ESET NOD32 Antivirus 7 Beta – Review

key review info
application features
  • Antivirus / Antispyware
  • (5 more, see all...)

The public release for version 7 of ESET’s NOD32 Antivirus has been released this week, and the company announced significant core-technology improvements.

There aren’t any changes in this release as far as the interface design is concerned, but some of the menus have been reduced in terms of options, although their functionality and usability remained unaltered.

Users familiar with the installation process of the application will notice that the number of steps required to complete the procedure has been shortened. In version 7, the only necessary stops are to enable the connection to ESET Live Grid and the detection of potentially unwanted applications (PUA).

On the other hand, the longer, advanced installation mode is still available, as an advanced setup.

We noticed that the entire process has to be further refined, though; in our case the actual start of the installation was delayed significantly by routine checks such as computing the space requirements.

Live Grid is ESET’s cloud service for signaling new threats based on file reputation gathered from users. Information is streamed in real time from the online resource.

The “Setup” menu grew slimmer, and in NOD32 Antivirus 7 there is no longer the possibility to enable or disable document protection and removable media protection. However, the former can be turned on from the advanced configuration panel.

In the latter’ case, the developer replaced it with “Device control” option (enabled by default), available in the configuration screen for real-time system protection.

“Device control” is part of the improvements for the antivirus component of the application and it is designed as a more advanced and flexible form of control over external devices connected to the system; this includes not only USB storage devices, FireWire devices, USB printers and CD/DVD/Blu-ray but also gadgets connected through Bluetooth and LPT/COM ports, card readers and modems.

The component relies on certain parameters to identify a specific gadget and lock access to it or enable only the read-only attribute. Additional details to recognize a certain device include name of the vendor, model and serial number.

The context menu for scanning with ESET’s product has been improved as it no longer offers to simply scan the item as the most prominent option; instead, it offers to remove any malware it encounters. Scanning without cleaning is now available in the advanced options, together with quarantining and submitting the file for analysis.

Another change is the setup simplification and the location for the gamer mode in the advanced options. The product can now enable this behavior automatically when it detects applications running in full screen. This way it can be always on.

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HIPS (Host-based Intrusion Prevention System) has also been improved, with the addition of the Advanced Memory Scanner component. Its purpose is to intelligently check running applications for suspicious or malware-like behavior. The verification is completed in the memory, which enables the capture of encrypted threats.

The tool is configured to verify only the modifications in the target file and alert HIPS to block the suspicious activity and initiate the cleaning procedure. NOD32 has it enabled by default.

In order to strengthen the malware cleaning rate the developer packed into the product popular cleaning utilities, previously available as standalone malware removal tools. These are applications that contain cleaning routines for specific cyber-threats resilient to normal removal methods.

NOD32’s anti-phishing shield now includes blocking of websites of dubious reputation, which include scam sites; furthermore, users get to be involved in further refining the detection by submitting suspicious URLs to be analyzed by ESET’s labs and even false positives in order to get them unlocked.

The malware detection and elimination rate achieved by the product during our brief testing with an older database of malware samples was of 85%. It took some time to go through all the threat samples but NOD32 managed to do it without rendering the computer inaccessible.

Our preliminary tests for this beta version showed that the application maintained the low resource requirements its popularity relied on. During a malware scanning procedure, it increased the amount of RAM required for the operation to almost 200MB and the CPU level to about 50%.

It might sound like a lot, but we tried it on a lower-specced machine (a Core 2 Duo system) and considering that hardware is more powerful these days these values should not create any problems.

The developer announced that this version no longer has compatibility issues with Windows 8 when running SysRescue utility to create a bootable disk containing the security solution.

Unfortunately, creating continues to be a pretty difficult endeavor for the beginner user because it works in Windows PE and Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) or Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) need to be installed.

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The Good

ESET delivers the same familiar-looking product with a significant set of improvements under the hood.

The Bad

The product is currently in beta, hence a work in progress.

The Truth

Aesthetically, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 7 is not too different from the previous release, but the developer managed to increase overall usability and added significant improvements as far as protection features are concerned.

NOTE: Since this is not the final version of the application, our rating remains set to the default 3 stars.

We have 30 licenses to give away for ESET NOD32 Antivirus. In order to win one of them, you are expected to come up with a smart post, positive or negative, about the application in the comments section below.

The campaign ends Sunday, June 16 Tuesday, June 18. Winners will be notified by the end of the next week; needless to say that we need valid email addresses in order to contact you.


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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3

final rating 3
Editor's review