A security vendor from Finland, F-Secure Corporation has 30 years in cybersecurity. It offers a plethora of security solutions for home and business, but its F-Secure Anti-Virus software has one job in mind: protecting against viruses, including ransomware. That leads to awesome simplicity but also means you’ll need additional security software to truly secure your rig.
F-Secure Anti-Virus’ starter tier is enticing with a $35.99 entry point (about £28) for the 1-computer, 1-year license. That’s appealing until you look at the feature list and are disappointed by how few there really are. The package lacks what some would consider essentials, like a password manager, Wi-Fi protection, banking protection, file shredder and browsing protection. Seriously, it's antivirus and that’s about it.
Another area falling short is multi-device discounts, which do not go beyond a three-device, single-year license for $39.99 (about £31). Many competitors offer more flexibility. Bitdefender, for example, can cover 1, 3, 5 or up to 10 devices for a choice of 1, 2 or 3 years. This also makes it more affordable: a 10 PC, 3-year Bitdefender license runs just $162.50 (£125), which works out to only $5.42 (£4.17) per device per year.
F-Secure Anti-Virus has a generous 30-day free trial, but you have to jump through too many hoops to get it. First, you must provide your email address and complete a CAPTCHA prior to downloading the file. Next, an email with a confirmation link arrives in your inbox. After clicking on it, a web page opens explaining that yet another email is coming with the license key and download link.
We appreciate that this second email arrived in our inbox almost immediately. Creating some confusion, the email lacked a license key, but we can postulate that it's contained in the executable name. The installation process completed the setup without delay. But we wish the rest of the process was more streamlined.
The F-Secure program folder is a fairly average size at 700MB of support files. We noticed that F-Secure (as others do) uses the Bitdefender engine alongside its own. We take no issue with this, as the Bitdefender engine has an excellent reputation for accuracy and can be considered a feature.
F-Secure Anti-Virus isn’t trying hard to dazzle users over with tons of bonus features. In fact, it really doesn’t have any. It’s just the essentials here: core antivirus scanning with the required security layers and settings.
The benefit of such a simple interface is that it’s as straightforward as can be, with the main console having just two buttons: Virus Scan and Settings. Settings provides a small number of configuration options.
The Virus Scan button runs a scan that's done in a jiffy--just a quick minute on our system--and blocks identified threats automatically. It then provides an update on the system’s health.
But more experienced users will quickly get frustrated with the minimal number of settings to control and the dearth of features. The main console shows literally no other choices other than the default quick scan. F-Secure also has no removable drive scan and no option for the creation of a custom scan.
However, there actually is a full system scan buried deep in the settings menu. Unfortunately, most may not know to even look for it.
Alternatively, competitors, including Avast and Avira, provide a plethora of manual scan options and a full panel of configuration settings. F-Secure goes total minimalist with only two simple checkboxes: “Scan only known file types” and “Scan inside compressed files.”
Antivirus Testing and Performance
F-Secure does a good job at its core antivirus function, with pluses including quick speed, accuracy and easy usage. The minus is that it’s lacking in the feature department. However, features like URL blocking can be supplemented with additional, dedicated software, making F-Secure a decent choice for those purely seeking a solution for antivirus.
With our own round of testing malware detection, we concluded that F-Secure is both solid and reliable.
Other Security Features
F-Secure Anti-Virus keeps features to a minimum. Simplicity can certainly have its advantages, such as when power users look to combine F-Secure with another software solution, like a URL filter and firewall. But for less experienced users, or those who want the ability to access multiple security functions via a single interface, this could be an issue.
One feature that F-Secure does have that we liked is the ransomware protection.The feature helps keep files safe by preventing untrusted applications from accessing files in designated folders. Windows 10 has a “controlled folder access” function that controls which apps can alter files in protected folders (this can be toggled on or off), making F-Secure’s feature a bit redundant for those users. However, we still consider F-Secure’s feature a useful, extra layer for protection against ransomware.
F-Secure Anti-Virus is great at fulfilling its namesake and provides fast, accurate and precise antivirus protection--and at a lower cost than most of the competition. But that’s about it.
The software falls short when it comes to additional security features, like URL blocking, an essential that most competing anti-virus software include.
If you don’t mind having to add additional software to secure your PC, F-Secure Anti-Virus is a reliable barrier against malicious viruses. But if you want a one-and-done cybersecurity solution, look elsewhere.
Image Credits: F-Secure
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