Iolo System Shield Antivirus & AntiSpyware
Iolo is prominent for its system boost software, but lately it decided to venture into PC security by releasing Iolo System Shield Antivirus & AntiSpyware. Probably not so many people are familiar with it thus this review will serve the purpose right; to let more people have a better understanding on this new antivirus program.
It’s an inexpensive and reliable antivirus software with an excellent detection feature but an interface that is a little confusing for non-tech users. However, its performance is quite impressive and its detection feature utilizes an AI detection system which lets it detect any mutated or new threats.
System Shield is available at a price of $29.95 per year which offers license for up to three different PCs after giving a $10 discount. There is no free edition offered by Iolo on this antivirus protection, neither do they offer a free trial period for the paid version that is available.
This is a downside to it because most users usually like to try at least a free version to get an experience of how a software operates before committing to the paid version. Iolo does not provide users with a free trial or at least a free edition which should give users more reason to upgrade. However, the price plan of $29.95 per year for up to 3 different PCs is a great feature for such a protection.
Moreover, System Shield is only suitable for home use only, perhaps this is due to the deficiency of advanced protection features that can be used for businesses. One important feature that is quite useful for businesses yet is not present is a firewall. Home users find it more useful than for anyone who wants protection for their businesses. As said earlier, lack of a free edition and a pro edition is perhaps what makes it not worth considering for business use as well.
System Shield is quite simple and has a wide coverage of the Windows range of operating systems. It is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7. Lack of support for Windows 8 and 10 is a minus though. Other security software available out there can support Windows 10 as well. However, this is not much of a concern though. It supports both the 32-bit and 64-bit architecture.
This software has numerous “next” clicks when installing, and this makes it a little slower than suites that just do automatic installation without requiring some “next” clicking. Too many steps in the installation process can also be frustrating and an indication of complexity and nerd. Before you start to use it, you are also required to restart your PC. In short, the installation process till starting to use it can take you an average of 3 to 4 minutes, but is also dependent on the speed of your system and the booting speed.
When it comes to design, Iolo System Shield Antivirus & Spyware falls short of the sophisticated and sleek suites that are evident with other antivirus programs. The interface is less intuitive. In the first place, interface wording and labels are quite technical for an average user which makes it a little difficult to navigate to different places.
Moreover, the software’s security features are spread randomly with almost 50% of them contained in the “Settings” link found at the top. As for the Disinfection tab and Definitions tab, they are not as intuitive as such, and could be housed easily under Protection tab.
An issue that one can be found most confusing is that Email protection is deactivated by default, so you must first find it and enable it. It is great to the user the option of getting in to enable. However, most average users might probably not think about anything to do with email protection, which means that if the feature is not active by default, they will never get protection.
The interface however does have a checkmark on a green shield to indicate that everything is fine. If things aren’t ok, the green shield turns red with a white cross on it. There are not so many features on the interface apart from the top left panel with Overview, Scan, Protection, Definitions and Disinfections. The remaining content is more of plain text.
On the positive side, the detection alert of System Shield is very quiet and subtle. This is a pretty nice feature so that users can have an uninterrupted computer experience. The Game Mode that is usually found on other antivirus protections is System Shield’s default so that the number of alerts can be limited as much as possible and avoid interruptions while playing games or watching movies.
When it comes to performance, System Shield is offers a great performance that is driven towards less interruptions. It employs a revolutionary approach that gives you protection with almost invisible footprints or negative resource consumption.
Game lovers will particularly find it to be great as it is built to give minimal alerts and notifications that normally interrupt games. Actually, what is called Game Mode on other security software is a default feature in System Shield is. That means there won’t be any interruptions when watching videos or playing games. When a threat is detected, they are neutralized quietly so a user is not interrupted while using their PC.
The security software does not have so many background activities that can slow down your system performance. Background processes of the software are kept minimal. The only time when a system lagging is recorded is when performing a full scan. Since the scanning options are not diverse, any single scan activated takes up more system resources. As such, it is advisable to run a scan once in a while to avoid frequent PC slowdown.
