ESET Antivirus: Is ESET any Good?
In the framework of our ESET review, we’ve covered the main features of this antivirus software, its advantages, and its disadvantages. We should say that ESET antivirus is one of the oldest and most recognized antivirus products in the market.
Many experts describe ESET products as “good but not great.” Yes, in some parameters, it lags behind its major rivals. However, ESET has good potential, and for most people with basic security requirements, it can become a great option.
ESET is a reliable, medium-impact antivirus solution against all types of malware. It’s also effective against zero-day attacks as it implements cloud-based scanning and the latest achievements in machine learning.
And while some of the extra features aren’t that useful, most of them are very efficient and worth the price. Thanks to the affordable price-tag, and market-leading scanning and diagnosis features, ESET is a safe bet as an all-inclusive type of antivirus.
It will be an equally good investment for users looking to get strong protection for desktop or mobile devices. With six packages to choose from and different subscription options, the company offers a customizable security solution for a modern-day user.
As a result, ESET is one of few antivirus software suppliers, providing inexpensive and, at the same time, strong products that are incredibly easy to use. Its award-winning solutions are on par with the software of industry’s recognized leaders. However, it still has some downsides that don’t let it make a leap forward and outstrip its rivals. Read our ESET antivirus review for details.
The List of Pros and Cons
When it comes to a comprehensive, unbiased estimation of ESET software, there’s no denying that it has numerous advantages.
- A very simple interface even for beginners
- Its basic option is a good value for money
- A high level of online protection and
- A free tool for a fast social media scanning
- A real-time scanning and few false alarms
- Options for Mac, Linux, and Android available
- Limited free antivirus program
- The range of extra tools is limited
- Sometimes it slows down a PC
- A pack for multiple devices is unreasonably expensive
- Malware detection is not flawless
Highlights of Eset
- Compatibility with all Windows versions – Vista through Windows10
- A special package for Mac, Linux, and Android available
- High-quality protection from malware, viruses, spyware, and ransomware
- A built-in e-mail scanning feature
- An automatic real-time scanning
- Phishing protection
- An AMSI protection module for quick detection of unwanted JS code
- A medium system impact
- Availability of premium packages for advanced protection
Features of Eset
- Active Internet users, due to automatic social media and e-mails scanning along with protection from fraudulent/malicious/phishing sites
- Gamers, thanks to the gaming mode, will get fewer notifications and interruptions from the system
- People in search of a single affordable antivirus solution for multiple platforms.
Reliability and Security
To make sure ESET can protect against outside threats in 2020, we ran a series of in-house tests. Next, we compared them to the results of the leading third-party testers like AV-Test, SE-Labs, MRG-Effitas, and AV-Comparatives. Overall, our verdicts match: this is a very reliable antivirus program with good or near-perfect results in the toughest tests.
The ESET’s engine that detects malicious software has three levels of protection. The first step is to check if a file is registered as a virus in a database. Then, antivirus checks the code looking for suspicious parts and monitors the behavior of the file. It helps the system to detect and record the details if the inspected software is malicious.
If the file is recognized as merely potentially threatful, the system sends it to ESET’s LiveGrid cloud lab so that specialists can sift through it. In case the software is an unknown virus, the lab records and includes it in the next update of the database.
Such a system may be a reason why a well-known AV-TEST lab awarded ESET with TOP Product label. For example, in August 2020, it managed to detect 100% of brand-new (zero-day) threats; the same applies to identifying known types of viruses.
Another independent auditor – AV-Comparatives – registered lower results. However, ESET indicated only 2 false alarms and showed excellent results in Online detection and Malware protection, getting awarded with the ADVANCED+ rating. It proves its high effectiveness in threats detection.
In the end, testing labs share one thought – this antivirus is neither the best nor the worst. It stands somewhere in the middle of the range with a powerful malware scanning option. Although, we should note that all labs test ESET in its default specification, while you can get advanced features in various packages. Webcam protection, online payment protection, improved protection of the home network, a personal firewall, and some others would add an extra layer of security.
Lastly, there is room for criticism. Offering valuable features like anti-theft, ESET lacks some necessary functionality. For example, many competitors add a VPN and some backup software in premium packages, but ESET doesn’t. Its parental control allows to block specific categories of sites, but there is no age filter. With an encryption tool provided with the Smart Security Premium package, you can encrypt files with AES 256-bit key, but there is no file shredder.
However, ESET still isn’t on par with the market-leader like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Avira. To see the difference, let’s take a closer look at our Malware, Ransomware, and Phishing tests.
As always, we planted a number of malicious samples to check ESET’s performance. At the end of the test, it proved to be incredibly useful. The software detected and eliminated 93% of the malicious code, which puts it right next to Kaspersky and Norton – the leaders in this field. Still, some of the planted samples were able to “sneak” past the antivirus and self-install.
Next, I launched a bunch of malware-rich URLs from my own collection and the MRG-Effitas line-up. ESET blocked 95% of the URL level threats and didn’t let them cause any harm. And that’s an excellent result. Interestingly, Bitdefender and Norton did better, while ESET caused less false alarms. It means the security solution is unlikely to impede your operation.
