ESET Smart Security 5

ESET Smart Security 5

Download Editors' Rating:
4
Excellent
Average User Rating:
4.4
out of 258 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    5.0.95
  • Total Downloads:
    824,208
  • Date Added:
    Dec. 22, 2011
  • Price:
    Free to try (30-day trial); $59.99 to buy (Buy it now)

Editors' Review

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The bottom line: Back from the nearly dead, or at least the un-updated, ESET returns with high-level security that's light on your system. But for a top-tier suite, it's also light on features. Good thing it's priced lower, too.

Review:

The last time ESET updated its two security suites--the antivirus and anti-malware-only NOD32 and the more feature-heavy alternative Smart Security--it was a different computer security world. It was March 2009: Anonymous barely existed, Stuxnet hadn't gone public, and ransomware was the stuff of science fiction.

Version 5 of ESET Smart Security is a solid, creative attempt to create a suite that adapts to a rapidly changing threatscape, with an emphasis on generic detections and the now-commonplace reliance on both cloud and locally stored detections. It left us wanting in one area that many don't consider "core" security, and so its lower price and good benchmarks might win over people unhappy with other suites.

Installation
ESET's installation could be faster, although it's by no means sluggish. It's slowed down by a preponderance of screens, including registration, and an unnecessary query as to whether or not the user wants Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) protection activated or not. While a legitimate query, there's no reason for it to slow down the install by yet another screen to click through.

PUPs are definitely a security issue, though, so perhaps the program ought to just scan for them on the first scan automatically, and then ask you if it's a scan you always want.

One decent thing about the registration process is that it's all done from within the suite--no need to jump to your browser. Also, there's no reboot required after the installation. Still, the one-minute-or-less installs from Norton and Trend Micro should be a goal that all security suites aspire to.

Interface
The layout of ESET 5 remains unchanged from version 4, except for minor details, although neither is quite as easy to use as it ought to be. The interface opens to a window indicating your security status. The default is colored green and labeled Maximum Protection, which changes to red and a warning when core security features, such as Network Protection, have been disabled. The center pane doesn't indicate this very clearly, but the plain text Maximum Protection labels that tell you which parts of your computer and activity are protected are actually links. Click one to drill deeper into your settings, toggle features, and gain more granular control over your security.

The left nav lets you access other features, including Computer Scan, Update, Setup, Tools, and Help. To the interface's credit, each tab's layout is kept similar, and there are helpful mouse-over tooltips that help clarify things like the differences between default scans, but key features, like the Advanced Settings window, are hard to find.

Along with a lack of clarity about how to get around ESET's interface is the confusion created by redundancy. There's nothing gained by making things harder to find, and even savvy users will probably have to take more time than necessary to get up to speed.

Features and support
ESET Smart Security 5's core features put the suite at or near the top of its class. Its collection of features, while not revolutionary, are nevertheless extremely well implemented. What it lacks are many of the modern ancillary features that justify the higher price.

On the side of the basics, there are two default scans: a "Smart Scan" and a custom scan. ESET has improved its antivirus and antispyware engines so that they don't detect only threats, but prevent your host files from corruption before the bad guys go after you. There's removable media control, so you can block USB keys or external drives from connecting to your computer, and the new gamer mode automatically initiates silent running whenever a program is running at full screen. This is perfect for movies and presentations, as well as games. You can also activate it from the system tray.

ThreatSense, ESET's cloud-based detection, isn't new--yep, it had it three years ago--but it's been expanded in version 5 to include reputation analysis. All of that comes in the basic NOD32. Upping to Smart Security gets you antispam, parental controls, and a "smart" firewall that learns how your computer uses the Internet very quickly. For example, many firewalls don't know what to do with Firefox's development build "Aurora" initially, and will ask you to verify that it's legit. ESET's recognized it immediately and let it through without an annoying pop-up.

Speaking of browsers, ESET's browser guards are browser-agnostic, and don't require an extension. You won't get search results ratings, but ESET successfully blocked us from attempting to reach known dangerous Web sites clicked on in search results.

The firewall's advanced settings remain Smart Security's strength. You can extensively customize the firewall's behavior, but you don't have to. There are five default settings: automatic, automatic with user-defined exceptions, interactive, policy-based, and learning. You can set safe zones, configure remote desktop access, and manage intrusion detection, all from an uncluttered and easy-to-use menu. ESET chose usability over flashiness with its design, and you can jump between advanced options for any of Smart Security's tools from the same pane. Unfortunately, the advanced firewall settings are buried--it's easiest to get to them through the Network option on the Home screen.

