Internet Security Shootout
ESET Smart Security 4 (ESET SS4) is presented in a fairly large box and it has very clear information on what is offered. The package contents consisted of the installation media CD-ROM and a Quick Start Guide. It will cost you SG$60 for a single user 1 year subscription. At SG$60/Year you are paying $5/Month for Internet Security protection.
ESET is not well known in Singapore and it wasn’t until a Hong Kong distributor setup an office in Singapore that they started to stand out in the crowd showing up at the local computer shows. You would have seen them marketing their ESET NOD32 anti-virus product. ESET Smart Security 4 is basically their integrated all-in-one program.
Installing ESET SS4 was stumbled by a hiccup – Installation was not successful on first run. The Technical Support executive gave good support over the phone to ensure installation is a breeze.
The installation did not appear to take up a lot of space.
ESET SS4 is laden with features perhaps too many but ESET has done a good job of shielding the novice users from all of the techno-jargon and truly overwhelming feature settings. They accomplished this by creating two operating modes – Standard and Advanced.
The standard feature mode (default) is a very simply user interface (UI) with 5 icons running down the left-hand side. The 5 feature icons is really all a user, that doesn’t want all the complexity, needs to feel operate and feel secure.
Beneath the simple UI there is a complexity of features – antivirus, antispyware, antispam, automated firewall rules, web filtering and more.
I like their Threatsense.net engine. This feature allows SS4 to submit detected and suspicious files directly back to ESET to further the analysis and early development for detection of threats in the wild.
Scanning with ESET SS4 was straightforward but it appeared to not have any intelligence in scanning. What I mean is there was no obvious difference in scanning (Full Scan) and a second scan. This may be in part due to the constant updates (almost daily) of the signature database file. The full scan makes sense upon updating but it means complete scans could take a chunk of time given the the increased capacities of available hard drive storage.
ESET SS4 took 2 hours, 32 minutes and 43 seconds to scan 969,953 files across three hard drive partitions. No threats were detected on the system. Note this is the same system used for the other two security products in this comparison.
ESET SS4 is supported locally by Version 2 and is offered as Free Technical Support with a hotline number and email address.
It was a little disappointing to find that the SysRescue CD is not included and you have to build and burn it yourself. Not exactly something you’d do immediately and then you’d most likely forget or not have the expertise to do it yourself. It would have been nice to automatically have the bootable rescue media as part of the installation CD media.
Finally, if you look at ESET’s track record from Virus Bulletin you’ll notice they have the highest amount of VB100 awards – 59 success, 3 failure, 5 no entry (as of Dec 2009). Kudos to them for keeping up a great defense against the viral threats.