ESET’s HIPS module (it reads “Host-Intruder Prevention System”) was specifically designed to block ransomware attacks. And, it has proven to be very effective against these types of threats. Our team used a large number of test rootkit and ransomware sample files, and ESET eliminated every single one before they even had a chance to encrypt any files.
It’s also worth mentioning that almost no false positives were detected, which is relatively rare among anti-ransomware modules that are these aggressive.
Anti-phishing protection is another big ESET pro. Compared to McAfee and Kaspersky – the leaders in this regard – it holds its own. During our extensive review slash test, it managed to detect almost every single fraudulent URL, including brand-new websites that weren’t yet included in any databases. Anti-phishing protection is available with every single ESET package, including the entry-level NOD32.
As we already said in this review, ESET has one of the most advanced scanning modules. It combines the traditional database approach with machine learning, heuristics, and cloud-based technology to battle emerging threats. With this software, you have three different scanning types at your disposal:
- System Scan. This is the regular scan type. It runs through every single file, folder, app, running process, files in the cache, and more. The initial scans may take a while (up to one-two hours or more), but consecutive checks will require a lot less time to complete.
- Custom Scans. As the name suggests, custom scans allow you to hand-pick which files/folders should be checked by ESET’s anti-malware engine. You can either use the drag-and-drop technique or right-click on whatever needs checking and select a custom scan.
- Removable Device Scans. These scans were precisely developed to be effective against malware that hides inside of external drives. Those include flash drives, external HDDs, thumb drives, and more.
Also, there is a separate scanner, Eset Online Scanner, which can be downloaded within a 30 days free trial. Its capacity reflects the scanning tool within the available packages. The excellent news is that our test showed that it is as good and is pretty easy to manage.
ESET System Impact
ESET isn’t the least demanding antivirus programs on the market. ESET slows down a computer a bit more than some other antiviruses. But, compared to most rivals, the system impact is moderate. While working in the background, ESET doesn’t require any CPU resources to keep your device protected. The effect on the RAM is relatively low as well: +/- 250MB. According to the official system requirements, ESET can run on a single-core Intel or AMD processor, 256MB of RAM, and 700MB of hard-drive space.
Regarding performance, the first scan took 31 min 13 sec – the software checked 236,710 files. It is a quite good speed. The third scan took only 9:14 since the antivirus learned which data it could ignore. However, the software requires a lot more computing power when running a scan. To minimize that, you can use the available Gaming mode: it lowers the impact even further.
Ease of Use
The market is saturated with different antivirus software, so it is not very easy to pick up the best antivirus for your needs. So we should say that a certain advantage of ESET is the ease of use. As soon as you purchase the needed version of ESET, you can download and install it on your PC. It seems that its classic white and blue color scheme hasn’t changed in years and still pleasnat for an eye.
The installation and setup process takes almost no effort and time. The installation is smoooth and may as you to turn off the exsiting antivirus solution to mitigate conflcits between the software. The online installer is intuitive, so it’s almost impossible to make a mistake. So you will have no struggle with this step. The same applies to its fucntions. It is pretty convenient to pick teh necessary protection option.
The interface has a clean, bright look and greets users with ESET’s robot mascot and “You are protected” sign. All six categories are placed on the left, and you can start a Computer scan by just clicking on the matching category. Just pick what you would like to scan – memory, boot sector, external or internal drive – and you are set to go.
The Update section will tell you about the current versions of databases and scanning engines. Under Tools, you will find all ESET’s tools – simple and easy to use. Here in the right lower corner, you can see the More Tools button that looks like a link. It is simple to overlook. But you should check additional features.
Eset Package Features and Pricing
*Please mind that Windows packages for multiple devices come with a discount, while Mac and Android packages – don’t and that makes them more expensive.
With ESET, you have a choice between six different packages. They appeal to a wide range of customers and are competitively priced. Notably, ESET covers Win, Mac, Linux, and Android users. Sadly, full-fledged support of iOS isn’t available yet. NOD32 is the entry-level plan providing essential protection, with Advanced Protection and Ultimate Protection being the higher tiers with extra features.
If you’re a Mac user, go with Cyber Security and Cyber Security Pro. Finally, there’s Mobile Security: it will protect Smartphones, tablets, and any other mobile devices running on the Android OS. The following list includes every single ESET tier with detailed reviews.