The antispam filter is similarly effective and configurable. The program can automatically mark outgoing addresses as safe, as well as detect global address books. Smart Security is surprisingly light, consuming around 15MB of RAM when running a scan.

ESET skips over many of the ancillary features that the high-end suites tend to include, such as password management, free online storage and file syncing, or mobile protection. However, Smart Security retails for $59.99, about $10 cheaper than most "Internet Security" suites.

It's not too much of a stretch to say that ESET owns the Support space. In addition to the hot-line support, forums and knowledge base, no other security suite offers an education module like ESET does. Called "Cybersecurity Training," the module features an interactive city that you can explore to learn about how to protect yourself, your personal data, and your computer when online. It's an in-depth approach that we wish other vendors would take, because at the end of the day, it's going to be your own wits that keep you safest.

It's accessible from the installation CD if you buy the physical boxed copy of the program, and we're not sure just yet about how to launch it from the downloadable version.

Performance
ESET's overall performance presents a reliable security option. It's not the most effective security suite we've seen this year, and the benchmarks leave room for growth, but overall it's a solid, secure choice, with low false positives and a light touch on your computer's performance.

Real-world test results for ESET were confusing. On our real-world test computer, an x86 Windows 7 laptop that we use for all hands-on testing of security suites, ESET scans were invariably slow and ponderous. On average, the first scan took nearly two hours, and subsequent scans were only faster by about 20 to 30 minutes. These marks did not match up to CNET Labs' results, which found ESET's scan times on a freshly imaged computer to be among the fastest results we've seen so far this year. Because of the large number of programs that get installed and uninstalled on the real-world laptop, which could adversely affect the computer's Registry, we're inclined to favor the labs results in this case.

CNET Labs' benchmarks found both ESET Smart Security 5 and ESET NOD32 5 to have performed generally well above average. Note that we can't directly compare this year's results with last year's because we upgraded our testing computer from Windows 7 x64 to Windows 7 x64 with Service Pack 1.

Smart Security slowed down the Labs' computer boot time by an average of 17.2 seconds--five seconds faster than the average of all suites tested to date this year--whereas NOD32 5 added an impressively low 13.9 seconds. For both programs, ESET's boot time impact was minimal.

Both suites had a small impact on the computer's shutdown time, slowing it down only by about six to seven seconds longer than an unprotected computer. However, it should be noted that the shutdown time for an unprotected computer was half that, so even though ESET's impact was minimal when compared with other suites, it's still having a big affect on the computer itself.

On all of CNET's in-use system performance tests except for the Cinebench test, ESET's impact was extremely minimal. The Cinebench results were close to the average level of impact. So, all things being equal, you're not going to notice much when ESET is running as you go about your computing business. This was borne out by our real-world tests, too.

Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (to date) 63.0 15.8 1,136 416 125 348 17,112
ESET NOD32 5 53.9 12 727 411 124 342 16,946
ESET Smart Security 5 57.2 14 658 401 124 343 17,148

*All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, the higher number is better.

In independent threat detection and removal tests, the new version of ESET holds its own but doesn't achieve top marks in all areas. In the AV-Test.org test on Windows 7 from the first quarter of 2011, the previous version of ESET, Smart Security 4.2, squeaked by with a passing score of 12.5 out of 18 overall. The suite had a 4.0 rating out of 6 in Protection, a 3.0 in Repair, and a 3.5 in Usability.

The second quarter 2011 test, on a Windows XP computer, definitely showed improvement in some areas and regression in others. It scored 13.5 out of 18 overall, a solid midrange score. The suite improved in Protection with 4.0, a small uptick in Repair performance with 3.5, and a big improvement in Usability to 5.5 out of 6. The Usability score looks at, among other metrics, how many False Positives a suite detects. So even though version 4.2 was based on a nearly three-year-old engine, the suite was still able to improve quarter-over-quarter.

Third-quarter results aren't in yet, but version 5 beta results shared by AV-Test.org with CNET indicate that the suite has made serious improvements over version 4.2. It notched a 98.5 percent malware detection rate, equal to the overall average rate during May 2011 certification testing. Still, that wasn't as high as some competitors, such as Bitdefender. The suite was able to remove 95.7 percent of active malware infections, significantly higher than the industry average of 85.7 percent. In AV-Test.org's zero-day attacks test, ESET blocked 87.8 percent of the attacks, compared with the average of 80.5 percent. Still this wasn't as good as Bitdefender, which blocked all of the attacks. ESET also did not find any false positives.

