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ESET - Legendary Cybersecurity Technology 

Fast, Light and ivisible, ESET INTERNET SECURITY protects everything you treasure on your PC

Bratislava-based ESET was founded by a group of friends some 30 years ago to market their NOD antivirus software. These days it has a broad portfolio of products covering all the major platforms, and is used by 110 million customers all around the world. ESET NOD32 Antivirus is the company's baseline product. It's far more focused on the core antivirus task than some of the competition – there's no file shredder, password manager or other bonus extras – but that doesn't mean the package is short on features. If anything, it has more than most. There's real-time malware protection, of course. A cloud-based file reputation service helps you quickly detect the latest malware, while an antiphishing module detects and blocks scam websites.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus at Letstango

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A Device Control module limits the risk of infection from other devices by controlling access to USB sticks, external hard drives, optical storage media, even devices connecting by Bluetooth and FireWire.

Recent improvements include an advanced machine learning layer to improve detection of zero threats, a smarter anti-phishing system, and enhanced behavior monitoring by the Host Intrusion Prevention System.

If all this power somehow isn't enough, you're able to adjust how the package works with the help of more than 150 profile settings. ESET NOD32 for a one PC, one-year license, fairly typical for a premium package (Bitdefender's Antivirus Plus costs the same.) If you've several systems to protect, steep discounting makes ESET look much better value. If you're looking for that kind of multi-system license, though, also consider ESET Internet Security. It adds many security suite features – a firewall, antispam, parental controls, webcam protection, more – but is only fractionally more expensive, with its five computer.

Setup

ESET NOD32 is available in a 30-day free trial. We had to provide our email address to activate it, but otherwise the installation ran smoothly, downloading and installing the main ESET NOD32 package, automatically updating itself and running an initial scan. Checking the installed files revealed no great surprises. They were well-organized and digitally signed, grabbed a reasonable 450MB of hard drive space, and the core of the package added only a couple of processes to our test system, and used a bare minimum of resources. If you're the type who likes to fine-tune your security, you might like to spend some time browsing ESET NOD32's settings, which give you a huge number of tweaks and options.

Another antivirus might allow you to turn email scanning on or off, for instance. ESET allows you to choose which email clients to integrate, which emails to scan (received, sent), which protocols to monitor, what to do when a threat is detected (ignore it, delete it, move it to your choice of folder), and more, almost 40 settings in total. Even if that sounds like the kind of low-level geekiness you'll never use, don't ignore it entirely. If an odd bug or conflict is causing a major ESET NOD32 issue on your system, having the ability to apply system tweaks like this could be key in troubleshooting or even fixing the problem.

Features

ESET NOD32's interface works much like many other antivirus apps: there's information on your current security status, a button to launch a full system scan, and a sidebar which enables browsing the program's other features and tools. Scan types are limited to Full, Removable Devices and Custom (which checks your choice of files, folders or drives.) There's no standard 'Quick Scan', but as ESET NOD32 only checks new or modified files after its first run, the regular system scan is generally very fast. An in-depth Settings dialog offers a vast amount of control over how scans and real-time protection works, and allows you to enable and play with additional features. For example, it's not turned on by default, but with a click or two you can enable scanning when your computer is idle, for example when the screen powers down or your screen saver kicks in.

This flexibility continues almost everywhere you look. Right-click a file in Explorer and ESET NOD32, like everyone else, gives you the option to scan it for danger. But you can also check the file reputation to find out more about it; scan the file without cleaning it, just to get an immediate verdict; or manually quarantine a file even if it's not been flagged as malware, a very useful way to safely archive a file you're concerned about. The results from these scans were variable. The reputation scan, in particular, regularly suggested that entirely safe executables from completely legitimate developers were 'risky.' But it did also give us some useful information, such as when ESET first saw the file, and overall we're glad it's included with the package.

URL filtering detected only an average number of malicious URLs, as we've seen in previous reviews, but at least it didn't raise any false alarms. A Device Control feature enables defining what happens when users connect a host of device types to the system: external storage, a USB printer, Bluetooth device, scanner, smart card reader, modems and more. Options include making devices read-only, displaying a warning to users or blocking them entirely. Rules can apply to all or specific devices (‘block all USB storage apart from x, y, z’), some or all user accounts, and the system logs all device connections for review later. This is a very powerful system, but it's not easy to set up. There's no simple library of prebuilt rules, and no user-friendly visual rule creator. Instead you're mostly choosing technical options from lists and hoping you understand them correctly (check the Help page on the feature). It's very much an experts-only feature.

There's better news with the Tools menu. Here, you can view logs, see what the program has blocked, watch running processes, download ESET's bootable SysRescue cleaning tool, and more. ESET SysInspector is a highlight, an excellent tool which takes a snapshot of your system and highlights interesting items: running processes, network connections, critical files (HOSTS), important Registry entries and more. It's not for beginners, but if you've used tools like Sysinternals' Process Explorer you'll soon feel at home. Overall, ESET NOD32 has more features than you might expect for a pure antivirus app. Beginners can ignore the more advanced options and allow the program to do its work, but the real value here is for experts, who'll appreciate the Device Control module and ESET's extreme configurability.

Protection

ESET proved accurate in our quick malware detection tests, but to get a full picture of its effectiveness we also checked ESET's ratings with the major testing labs. AV Comparatives' Real-World Protection tests haven't been good to ESET in 2019. ESET Internet Security rated 15th out of 16 in the February-May summary report with a protection rate of 98.4%, while the July-October report saw another 98.4% result leave it in last place. To put that in perspective, Windows Defender outperformed ESET in both tests, with protection rates of 99.6% and 99.3%.

SE Labs Home Anti-Malware Protection report for July-September 2019 gave some brighter news, seeeing ESET Internet Security reach 7th place out of 15 contenders. Kaspersky, Sophos, Symantec and others did better, but SE Labs still rated ESET higher than Avast, Avira and Trend Micro. We normally test antivirus packages against our own custom ransomware simulator, enabling us to get a feel for its behavior monitoring. That turned out not to be possible this time, though for a very good reason: even though ESET hadn't seen the file before, its scanning engine picked it up as a threat before it could execute. These results give a very mixed picture of ESET's abilities. It's clearly far from the most accurate of engines, but we're not sure that AV Comparatives' bottom-of-the-pile results are entirely fair, either. Labs understandably test antivirus packages with the default settings, but if you're able and willing to set up ESET's more advanced features – like the powerful Device Control – then there's scope to improve your security in many ways.

It's also important that an antivirus won't slow you down, and in this case, we've good news. PassMark's Security Products Performance Benchmarks 2020 report assesses the performance impact of 10 security packages by using 23 key metrics. ESET trampled over most of the competition to reach second place, just behind Norton Security, with even the supposedly lightweight Windows Defender trailing way back in 9th place. The exact results you'll see will depend on your hardware and how you use it, but in general we think ESET NOD32 Antivirus should have minimal performance impact on most systems.

Wholesale purchases: Contact ASBIS specialists regarding ESET 

 Mr. Mohammed Riyaz Pasha, Ph: +971 4 8863850, Email: riyaz.pasha@asbisme.ae

Address: Jebel Ali South Zone 1, Dubai, UAE.