ESET Smart Security 6 Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Antivirus
  • (10 more, see all...)

Smart Security 6 extends protection beyond the digital boundaries by integrating the Anti-Theft feature, which is designed to help you retrieve the stolen device running ESET’s suite.

The suite is available for $59.99/43.99€. Getting it on the system is not a difficult process, but it may take a while if you choose to deploy the live installer because it has to download the application files first. This should not take too long but it adds at least some 20 seconds to the installation time.

Before proceeding with the actual installation, there is some minimum pre-configuring to be made. This includes choosing if you want to be part of ESET’s Live Grid network, which implies sending statistical information anonymously to ESET’s labs. Furthermore, you can enable or disable the detection of potentially unwanted applications (PUPs).

Immediately after the completion of the installation process, you are prompted to configure the newly added Anti-Theft feature. All you have to do is link the current device to the online ESET account in order to be able to launch protection commands if the computer gets stolen.

Once you mark your device as missing through the online console (, the first command sent is to reboot the system. If you haven’t already taken this precaution when configuring Anti-Theft feature, a “Phantom Account” is created. Next, the computer boots automatically into this account.

From this step further, only the Phantom Account can be accessed, which not only protects access to private information (all access to storage locations is prohibited), but it can also track the activity on the computer by taking snapshots of the desktop.

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Additionally, if there is a built-in webcam, it’ll become active and snap pictures of whoever is in front of it. Location tracking is also part of the effort to retrieve the device and it is based on the Wi-Fi networks in range and ESET’s Wi-Fi map.

Even more, you can send messages to the finder of the device with instructions on returning it to the owner or with the contact details.

The interface of the suite has not changed much compared to the previous major version, as the developer did not adopt a tile-based layout suitable for touchscreen devices.

The same sections are available from the main screen, but a keen eye will notice that some of the old options have changed their place and that new ones are available.

Unlike other suites of the same feather, ESET Smart Security 6 maintains a traditional interface and offers configuration options for less seasoned users, as well as granular control for the more savvy.

Beginners can turn on and off various protection components, such as HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System), Anti-Stealth, firewall, web access protection, anti-phishing, antispam or parental control.

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On the other hand, advanced users have the possibility to customize every aspect of the suite, starting with the parameters for the file types that should be scanned or skipped to firewall rules, email client protection and integration to protocol filtering.

During our tests, we put ESET Smart Security 6 against a database of 22,619 threat samples. The suite managed to eliminate most of them (18,756), and achieve a detection and elimination score of 82.9%.

Protection against phishing attempts also scored pretty high during our tests, Smart Security blocking 15 out of 20 addresses. However, you don’t have to rely on ESET to fend off against this sort of scams since all major browsers today come with strong filtering against phishing.

Smart Security integrates into Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Live Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird. This ensures protection against infected messages and well as spam.

As far as the latter is concerned, the suite managed to avoid flagging valid email as spam. To achieve this, emails in the address book are automatically whitelisted, as well as the message recipients. All spam is marked in the email’s subject line and can be dumped to a user-defined folder.

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Parental controls have not evolved too much and the options available are still pretty limited compared to what security suites from other vendors provide. You get to select the age of the user and the program automatically selects the filtering level based on the five age-gates available (under 5, 8, 13, 16 and 18) each having a list of predefined categories.

There is the possibility to customize the categories in the advanced setup section, but limiting access to websites with specific content is all you can do. You cannot limit access to applications or the time spent on the computer.

Although the “Tools” section in ESET Smart Security comprises utilities that can be of real help for advanced users to hunt down threats, it contains monitors to check the activity of the file system, network or the running processes. Also, you can check the network connections.

ESET SysInspector is available in this section, too. It is a tool that inspects the computer thoroughly and displays details about installed drivers and applications, network connections or important registry entries. This is an advanced utility that can help you investigate suspicious system behavior, possibly caused by software or hardware incompatibility or even malware.

Creating a rescue disk with Smart Security has remained as complicated as ever for the average and beginner user because the routine still requires Windows AIK on the system.

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The Good

Anti-Theft feature is a nice addition to the suite and does a good job. Overall impact on system resources is within acceptable limits (we noted about 50% CPU and 100Mb of RAM used while scanning, on a Core 2 Duo system).

“Tools” section is a treasure trove for the advanced user since it features helpful utilities in determining malicious activity on the system.

The Bad

The suite has remained mostly the same as before, with a very short list of new features added. Parental controls aren’t more versatile than in the previous major release, and context menu options for scanning and cleaning are still a bit confusing.

The Truth

ESET Smart Security 6 includes an anti-theft component that could help you recover stolen or lost mobile computers. It showed good malware detection and cleaning capabilities, and despite the traditional looks, users of all types can work with it with no problem.

Note: We have 25 licenses to give away for ESET Smart Security 6. 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, February 24. 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.


Winners for this campaign:

· Adrian - #16

· Rakesh Ganesan - #317

· Grr - #102

· dimek - #151

· cypherinfo - #139

· Salman - #166

· Ger - #262

· Hemal P - #171

· Thomasina - #275

· AcaFaca - #184

· BlogWurm - #316

· Raluca - #188

· samit - #46

· Andi - #194

· Alex - #83

· wildheart - #137

· Yasirufy - #104

· catalinku - #97

· BoraMurdar - #101

· Edi - #299

· anouar - #295

· Mohammad Wasiullah - #59

· Adrian - #190

· Mosh - #284

We're waiting for the last winner to confirm the email address.

user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good