There are three versions of ESET antivirus available for Windows devices. Technically, They use the same modules for fighting malware, but the set of features included is different.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
ESET NOD32, the entry-level ESET package, is quite generous and includes all the necessary features to be effective in 2020. It covers up to five desktop devices and will be money well spent if you don’t need protection for a mobile gadget:
- Anti-malware protection (keeps traditional malicious attacks at bay)
- Anti-ransomware module (stops ransomware from encrypting sensitive data and demanding a ransom in Bitcoins)
- Anti-phishing protection (helps the user to stay away from phishing websites that steal credentials and/or banking accounts)
- Anti-spyware module (proactive security against spying software that plants itself deep into the system)
- Gaming mode (keeps the overall system impact to a minimum; no pop-ups while you’re playing)
- Machine Learning (protects against emerging threats)
- UEFI Scanner (pre-system launch attacks can be quite dangerous. This module detects them)
- Cloud Scanning (uses the whitelisting approach to reduce the scanning time)
- Covers up to three devices (desktop computers only – no mobile gadgets)
- Compatible with Win, Mac, and Linux
ESET Internet Security
On top of the basic feature set, this pack offers a personal firewall and a range of specific tools for stronger online protection. According to the ESET development team, this is their most popular product. With Internet Security, you can protect up to ten devices at once, including Smartphones and tablets.
Here’s what you’ll get with it:
- Protection for desktop and mobile devices (Android-run)
- Strong firewall protection (keeps network-based attacks from penetrating system defenses)
- Network Attack protection (an extra layer of defense against malware that aims at vulnerabilities in the network)
- Anti-spam (keeps your mailbox clean from spam and harmful attachments)
- Banking protection (automatically launches a secure browser when you do online shopping/banking)
- Anti-botnet module (protection against one of the most dangerous types of attacks)
- Parental controls (allow you to set time limits and protect your children from explicit websites)
- Webcam protection (prevents suspicious apps from taking control over your camera)
- Connected Home (protection for the router)
- Anti-Theft (tracks a lost phone/tablet and helps you retrieve it before it’s too late)
ESET Smart Security Premium
Note though, that the set of features available for platforms other than Windows will be different and will correspond to the top tier ESET offer for the respective device. To make it clear, let us switch to ESET packages for Mac and Android.
Owners of multiple devices that need the most advanced protection might want to upgrade to Security Premium. Under it, you can have your Mac and Android devices covered. As mention, this is ESET’s most feature-packed package with a couple of extras:
- Password Manager (self-explanatory: comes up with hard-to-crack passwords, manages, and stores them in a secure place)
- Secure Data (encryption for the essential files. Can also encrypt USB keys – for the operating system, for example)
That’s pretty much it for the Security Premium extras. So, make sure that you do, indeed, need the password manager and data encrypter before you commit to the most expensive ESET plan.
Be aware, with ESET Smart Security Premium multiple devices license, you can use, say, one license on Windows PC enjoying all the advanced features the package offers, one license on Mac with ESET Cyber Security Pro features and two on Android devices having all the benefits the premium ESET Mobile package brings. And, it will cost you less than buying separate licenses for every device.
ESET Cyber Security
This is a Mac-exclusive package with an affordable price and a decent set of features. In many ways, Cyber Security is similar to the Windows-oriented NOD32 package. Here’s what you can expect to get with it:
- Protection against malware attacks
- Anti-ransomware module
True, the list of available features isn’t imposing, but since Macs are a lot more secure than the Windows OS, Cyber Security is actually quite strong against outside threats. If you want more security features for Mac and broader coverage, upgrade to the higher tier – Cyber Security Pro.
ESET Cyber Security Pro
MacOS users in the market for protection against network attacks, parental controls, and phishing attacks might want to pay a top dollar for CS Pro. It’s a trendy package in 2020, as it provides a solid list of tools and modules for staying secure and keeping your data safe. Cyber Security Pro includes all the features from the standard edition and adds a couple of extras. Take a look at what it has to offer:
- Advanced personal firewall
- Anti-phishing protection
- Parental controls
ESET Mobile Security
As the name suggests, this next ESET package is oriented at mobile devices. And while iOS isn’t supported yet, the ESET Mobile Security package is intended for Android-running devices. Android users will find this antivirus solution to be a worthy investment. The list of mobile-oriented features is rather significant:
- Real-time scanning (same as in the other packages)
- USB Scanner (quickly scans any USB drive you connect to your phone)
- App lock (prevents the thieves from accessing the most critical apps on a stolen device)
- Anti-theft (a proactive module that locates a stolen device)
- Payment protection (an extra layer of security when you bank online)
- Low-battery alert
- Connected Home
The basic antivirus for Android is available for free, and it comes with a reliable scanner as well as some convenient features, such as a remote lock, GPS Localization, and a remote siren.In contrast, premium version adds up a bunch of useful features such as call filter, low battery alert, camera snapshots, location tracking, in addition to those mentioned above.
Taking into account more than 30 years of the company’s history, one can easily assume that the ESET community is just huge. However, to many customers’ surprise, ESET doesn’t offer 24/7 phone support. Instead, they have a good FAQ question. We had troubles with running the installation file, but quickly found the solution within their forum. Still, if you haven’t found an answer in it, you can call them from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days. Use the following numbers:
- (+1) 619 630-2400
- (1) 844 824-3738
Also, e-mail support is available.
ESET Alternatives & Competitors
Looking for good alternatives to ESET Antivirus? We can help you: