A lot has changed since I reviewed version 4 of ESET’s security suite in early 2009. However, there aren’t a lot of differences to note in ESET Smart Security 5 ($59.99, direct; $79.99 for three licenses). It does include a kind of parental control now, but its antivirus didn’t do nearly as well at protecting a test system from attack by my current collection of threats.
In version 4, ESET offered a simple interface and an advanced interface, as well as a very complex advanced setup. Version 5 has removed the advanced interface and tamed the advanced setup, to a degree. Most users will only need to open advanced setup on advice from tech support.
ESET Smart Security 5 View SlideshowSee all (16) slides
ESET Smart Security 5 Specifications
- OS Compatibility
- Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
- ESET Smart Security 5 Tech Support
- Knowledge base; free phone and email support.
ESET Smart Security 5 Uneven Antivirus
The suite’s core antivirus protection is exactly the same as that provided by ESET’s standalone antivirus. I’ll summarize my findings here; for full details please read my review of ESET NOD32 Antivirus 5 ($39.99 direct, 3 stars).
Some problems installing and scanning with the product were solved by running a full scan in Safe Mode. However, one persistent threat triggered a request to reboot for full cleanup over and over, endlessly. Tech support only managed to fix this problem by using a third-party cleanup tool.
Overall ESET detected 88 percent of the threats and scored 6.5 points for malware removal, the same as AVG Internet Security 2012 ($68.99 direct for three licenses, 3 stars). It detected all of the scareware and rootkit threats and scored 9.5 for scareware removal and 6.7 for rootkit removal. Norton Internet Security 2012 ($69.99 direct for three licenses, 4.5 stars) scored a perfect 10 for scareware removal and an impressive 8.9 points for rootkit removal.
For an explanation of where the score numbers come from, please read How We Test Malware Removal.
ESET Smart Security 5 malware removal chart
ESET turned in a poor performance in my malware blocking test. One identified threat managed to install and run despite repeated attempts by ESET to stop it. Its overall score for malware blocking and its breakout scores specifically for rootkit blocking and scareware blocking were all either the worst or second-worst among suites tested with my current malware collection. For an explanation of how I derive these scores, see How We Test Malware Blocking.
ESET Smart Security 5 malware blocking chart
ESET Smart Security 5 technology rates better with the independent antivirus labs, especially those that use static tests of its ability to recognize thousands of inactive viruses and other malicious files. All of the labs I follow do test it, and its results overall are good. For an explanation of how I interpret the different types of tests, see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests.