Finnish cybersecurity company F-Secure offers three clearly defined packages that include F-Secure Anti-Virus, F-Secure SAFE, and F-Secure Total, all with a 30-day free trial so you can experience them first-hand before making a final decision. You won’t even need to leave your credit card details, although an email address is necessary for download and it does involve a bit more work than what is required by most competitors.
F-Secure Anti-Virus will get you the essential antivirus protection which is a standard among the entry-level security packages. This protection is reserved for Windows PCs only and doesn’t even come with the usual monitoring and blocking of suspicious websites, which is a slight disappointment., although it is capable of detecting a link to a dangerous file before it launches.
One great extra is the capable ransomware protection tool that keeps untrusted apps from accessing the files in specific, user-defined folders.
Installing the package will require close to 500MB of your device’s hard drive storage and add six background processes. In this business, this can be considered an average resource usage and it will not impact your device’s performance in any noticeable way. It won’t even interfere with other installed security software.
The first thing you will notice is the slightly outdated but also very basic and simple interface with no bonus features or customisation tools, which will certainly appeal to the less experienced users. There are only two buttons - Virus Scan, which starts a very quick scan (lasting less than a minute), and Settings with only a few configuration options
Other scan options, which aren’t obviously present, include a full system scan and scheduled scan. You can find them if you tinker click around the main console for a bit. There aren’t any other scanning options, though, and you can’t create a custom scan. The only options you can change are whether you only want to scan known file types or inside compressed files as well. There’s also the option of scanning a specific file, folder, or drive, from the right-click menu. The parallel scans, however, seem to be impossible.
The price is low, so a one-year, single-device licence will cost you $36 or $40 if you go for the three-device licence in the same length.
You’ll get more with the mid-range F-Secure SAFE as it builds upon the basic package by throwing in the useful URL filtering capability, a basic set of parental controls, as well as the additional banking and anti-ransomware protection. This package also expands the coverage on more platforms - Mac, iOS, and Android. Unfortunately, there’s no spam filter, firewall, webcam protection, or a password manager to be seen.
On Android and Mac, you’ll get pretty much all the same features as with the Windows app, although the Android app has more mobile-oriented options like anti-theft measures and app privacy tool. As expected, the iOS app has fewer features, but it does offer parental controls, browsing protection with the use of SAFE’s browser, as well as link rating in search results.
The malicious website filtering feature is called Secure Browsing and it takes on a form of a browser extension combined with network-level threat-blocking capabilities. This feature allows the platform to show a colour-coded ‘reputation rating’ icon for every link in your search results and block known dangerous and suspicious websites, as well as those with ‘prohibited content’, that may depend on your parental control settings.
Protecting your financial details during online banking or other transactions is done in an unusual way. The platform will disconnect all untrusted applications from the Internet, preventing them from connecting until you leave the website. It will also block all untrusted websites until you finish your transaction. That said, the system failed to activate when we tested it on PayPal.
As for the Family Rules section, its features include website filtering by category and enforcing screen time and device restrictions on your kids’ device(s). There are also some anti-theft measures like locating missing Android and iOS devices and remote device locking and wiping if you think it’s been stolen.
You’ll be able to cover three devices with a one-year licence at the price of $70.
F-Secure Total basically takes F-Secure SAFE and expands it with unlimited use of the company’s Freedome VPN and KEY password manager. There aren’t any additional features, but simply the fact that you’re getting an unrestricted VPN service is enough to make this package worthwhile. Plus, it only costs $90 to have this comprehensive package for an entire year on three devices, or $110 on five.
Freedome VPN is an unlimited anonymity service that will add more privacy and security to your profile. It achieves this with the help of servers in 23 countries and features like tracker blocking and a kill switch that blocks your entire Internet access if the VPN connection is interrupted.
KEY does the core password managing job, without any flashing features except the usual - storing your login credentials, credit card details, and other sensitive information, syncing all of it across your devices. A free version is available for download, so you can test out all of this save for the password syncing detail.
F-Secure’s packages are basic and suitable for beginners, as they provide a clear dashboard, fast scans, and don’t clutter the interface with dozens of features. That said, some features are severely (and surprisingly) lacking, such as the URL filtering feature we didn’t see in the entry-level package, whereas many competitors have it. Regardless of this detail, all the packages are quite reasonably priced and you’ll be getting yourself solid protection if you decide to go with any of them.