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org Whole Product test, which looks at on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and "real-world" guards--including cloud-based protections--puts ESET Smart Security 4.2 toward the front of the class, out of 17 suites tested. Looking at Whole Product test results cumulatively from January 2011 to June 2011 found that ESET came in seventh, blocking 98.2 percent of threats.

Dennis Technology Labs, a member of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organisation (AMTSO), found in January 2011 that ESET Smart Security 4 earned an overall protection score of 134 (PDF), the third-best score Dennis Labs awarded.

Conclusion
ESET returns to a tougher security world, not just from the competition but from the threats that it's meant to protect you against. Though the benchmarking is generally solid, improvements are needed in all other areas of the suite before we would be comfortable awarding it higher marks.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    4.3

    out of 18 votes

    • 5 star 14
    • 4 star 0
    • 3 star 1
    • 2 star 1
    • 1 star 2
  • All Versions

    4.4

    out of 258 votes

    • 5 star 180
    • 4 star 34
    • 3 star 18
    • 2 star 17
    • 1 star 9
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Results 1–10 of 18

5 stars

"Powerful Program"

January 03, 2013  |  By Summerberry_88

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

Powerful & Smart Detection.

Cons

None for me!!!

Summary

I use ESET Smart Security 5 before.

I have a friend who uses one of the well-known antivirus products. He was always complaining to me about the problems encountered when using the program. Although the program is one of the good antivirus (I do not deny about that), but it changes all the settings of your Internet Network, said my friend. Many programs are deleted because they thought the program was a virus, but it's not. Sometimes my friends laptop is too slow because of that antivirus program. So, I recommend ESET product to him. It's amazing, he did not have any problems when using it. Now, she always smiling while using his laptop without any concern for any virus threats.

Now my friend and I turned to the latest ESET products, ESET Smart Security 6 (RC). We always follow the development of ESET products to get maximum protection. That's all I can share together. Thank you.

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5 stars

"I would chose it"

December 25, 2012  |  By JohnnyZX

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

Light
Fast
Easy
Nice UI
Low Disk Space
Great Detection
Great Firewall

Cons

Just one, No FREE version

Summary

I love this product, it has everything needed as a Security Suite.

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2 stars

"A step back from the previous version."

November 07, 2012  |  By mss627

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

Effective (if overactive)antivirus

Cons

Five may actually be a more effective antivirus tool than version 4 but there's a price. The update interface is the dumbest I've ever seen. Your computer can sit for hours with no update. As soon as the user starts to interface ESET suddenly springs into action updating it's virus definitions. The gamer mode is virtually useless. EKRN.exe will start inexplicably at any time and run for hours. For some reason CNETs download utility triggers major alarms. Most customer care solutions involve removing and reinstalling the software. ESET has a function that allows you to submit files if you believe they're incorrectly flagged. I've submitted several and never gotten a response.

Summary

A real step down from version 4. I originally purchased ESET because of how seemlessly it ran with Windows 7. This is no longer the case. My license expires in 2014 but I doubt that I can live that long with this software.

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5 stars

"I had nerver heard of this product but glad I found it."

September 05, 2012  |  By m2anderson

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

Easy to use and simple to understand. It also has Internet Security Training.

Cons

None at this time.

Summary

Most antivirus trials scan the computer and if it finds anything you have to purchase to clean it. Not this program. I am still in trial and my computer is clean. I am very impressed. I also purchased the product and will replace the trial with the registered version.

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5 stars

"Brilliant product"

August 24, 2012  |  By shr4van

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

Easy to use UI
Good detection
Light on resources
Free upgrades

Cons

None at all!

Summary

I've used everything from Kaspersky ( version 7 was awesome, after which it became a resource hogger ), Norton ( version 2006 after it too became a resource hogger ), Symantec Corporate ( resource hogger in its current avatar ), Bit Defener ( extremely high rate of false positives, updates that don't allow you to boot up ), AVG Pro ( firewall never remembered my permissions, and the auto scan feature never worked to detect which programs were safe ), F-Secure ( this one was decent, but did make your system a tad bit slow ), Trend Micro ( king of false positives ) & G-Data ( uses 2 engines - Kaspersky & Bit Defenders making it ultra slow ). Out of all these, only Eset stands out with no complaints. Everyhings made to work perfectly. I feel they should just do away with their customer support because the products just that perfect!!

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5 stars

"The program is powerful!"

