F-Secure Anti-Virus is a straightforward and effective antivirus engine which will do its best to keep all malware locked firmly out of your PC.
And independent testing suggests the program is quite accurate: a March AV-Comparatives test ranked the previous F-Secure engine equal 5th out of 20, with few false positives, and awarded it their top Advanced+ rating.
Install the program and it'll begin to protect you right away. Any files you access are checked for potential threats, and F-Secure's DeepGuard technology keeps an eye on the behaviour of all running processes, looking out for any which might be behaving suspiciously. (This raises a few more alerts than we'd like, just initially, but once you've told it which programs to trust then things soon settle down.)
You can of course also launch on-demand scans, though, either from the F-Secure console or by right-clicking the appropriate file or folder within Explorer.
A scheduled scanning option allows you to run automated checks on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or just whenever your PC has been idle for a specified amount of time.
While there are no major changes to the F-Secure Anti-Virus interface, the company say its protection engines have been updated to keep you even safer online. And in addition, the program is now fully compatible with Windows 8, so if you're planning an early upgrade then that won't be a problem.
F-Secure is known for its integration with various ISP suppliers to supply behind-the-scenes antivirus power. With this new version of its antivirus software F-Secure gives us the benefits of its experience in an easy to use consumer package. This year’s update is an improvement on previous versions. We’ve looked closely at F-Secure to give you all the detail about its performance, impact and style. The question is, does F-Secure match up to similarly priced antivirus packages in the field?
F-Secure is available to download from the website. Subscribe to the service and the protection covers up to three computers. The software is available in a large number of languages, not just English.
The system automatically gets rid of any previously-installed antivirus software that could interfere with the smooth running of the F-Secure system. We tested and found the set-up process for F-Secure AntiVirus to be simple and pretty quick, although some users have had problems with installations that don’t finish. Using the F-Secure Easy Clean System seems to help if you have problems with persistent malware.
Once running, F-Secure is reasonably system-light, and it doesn’t take up too many resources meaning your computer won’t run slow. We don’t think F-Secure is the fastest, and if near-zero performance impact is your aim you are best with another product.
How does F-Secure protect your computer? With DeepGuard cloud computing to identify and remove viruses, malware, worms and spyware. The DeepGuard network monitors how programs work in order to identify new threats from within the cloud and it updates the user community with information. The software protects your computer from attack and also helps make it run quicker and more smoothly.
Internet – When you’re shopping online or passing your payment details to a website you need to be sure you’re secure. F-Secure takes on this task by removing software from your PC that hijacks the browser or sends your data to an illegal third party.
Email – The F-Secure AntiVirus system helps protect by scanning incoming and outgoing email messages for malicious codes and files.
AV-Test gives F-Secure a consistently good rating for performance, while AV-Comparatives ranks F-Secure with an Advanced A+ rating. Virus Bulletin, similarly, puts the software in the top class. Because F-Secure doesn’t participate in ICSA or West Coast Labs testing we were unable to judge the software by these standards. The malware detection rate is good, and generally the system is effective at stopping known and as-yet unknown threats.
We think that the F-Secure system may be a little too sensitive, however. Some users have complained about the antivirus software generating false positives – identifying a file as suspicious and asking you to terminate it, when in reality it has no problems. This could result in a user choosing “allow” more times than is sensible due to frustration with the false alarms.
Scans & updates
We appreciate the simplicity in the F-Secure scanning system. Schedule specific scans if you need to or check a particular file, or just leave the antivirus running in the background. Because the system scans automatically you probably won’t need to have the software open most of the time.
If the system does throw up a problem, the icon in the taskbar tells you what you should do but you can override the decision if you choose to. You can set up the F-Secure system to clean the suspect files if it can, or automatically place them in quarantine. The automatic cleaning option may not be entirely useful as it often doesn’t take any action on the threat.
In testing the scan speeds weren’t lightning fast, but slightly better than average.
There’s not a lot to report in terms of extra features attached to the F-Secure AntiVirus. This is a basic package and while it offers solid antivirus protection it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of features.
Ease of use
We liked the clean, clear and visually interesting interface – the layout helps you navigate easily but the design isn’t boring. The main interface is split into three separate areas; tasks, status and statistics, which makes it easy to see at a glance how the system is working. You can also access more advanced and detailed settings from the main interface.
The statistics area is good for fast access to which programs have been blocked and how many items the software has dealt with. Some aspects of the software could use a little extra explanation, but in general the system was easy to understand.
Help & support
The F-Secure AntiVirus package comes with support options for users including a 24-7 phone line and a live email chat system. You can also browse the help articles online and look for the answers to your questions in the knowledgebase. Download the user manual for the F-Secure product if you need further detail.
F-Secure is a solid option, with good protection and good marks from independent testers. F-Secure is among the best, but not the best, out of the easy-to-use antivirus packages. We like the simple yet striking interface and the whole package gives good value.