ESET is a widely respected and trusted name when it comes to malware protection against viruses, spyware, worm, Trojans, and even various rootkits. ESET security suites are the baseline product of the Slovakia based company ESET. According to most of the tests conducted with ESET security suites, it passes with almost perfect results.
Cost and Installation
Staring with NOD32, it’s priced at $39.99, for one device, and progresses with $10 per additional device – maximum number of devices that can be protected with this suite are five. Here is what’s included in this suite:
- Game mode
- Spyware protection
- Ransomware defense
Next on the hierarchy is the ESET Internet Security, which is priced at $49.99/year for single device protection, but if you require security for more devices, you can opt for the $99.99/year package that covers five devices. It features:
- Anti spam
- Scanner for sensitive devices (home network)
- Webcam protection
- Safe browser
The most feature rich and critically acclaimed suite from ESET is Smart Security Premium. Priced at $59.99/year for one device, you can choose to take it up to a ten device coverage at $149.99 for the entire year. It features:
- File encryption
- Password manager
All of the above mentioned suites are Windows-based protection programs. If you require malware protection for Mac, Linux, or Android, ESET’s Multi-Device Security is more suitable for your needs – or more specific suites such as ESET Cyber Security or ESET Mobile Security.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus in Action
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.
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 the 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 present 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 are 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 ransomware that take advantage of browser and application vulnerabilities. The Advanced Memory Scanner adds to malware protection by detecting ransomware 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. This feature is supported by ESET Live Grid, a cloud-based file reputation system that ensures that the antivirus is able to identify and deal with a wide range of malware in minimum time.
Shared Suite Features
ESET’s most premium suites, Internet Security and Smart Security Premium share various features with one another.
- Sturdy firewall protection: it blocks all the attempts from outside as well as the unauthorized traffic from the home network. As an added control, you can decide to turn on the interactive mode in order to allow or restrict the traffic yourself; otherwise it just automatically blocks all unsolicited traffic on its own.
- Email protection: filters out spam email as well as any malicious or suspicious threats. It configures and protects Microsoft email accounts – scanning for IMAP and POP3 accounts.
- Parental Controls: the standard parental control panel enables users to block and filter out harmful channels through which either the system could be exposed to harmful threats or children to unsolicited inappropriate content.
- Connected Home Monitor: this feature lets you scan all the devices connected to the program and you can deal with the existing threat with this tool, on the spot.
- Banking and Payment protection: a safe browser extension provides a secure environment to conduct transactions and other financial procedures online.
Security and Privacy
Apart from good scores on the AV-Tests, ESET’s Ransomware blocker feature is capable of handling quite stubborn threats. All three suites feature a scan that runs in the background in order to detect any suspicious activity such as encryption of files at mass. As soon as a suspicious activity is detected, the user is sent an immediate alert with the possible plan of action that is up to the user to select.
With a Strong Network-Attack Protection system in place, ESET software blocks any probably exploit that your home network maybe exposing your system to. It inspects every single data packet that is entering and leaving the system – the only downside is that it does not provide a way to protect important data from encrypting-ransomware as it cannot be put in a rescue folder.
As advancement to this feature, ESET Smart Security features an Advanced Memory Scanner that detects any threats in RAM, as well as a UEFI scanner that detects common malware and other malicious activities.
The Anti-Theft feature in Internet Security and Smart Security Premium enable the users to block their stolen devices and save the sensitive information and media that is stored on it from being breached. Even though the parental control features the basic panel, it does not allow the users to filter the content being viewed by age – if your child has the password, he/she can unblock the blacklisted websites.
Performance and System Impact
The test laptop was a notebook with an Intel Core i3-5005U processor, 6GB RAM, and 500GB hard drive – the hard drive held files worth of over 35GB. Using a specially designed OpenOffice-based benchmark test, we determined the ESET software’s performance and its impact on the system – the suite under test was Smart Security Premium.
At initiation, the OpenOffice test took over 7 minutes and 1 second to finish. Once the software was loaded, prior to any virus scans, the task took 16 seconds more to be completed. The first full scan of the system using ESET antivirus software took 32 minutes and 17 seconds, which is quite impressive considering that there were over 239,000 files to be scanned.
Even though ESET does not feature a Quick Scan option, it does have an extension by the name of Online Scanner available for download. Overall, ESET’s malware protection does not have a shocking impact on the system’s performance, especially in comparison with its competitors.
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 an idle state.
Gamers would find ESET NOD32 antivirus a great option for their machines. The Gamer mode is 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 the smooth gaming experience.
Installation and Support
The installer is a 4.1MB file that carries and then installs the main antivirus program. The procedure is rather simple and direct following the installation:
- Enter activation code
- Set up and ESET account
- Option to choose between opting in or out of ESET malware-collection program – which detects unsolicited adware and other extra programs that come hidden with other software.
ESET does not offer a 24/7 tech support. Users can only contact ESET support centers between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. via phone calls. Other than that they can be contacted via e-mail.
ESET’s interface is quite vivid in terms of visuals. As soon as the program has ensured that everything is protected, you are flashed with a “You are protected” on the screen just like shown in the screen capture below.
The Computer Scan option is categorized by memory, boot sector, driver, and external drive – in case you do not want to start a full system scan. Tools are mentioned underneath and on the left side as they can be seen: Password Manager, Encryption Tool, Anti-theft, Network Monitor, and Banking Protection.
ESET Antivirus for Windows
Eset NOD32 for Windows provides reliable protection against malware, data theft and hackers and it won’t slow you down.
ESET Antivirus for Linux
Eset provides Cross-platform anti-malware protection for the Linux as well as for external storage media. Below are some important features of ESET NOD32 Antivirus for Linux.
ESET Review – Final Thoughts
ESET offers protection that varies depending on which of the suites you opt for, but its sturdy firmware ensures that your system is not hacked – regardless of which suite you choose.
If you are looking for a security system that is excellent at detecting and getting rid of threats but is also user-friendly, then you can opt for any of the ESET suites. It offers quite decent packages at their prices, and also provides intact protection for your devices. With results that are near perfect, it is suggested that it is better to opt for more premium suites like ESET Internet Security and Smart Security Premium if you require protection that is multi-device and keeps your Windows systems completely clean from malicious threats.