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, and neither Nmap nor Nessus managed to find any open ports on our test PC. 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 very efficient and doesn’t leak any information that is useful to hackers.
First, we verified how good ESET Smart Security Premium is at protecting you while browsing the web. This security suite does not install any web browser extensions, filtering all the 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, Opera, and Internet Explorer, and tried to visit a series of phishing websites and some known to distribute malicious content. Fortunately, 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. We took a USB memory stick filled with malware samples and plugged it into our test laptop. ESET asked us what we wanted to do: we chose to scan the memory stick. It cleaned all the malware files on it after a short while, which is an excellent outcome.
We installed Windows 10 on our test system and executed several dangerous viruses, including some nasty ransomware. Next, we asked ESET Smart Security Premium to install itself on our computer 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 256 GB SSD, with 37 GB files on it. It took around two minutes, 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 and gave it their top verdict of 6.0 points out of 6 for protection and usability. For performance, ESET received a score of 5.5 points out of 6.
- AV-Comparatives also evaluated ESET Internet Security. In 2020, they gave it the maximum rating of Advanced+ for both Malware Protection, Performance, and Real-World Protection.
- Virus Bulletin rated ESET Internet Security with their VB100 Passed verdict and measured a WildList detection of 100%, a false positive rate of 0%, and a Diversity test rate of 100%.
ESET Smart Security Premium offers an excellent antivirus engine that can protect you against any malware threat, both online and offline. We are pleased 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. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to open a specific web browser when you have more than one installed. It works with your default web browser, but only if that is Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer. If you use Opera or any other web browser except the ones we mentioned, ESET Smart Security Premium launches Internet Explorer.
- 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 full USB drives to store your valuable files inside. It can be handy when working with important documents.
- ESET SysRescue Live – use it to create recovery media and clean computers that are 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.
- Connected Home Monitor – 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 useful 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. 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.
If you read our review, you know that we have a favorable opinion about ESET Smart Security Premium. Before leaving and closing this review, we would love to read your opinion about this security solution. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.