August 12, 2012  |  By loveupe

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

The program is powerful as Eset Smart Security 4.
Thanks for such a wonderful security program.

Easy to use. Nice GUI.

Cons

None at the moment.

Summary

Well done.

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3 stars

"many better suites out there"

August 10, 2012  |  By dolphy17

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

light, fast

Cons

used to be good but now...very low marks on av-test.org

and as i mentioned, there are MANY better including norton,avast,avg,f-secure...etc

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5 stars

"The the lightest security suites on the market"

July 30, 2012  |  By victorh2007

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

- Very light on system usage resources despite high memory RAM usage;
- It uses very low processors' cycles which makes Eset be very light;
- It has a very clean and nice GUI;
- It updates its signatures database very frequently;
- It has an excellent web shield;
- Very low false positives;
- Its firewall works silently.

Cons

- It could be even better if Eset offers a Sandbox inside the security suite.

Summary

It is one of the greatest security suites on the market for Windows OS. It only misses a Sandbox that I do hope be available on next version 7 in 2014.

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5 stars

"What an outstanding product"

July 19, 2012  |  By tuneup-secure-maniac

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

This product is just Awesome
Detects everything
Easy to understand settings
Light on computer speed
The new version now includes a HIPS

Cons

Not exactly low memory usage on the eset service but there is NO impact on performance thought

Summary

This product is perfect,I would recommend it to everyone

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5 stars

"great program"

July 14, 2012  |  By motosteven

 |  Version: ESET Smart Security 5 5.0.95

Pros

The best protection is not false positives and have very light on resources

Cons

none for me !!

Summary

After four years that I've never had a virus.The antivirous say they are the best are full of false positives as the AVG AVIRA Bitdefender Panda

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Results 1–10 of 18

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 5.0.95
New:
  • Parental Control (ESET Smart Security 5): Keep your family safe from offensive or undesirable websites with easy-to-use predefined roles, or limit web access to 20 predefined categories with manual settings. Override predefined categories with white or black lists to tailor the controls to your individual needs.
  • Cloud-powered reputation engine of running processes: Built on the ThreatSense.net advanced early warning system, ESET Live Grid is designed to provide additional levels of security to your computer. It constantly monitors your system's running programs and processes against the latest intelligence collected from millions of ESET users worldwide. Additionally, your system scans are processed faster and more precisely as the ESET Live Grid database grows over time.
  • ESET Live Installer: A small download manager-like .exe file that users will download from our website instead of a full copy of software. ESET Live Installer will automatically detect your OS, processor bit architecture and language, and automatically install the most recent build of ESET NOD32 Antivirus 5 in a few clicks.
  • Improved removable media management: Now with automatic-scan notification of USB flash drives, CDs, and DVDs. Detailed controls allow you to block specific media based on a range of parameters like the device ID, media type (i.e. USB or CD), and serial number of the device.
  • HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System): Another level of protection that monitors unauthorized changes of your computer's system registry, processes, applications and files. In most cases you may not even be ware that these changes might be taking place.
  • Redesigned GUI: Now incorporates shortcuts to the most frequently used actions, contextual menus and icons as well as easier navigation of Advanced Setup tree.
  • Cybersecurity Training (complimentary with purchase): ESET's online training leads you through real-world scenarios via animated videos and education exercises to help keep their computer data and personal information safe.

  • Enhancements:
  • Gamer mode: One-click enabling lets you suspend pop-up notifications, scanning, and scheduled tasks while in full-screen mode. Gamer mode minimizes system resource usage to give you the necessary power to play the game.
  • Delayed startup scan: Scheduled startup scans are randomly delayed for 2 to 5 minutes until your computer's CPU loading slows to normal.
  • Shutdown After Scan: Allows you to shutdown your computer automatically after completion of an on-demand scan.
  • Improved antispam: Now with an even higher level of precision and added spam log.
  • Smarter intelligent firewall: More robust traffic filtering, including customized profiles with specific rules for different network zones.
  • General
    Publisher ESET
    Publisher web site http://www.eset.com
    Release Date September 13, 2011
    Date Added December 22, 2011
    Version 5.0.95
    Category
    Category Security Software
    Subcategory Internet Security Software Suites
    Operating Systems
    Operating Systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
    Additional Requirements None
    Download Information
    File Size 1.58MB
    File Name eset_smart_security_live_installer.exe
    Popularity
    Total Downloads 824,208
    Downloads Last Week 920
    Pricing
    License Model Free to try
    Limitations 30-day trial
    Price $59.99

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