F-Secure Safe review

F-Secure Safe 2014

Although F-Secure Safe 2014 is £60 for a year’s cover, this is actually quite a good deal, as it’s for three devices, not 3 PCs. F-Secure produces IS software for Windows, Mac and Android and you can build any mix of licences up to the total in your F-Secure Safe package. It’s unusual to get multi-platform cover at this price. See all security software reviews.

When you fire up F-Secure, four small icons appear at the bottom of the screen, labelled Computer Security, Online Safety, Safe Profile and F-Secure. Each of these leads to one or more control screens, which are well laid out and generally easy to navigate. See also what's the best security software?

The suite contains AV, anti-malware and anti-spam modules, as well as a firewall and parental control, but there’s no tune-up and no backup provision, local or online. It’s more of an anti-virus product than a full suite.

As some compensation, F-Secure has gone for extra protection for laptop owners. Its Android app, Mobile Security, has a module for protecting data remotely on a stolen laptop and for getting the machine to state its location when it’s within reach of a wireless link to your F-Secure account screen.

It can provide similar parental control to the PC application, and can use the same technology as in theft location to keep an eye on where your kids are, as long as they have F-Secure on their phones or tablets.

We had trouble with the scan times from the 2012 version of F-Secure Safe when we reviewed it – and the same with this 2013 product. An initial scan of our 50GB basket of files was showing over 10 hours to complete. We contacted F-Secure and provided our files for the company to analyse and sort out the problem. Some weeks later, it let us know it had diagnosed and sorted it.

Unfortunately, it still seems to be there in the 2014 product. We abandoned a scan over six hours in, when it was still showing only about 60 percent complete and with just over 21,000 files examined.

Our file basket is a mixture of executables, data files and zip archives; the archives are where the F-Secure engine seems to have the problem. The other IS applications we test showed no difficulty with the same file set.

It appears the AV-Test didn’t experience the same problems, as they rated F-Secure at 16.0/18.0. The three measurement categories: Protection, Performance and Usability, came in at 6.0, 4.5 and 5.5 out of 6, respectively.

Protection looks at recent and zero-day threats, so this is the best place to have a perfect 6.0, with 100 percent in all parts of the test.

F-Secure Safe 2014: Specs

  • Windows XP SP3 32-bit/Vista SP 2/7/8 all 32/64 bit, P4 or equivalent CPU, 1GB memory, 800MB HD
  • Windows XP SP3 32-bit/Vista SP 2/7/8 all 32/64 bit, P4 or equivalent CPU, 1GB memory, 800MB HD


The Usability score of 5.5 reflects a low total of five false positives, during system scans and the use of legitimate applications. The 4.5 figure for a Performance score shows a noticeable resource hit while running regular computing tasks, like downloading and installing software.

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