The firewall included in ESET Smart Security Premium can automatically detect the network profile you assign in Windows, which is excellent. We like that this process is entirely automated, and ESET actively monitors if the network profile changes in Windows.
To evaluate the quality of the firewall module, we fired up two well-known network vulnerability scanners: Nmap and Nessus. We used both a private and a public network profile on our test computer. Nmap and Nessus failed to find any open ports or any breaches in the firewall on the public network profile. Nmap identified two open ports on the private network profile, but Nessus didn’t find any. The only accurate information that the two vulnerability scanners managed to identify in both tests was the MAC address of the network card found on our test laptop, but that is not critical security information.
The firewall offered by ESET Smart Security Premium is highly efficient and doesn’t leak useful information.
In terms of antimalware efficiency, we first checked how good ESET Smart Security Premium is at protecting you while browsing the web. It doesn’t install any web browser extensions, choosing to filter the entire web traffic instead. That means that you should be protected no matter what web browser you’re using. We used Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera in an attempt to visit some phishing websites and some known to distribute malicious content. ESET Smart Security Premium blocked our access to those dangerous websites each time we tried and in each web browser.
Next, we checked how ESET Smart Security Premium reacts to removable drives like USB memory sticks or portable hard drives. We took a portable SSD filled with malware samples and plugged it into our test laptop. ESET asked us what we wanted to do: we chose to scan the external drive, and the security suite immediately started to detect and disinfect the malware files on it. After a while, it was all clean.
We installed Windows 11 on our test laptop and placed a ton of dangerous malware and potentially unwanted apps on it. Then, we asked ESET Smart Security Premium to install itself and clean the infection. It immediately began identifying the viruses that were roaming free on our computer and, after a full computer scan, the PC was usable again. That is an excellent result, one that can be achieved only by a top-notch antivirus engine.
Another important feature in evaluating an antivirus engine’s performance is how fast it is when scanning for malware. Therefore, we measured the speed at which ESET Smart Security Premium examined our 476 GB SSD, with 75 GB files on it. It took around two minutes and thirty seconds, on average, which is fast. Last but not least, we also took a look at what other independent security organizations had to say about ESET:
- AV-Test tested ESET Internet Security 14.2 on Windows 10 Pro in October 2021 (we tested version 15.0 on Windows 11 Pro) and gave it their top verdict of 6.0 points out of 6 on all areas: protection, performance, and usability.
- AV-Comparatives also evaluated ESET Internet Security. In 2021, ESET received the Gold Award for False Positives, the Silver Award for Advanced Threat Protection, and the Bronze Award for Performance.
ESET Smart Security Premium includes an excellent antivirus engine that can protect you against any malware threat, online and offline. We are very satisfied with its performance and efficiency, and we are sure that you will be too.
ESET Smart Security Premium includes a few additional tools, some of which may be useful to you:
- Banking & Payment protection - it secures your financial transactions online. It works by opening a web browser window in a protected mode. It works with Microsoft Edge version 83 and above, Google Chrome version 64 and above, Mozilla Firefox version 24 and above, and the old Internet Explorer version 8 and above. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Opera as well.
- Parental control - lets you block your children’s access to inappropriate websites. If you do not want to control your children’s activity in detail, but you’d like some essential protection against inappropriate websites, this tool can be what you need.
- Anti-theft - uses your ESET account to do things like track and locate your stolen devices or keep a watch on thieves using the webcam from your Windows computer or device.
- Password Manager - protects and stores your passwords and personal data. It can also auto-complete forms, so it can help you save precious time.
- Secure Data - lets you create encrypted virtual drives on your computer or encrypt entire USB drives to store your valuable files inside. It can be handy when working with essential documents.
- ESET SysRescue Live - use it to create recovery media and clean computers so severely infected with malware, that they can no longer boot correctly.
- Running processes - gives you details about the processes running on your computer, including reputation information powered by ESET LiveGrid.
- Network Inspector - displays a visual representation of your local network and the devices connected to it. It can also scan the local network for vulnerabilities by simulating attacks. It is a valuable tool if you want to know what changes you have to make to secure your home network.
ESET Smart Security Premium bundles useful tools and can add value to the product. The only significant thing missing here is a VPN service to protect users while connected to public, unsecured WiFi networks.
Although ESET Smart Security Premium is well configured, there are a few things you might want to consider adjusting:
- Change how Real-Time & Machine Learning Protection works. By default, Reporting and Protection against malware threats, potentially unwanted, suspicious, and unsafe applications are configured to work on Balanced levels. Still, if you want your antivirus to be uncompromising, change the levels to Aggressive. To have ESET behave in a more permissive manner, set these features to Cautious. You can find all these switches in “Setup > Advanced setup > Detection Engine > Real-Time & Machine Learning Protection.”
- Enable “Idle-state scanning,” so that ESET automatically scans your computer when it is not doing anything else. You can find this option in “Setup > Advanced setup > Detection Engine > Malware scans > Idle-state scan > Enable Idle-state scanning.”
- Enable or disable some of the notifications or alert sounds issued. For example, maybe you want it to be noisier, or you would prefer it more silent. Either way, you can change its behavior in “Setup > Advanced setup > User interface.”
- Although ESET recommends scheduling a monthly computer antivirus scan, it is not configured by default to run it. To get better security, you should schedule such an antivirus scan. You can do it in “Tools > More Tools > Scheduler.”
Although ESET Smart Security Premium is a well-configured security suite in general, there are a few things that you might want to change.
As you probably can tell from our review, we have an excellent opinion about ESET Smart Security Premium. However, before leaving and closing this review, we would love to read your thoughts about this security solution too. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.