Lack of a quick scan feature is downside as well since the only way to scan a single file or folder is by running a full scan. This makes the process more tedious and time consuming as a full scan can take up to 4 minutes to complete. More system resources are also used up for a minor process like the need to scan a single file or folder.
This is where the software scoops more points. While its installation process and interface had issues, its antivirus protection value is very high. The first scan to be ran takes a while but is very thorough. Iolo’s System Shield is able to detect most of the threats it comes across. However, when it comes to malicious sites, the in-built security of a browser detects a large percentage before the software does.
The program’s firewall also does not protect most of the ports, leaving them open to unauthorized connections, and this could lead to security concerns on a network.
However, the most interesting feature about its malware protection is that it uses the heuristic method of artificial intelligence called Sentient Technology to track the behavior of your computer and learn how to identify other malware that are not able to be detected by other antivirus programs. This future is very useful in offering protection against mutated or new malware or unusual behavior that is not usually detected by most security software.
Its AntiVirus offers protection against Trojans, viruses, bots, rootkits, malicious software and threats. As for the AntiSpyware, it eradicates adware, spyware, and keyloggers among other programs that can compromise your PC.
Apart from heuristics, this antivirus protection program does not offer any other features going beyond the standard security program. As a matter of fact, it has a shortage on some of those features. For instance, there is no quick scan feature apart from the full scan. Moreover, its firewall is quite ineffective when it comes to offering network protection. There isn’t any parental control feature either.
No browser security features added as is common with the other security software. If using it online, your PC could be exposed to threats especially those that are spread through email attachments. It would have been great if at least a browser security feature was included.
That means that even if a malicious URL testing is conducted on it, it won’t be possible to identify a malicious website, but thankfully, web browsers have inbuilt security. However as said earlier, its real time protection is very great. Once an attachment is downloaded, it is scan immediately by the scan engine and if any threats are found, they are neutralized immediately. The AI heuristic feature comes in handy here because the software can identify any potential threats available online and not yet known to your PC.
Additionally, there is no feature that is associated with system repairs such as Windows Registry repair as it is common with other security software. Even though this feature may not be needed often, its presence usually comes in handy when faced with system issues.
There is also no whitelisting features that limits computers from running unknown programs or potentially harmful software. This is a downside to it since the software is supported on lower versions of windows such as Windows XP, Vista. As for Windows XP, it does not have any advanced method of protecting itself against potentially harmful programs like advanced Windows versions do, such as Windows 7, 8 and 10. Therefore inclusion of the whitelisting feature together with the Windows XP support could have been a great plus to the security software.
Moreover, there is no way of creating your own blacklist for the already known harmful software.
The largest known antivirus program testing labs are AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, known to have subjected so many well-known antivirus programs in the market to malware tests. However, no tests have been conducted by these labs on System Shield, and so it would be a little difficult to give its lab test performance when subjected to different scenarios of malware.
Privacy and Security features
This security software lacks quite a handful of privacy and security features. There is no parental control feature included in the program as it is common with other security software. It also doesn’t have a firewall feature.
There are also no latest innovations found in other software apart from its AI heuristic protection. In terms of sleekness and availability of unique features, it still lags behind.
Thankfully, System Shield offers protection against password theft. This is a type of protection against any keyloggers that can steal away passwords, usernames and any other confidential user data.
- It’s an inexpensive protection costing only $29.95 per year
- It is incredibly quiet with less interruptions, made possible through its default game mode feature
- The heuristic functionality called Sentient is a great inclusion for protection against new and mutated threats
- Great performance without slowing down the system
- Initial scan is very though, detecting all threats that could not be detected by other security software
- Malware detection is very quick
- Supports Windows XP as well, which may not be supported by other security software
- Its interface is less intuitive for an average user to make navigations
- Email protection is disabled by default
- Lacks a quick scan feature