Freeware IObit Security 360 is a fast and welterweight utility for both detecting and removing malware, and determining any security holes in your system before they can been exploited. The interface has large icons with simple labels that won't confuse novices, and the tools menu offers some useful features that more advanced users are sure to appreciate.
The Overview tab is the main window and contains links for immediate Smart scans, definition file updates, a "security analysis," which evaluates potential exploits in your system and includes Windows security patches, and a status update window. This tells you whether your real-time protection, automatic scans and updates, and heuristic-based scans are on or off. Automatic scans and updates and scheduled scans, are restricted to the paid upgrade. The Scan tab lets you initiate a Smart scan, a Full scan, or a Custom scan, and the Protection tab lets you toggle your real-time protection status. It seems a bit odd that a user would want the separate controls the program offers for "known malware" and "unknown threats."
The Tools tab gives you seven useful system security tools. There's a Hijack scan for power users, a Security Holes scan, a Passive Defense that disables cookies in Firefox and Internet Explorer, and ActiveX in IE, and an Unlock and Delete tool for getting rid of files your system thinks are in use. There's a Privacy Sweeper that will clean not just cookies and cache but saved forms, download history, and other Internet traces in all major browsers, as well as utilities like archival tools, multimedia players, and other applications. Annoyingly, a PC Tuneup option takes you to the download page for another IObit program, but users on the go will like the custom portable version that you can launch from a USB key. Security 360 eats about 50MB of RAM when idle, with a Smart scan taking about 6 minutes and a full scan finishing in 45 minutes, making this one of the fastest in its class.
Editor's Note, November 17, 2009: CNET Download.com has received notice from IObit, the maker of Security 360, that they have updated their database to address accusations of intellectual property theft. (Read more about the dispute in our CNET News story.)