ESET NOD32 is the baseline product of the Slovakia based company ESET. Unlike the competition, NOD32 does not come with tools such as integrated password manager or file shredder. This is essentially a good thing as the antivirus offers industry standard protection without consuming too many system resources and slowing down the PC. The good news is that the latest version is fully compatible with Windows 10. Now, you have a powerful alternative to the default Windows Defender that comes bundled with your copy of Windows.
Cost and Installation
The antivirus is available in two flavors –Home Edition and Business Edition. Both editions offer a comparable level of security. The main difference between the two editions is the additional network enabled tools in the Business Edition that allows remote administration of the ESET NOD32 antivirus at a network.
The yearly subscription costs $29 (a bit high when compared to similar offerings) and comes with several options of licenses. Renewal is a simple process. Support is available in several conventional forms including an integrated Help & Support page, email and a Live Chat option. Phone support is available on weekends as well.
Installation is a two-level process. The download comprises of separate download for the main program and the latest virus definition files. You also have to decide whether you wish to share program activity data with the ESET Live Grid. Another important decision is about Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). While many antiviruses leave this decision until after the installation, ESET requires you to deal with the issue at this early process. If you have a previous License Key, you can add it during the installation process. However, ESET recommends that you confirm the validity before using the key during a fresh installation of the antivirus.
Device Level Security
An important feature of ESET antivirus is its Device Control Module that adds another layer to the system. This module controls how external devices are allowed access to the system. The result is a huge decrease in infection from USB sticks and other storage devices. You could easily block access of any connected device Note that the protection extends to devices that connect with the protected system through Bluetooth, serial/parallel ports (for older systems) and similar connectivity options.
If you have several devices, a better (read cost effective) option would be ESET Multi-Device Security. This suite comes with additional tools including a firewall and a spam filter.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus in Action
Let’s start with the interface.
The interface retains traditional layout (the classic two-pane design) of the antivirus interface. The user is able to find every tool and information in minimum of clicks. In fact, ESET claims that their interface is designed to give access to everything in a single click – something that is actually implemented in many scenarios. The preset scan settings are adequate for many users and all you have to do is to press the Scan button.
An important note at this point: While the update process is automatic, it is a good practice to manually click the Update button for both the program and the virus definition files.
Security and protection is provided on several levels. There is the common antivirus and antispyware layer that prevents general infection. Next, is the Exploit Blocker that takes care of attacks that come from sources such as Java based apps, browsers and PDF files. This also provides protection from ransomwares that take advantage of browser and application vulnerabilities. The Advanced Memory Scanner adds to malware protection by detecting ransomwares that uses one or more layers of encryption. The antivirus also deploys UEFI Scanner that protects the system even before the OS starts up.
Application level security is provided by Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS). This component allows you to fine-tune the system-wide behavior of the antivirus. Using HIPS, you can detect and mitigate unwanted behavior of the already-installed applications.
The integrated Internet security tools are another area where the antivirus excels over the competition. At the minimum, three tools make up the internet security component – web access protection, email protection and anti-phishing filter. Web access protection allows you to browse Internet without worrying about malicious websites. Similarly, email protection continuously monitors your email client to protect from threats in email. Finally, anti-phishing filter ensures protection from known frauds and phishing attacks.
Minimum Impact on System Performance
The software package also eliminates a common gripe of antivirus users- heave resource consumption. ESET has ensured that their antivirus has a small footprint that requires minimum system resources for providing a high level of security. Similarly, the small update packages that are pushed frequently means that there is minimum bandwidth consumption. In order to ensure smooth performance while the system is in use, all deep-level scans are performed when the system is in idle state.
Gamers would find ESET NOD32 antivirus a great option for their machines. The Gamer modeis deployed automatically whenever an application runs in full screen mode. In addition, while the Gamer mode is active, all scanning activities and update downloads are paused, freeing up further resources for smooth gaming experience.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus Review – Final Thoughts
ESET NOD32 antivirus offers a great mix of security focused features in a package that is much smaller than the competitors’ installation. Despite the small size and apparent lack of bells-and-whistles, the software does provide industry level protection for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Given the various awards that the software has won and the benchmarks it has attained overthe years, ESET NOD32 is a great choice for personal and business protection requirements.