PROS / ESET Smart Security is effective against phishing attempts.
CONS / Some of its competitors are slightly better at detecting malware.
VERDICT / Though it pulls more resources from your computer than other programs in our review, ESET includes several security features that make it a good solution for providing more internet security than antivirus protection alone.
ESET Smart Security is an internet security suite that protects your computer from malware such as viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and rootkits. In addition to guarding against these sorts of malware, ESET protects you online by blocking phishing attempts and scanning email for threats. Furthermore, it protects against malware in external media, such as flash drives.
The basic ESET package comes with one license that you are free to use on your home computer, laptop or even your mobile device. However, since internet security is primarily used for computers and laptops, you will need to purchase additional licenses in order to protect both PCs and mobile devices.
During March and April of 2016, AV-Test conducted independent evaluations of how well ESET and 21 other internet protection suites detect and block malware threats. ESET Smart Security scored average in protection for correctly identifying most known and new malware. It scored perfectly in usability, a test that looks at how often a program blocks legitimate content, mistaking it for an actual threat.
ESET did dip below average in performance. This AV-Test comparison looks as how much drain a program has on a computer's resources while it is running. ESET slowed down Windows 10 test computers a bit more than average for the internet security industry.
ESET has enough features to go beyond entry-level antivirus software, such as a firewall, instant messaging protection, social media protection and parental controls. It gives you the ability to create a backup recovery disk so you can replace files and programs if your computer comes under attack.
One tool it's missing is a password manager. This tool protects your passwords in the event a hacker accesses your computer. Passwords to email and online banking sites are vulnerable during an attack, since these can be used to steal your identity, so a password manager is an important part of computer protection.
This is one of the easiest internet security suites to use. The navigation presents no challenges and includes keyboard shortcuts. The default setup assumes you are a beginner, making decisions on its own without asking for your intervention, though there is an advanced mode option to give you more control. The convenient laptop mode protects your laptop without draining the battery.
Despite ESET Smart Security's ease of use, sometimes it's helpful to have support personnel available to answer any questions or address issues you may experience. ESET has weekday phone support and live chat available for one-on-one contact, but these channels are limited to 12 hours each day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This could get frustrating if you need help outside of support hours or on the weekend.
ESET Smart Security is in our review of the best internet security software for its comprehensive antivirus protection, antiphishing and additional security feature set. It performs well in independent test labs, although it doesn't quite match the results of the best internet security suites. This is especially true in performance, where results show ESET causes more slowing of your computer than many of its competitors.