed Up and the Update. The free edition of F-Secure has only the Clean component, but does a lot. When you click the Clean component, a scan will be initiated to search for erroneous entries of Registry, useless files and other junks. This component is also capable of deleting the Recycle Bin’s content securely as well as tweaking a power saving setting.
Once scanning is completed, automatic optimization can be performed by simply clicking a button. There’s also an option to speed up Registry access which must be selected manually. There is a data manager included as well for large multimedia files.
- Great scores from recognized independent lab tests.
- Offers good performance in hands-on malware blocking testing.
- DeepGuard has a superb behavior based detection that doesn’t flag any good programs.
- Its full scan runs fast.
- Handling of the threats from a scan result is more improved.
- Offers support for both Windows and Mac.
- Offers browser protection and flagging malicious sites.
- Does not have malicious URL blocking feature.