We're never sure whether ESET's chosen symbol of a robot just like the NS-5 in I Robot is meant to depict its customers or its employees. But either way, it's one of the brands you remember. ESET Smart Security 6 is the latest incarnation of the company's internet security (IS) suite and includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, a two-way firewall, parental control, anti-phising, a social-media scanner and an anti-theft module. See also: TOP 5 INTERNET SECURITY SUITES.
Obviously missing from that list are features like tune-up, a secure browser and online backup. The suite is available for between one and three Windows PCs and on a one- to three-year subscription, depending on fee.
The main new feature is anti-theft. If ESET Smart Security 6 is installed on a Windows laptop which goes missing, you can report it to the secure ESET site from another machine. The software is then triggered to report the portable's approximate position, if it has access to a wireless network.
If the machine has a webcam, it can also be set to take pictures of its new ‘user'. All your files and accounts on the machine can be hidden, too. Pretty thorough and it could give a thief a nasty surprise.
ESET smart security: interface
The interface is clean and simple, to the point of minimalist, but covers all the essentials, if you dig around. There are panes covering scan, update, setup and tools. The Tools pane includes a statistics panel, system inspector and a way to burn a rescue disc.
Our scan-rate tests gave a scan rate of 74.4 files/sec, which is a mid-range result, and it examined 120,178 files.
It fingerprints files well, as a repeat scan looked at only 17,377 files and finished in less than two minutes. Its resource footprint is fair, although it took 56 percent longer to copy a 1GB file between drives with a scan running.
According to the German test site AV-Test, ESET has improved its software performance considerably. Mind you, the organisation hasn't tested version 6 yet. Version 5.2 of the software scored 13.0/18.0, a full two points more than version 4.
It improved in all areas, with Performance and Usability clocking up an extra half point each and Repair moving up a full point.
Performance now scores 4.0/6.0, with a full 100 percent detection of older widespread malware, 97.5 percent on recent introductions – slightly above the group average – and 90 percent on zero-day attacks – slightly below.
The Usability score of 5.5/6.0 supports ESET's claim that the product is light on system resources. AV-Test measured a seven percent slowdown of its test machines, against an average of 10 percent, and there were no false positives of any kind during test.
It wasn't quite so good on the Repair tests, with an overall score of 3.5/6.0, though it was still up to group average on detection of rootkits and stealth malware and well above average on removal of bad components and remediation of critical systems.
It dropped a bit on removal of active components, giving three percent below the group average of 91 percent.