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F-Secure Anti-Virus PDF Print E-mail

F-Secure Anti-VirusF-Secure Anti-Virus is a straightforward and effective antivirus engine which will do its best to keep all malware locked firmly out of your PC.

And independent testing suggests the program is quite accurate: a March AV-Comparatives test ranked the previous F-Secure engine equal 5th out of 20, with few false positives, and awarded it their top Advanced+ rating.

Install the program and it'll begin to protect you right away. Any files you access are checked for potential threats, and F-Secure's DeepGuard technology keeps an eye on the behaviour of all running processes, looking out for any which might be behaving suspiciously. (This raises a few more alerts than we'd like, just initially, but once you've told it which programs to trust then things soon settle down.)

You can of course also launch on-demand scans, though, either from the F-Secure console or by right-clicking the appropriate file or folder within Explorer.

A scheduled scanning option allows you to run automated checks on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or just whenever your PC has been idle for a specified amount of time.

While there are no major changes to the F-Secure Anti-Virus interface, the company say its protection engines have been updated to keep you even safer online. And in addition, the program is now fully compatible with Windows 8, so if you're planning an early upgrade then that won't be a problem.

Installation : 6/10

The system automatically gets rid of any previously-installed antivirus software that could interfere with the smooth running of the F-Secure system. We tested and found the set-up process for F-Secure AntiVirus to be simple and pretty quick, although some users have had problems with installations that don’t finish. Using the F-Secure Easy Clean System seems to help if you have problems with persistent malware.

Once running, F-Secure is reasonably system-light, and it doesn’t take up too many resources meaning your computer won’t run slow. We don’t think F-Secure is the fastest, and if near-zero performance impact is your aim you are best with another product.

F-Secure installed just fine on half of my malware-infested virtual machines; the other half required widely varying degrees of help from tech support. The F-Secure Rescue CD helped bypass ransomware that prevented installation on one system and fixed problems on a couple of others. It uses an antiquated, all-text user interface, but it did the job.

Well, mostly. I really should have heeded the warning in the Rescue CD's initial screen: "If a Windows system file is infected, the computer many not restart." Indeed, the process of diagnosing and repair on one test system rendered it totally unbootable.

In order to fix this system and two others, tech support requested many diagnostic logs and had me run a wide variety of diagnostics. Among these were F-Secure's built-in diagnostic tool, their online scanner, and an in-house tool they call Crime Scene Investigator. They also requested logs from third-party tools Autoruns and GMER. I reinstalled TCP/IP on one system and ran a variety of system commands.

F-Secure Anti-Virus

Malware Protection : 7/10

How does F-Secure protect your computer? With DeepGuard cloud computing to identify and remove viruses, malware, worms and spyware. The DeepGuard network monitors how programs work in order to identify new threats from within the cloud and it updates the user community with information. The software protects your computer from attack and also helps make it run quicker and more smoothly.

AV-Test gives F-Secure a consistently good rating for performance, while AV-Comparatives ranks F-Secure with an Advanced A+ rating. Virus Bulletin, similarly, puts the software in the top class. Because F-Secure doesn’t participate in ICSA or West Coast Labs testing we were unable to judge the software by these standards. The malware detection rate is good, and generally the system is effective at stopping known and as-yet unknown threats.

We think that the F-Secure system may be a little too sensitive, however. Some users have complained about the antivirus software generating false positives – identifying a file as suspicious and asking you to terminate it, when in reality it has no problems. This could result in a user choosing “allow” more times than is sensible due to frustration with the false alarms.

System Scans : 7/10

We appreciate the simplicity in the F-Secure scanning system. Schedule specific scans if you need to or check a particular file, or just leave the antivirus running in the background. Because the system scans automatically you probably won’t need to have the software open most of the time.

If the system does throw up a problem, the icon in the taskbar tells you what you should do but you can override the decision if you choose to. You can set up the F-Secure system to clean the suspect files if it can, or automatically place them in quarantine. The automatic cleaning option may not be entirely useful as it often doesn’t take any action on the threat.

In testing the scan speeds weren’t lightning fast, but slightly better than average.

F-Secure Anti-Virus

Features : 4/10

There’s not a lot to report in terms of extra features attached to the F-Secure AntiVirus. This is a basic package and while it offers solid antivirus protection it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of features.

Ease of Use : 6/10

We liked the clean, clear and visually interesting interface – the layout helps you navigate easily but the design isn’t boring. The main interface is split into three separate areas; tasks, status and statistics, which makes it easy to see at a glance how the system is working. You can also access more advanced and detailed settings from the main interface.

The statistics area is good for fast access to which programs have been blocked and how many items the software has dealt with. Some aspects of the software could use a little extra explanation, but in general the system was easy to understand.
Help & support

The F-Secure AntiVirus package comes with support options for users including a 24-7 phone line and a live email chat system. You can also browse the help articles online and look for the answers to your questions in the knowledgebase. Download the user manual for the F-Secure product if you need further detail.

F-Secure Anti-Virus

Conclusion

F-Secure is a solid option, with good protection and good marks from independent testers. F-Secure is among the best, but not the best, out of the easy-to-use antivirus packages. We like the simple yet striking interface and the whole package gives good value.

If you can ensure installation on a clean PC, F-Secure is a great choice for protection. It earned top scores in my hands-on protection tests, and the independent labs also give it high ratings.

However, I do take issue with the amount of difficulty I had installing it and running scans on malware-infested systems. Remember, even a clean system could get into this situation if a zero-day attacker managed to establish a foothold before F-Secure could handle it. In particular, I think a user whose computer was rendered unusuable for a week might take issue.

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