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F-Secure Anti-Virus Review

Impressive antivirus performance from a highly focused piece of software.

(Image: © F-Secure)

Our Verdict

Even though there aren’t any extra features, F-Secure Anti-Virus works perfectly well as a dedicated antivirus program. Easy to use, relatively cheap, and gentle on your system, it’s the perfect entry point to the world of antivirus software.

Pros

  • Beautiful, simple interface
  • Very reasonable price
  • Low system impact
  • Impressive antivirus performance

Cons

  • No extra security features
  • Somewhat awkward free trial process
  • Only one-year licenses available

Introduction

Created by Finnish security company F-Secure Corporation, F-Secure Anti-Virus is the product of 25 years of experience with antivirus software. As one of the most reasonably priced antivirus packages on the market, it does what it says it’s going to do, without any extra features.

This makes it a great choice for anybody who needs a straightforward antivirus program but doesn’t need password management and other services.

Costs and What’s Covered

Pricing for F-Secure Anti-Virus starts at $25 for a one-year, one-computer license. Unlike competitor packages like Kaspersky and Norton, however, there isn’t much of a bulk discount when you want to cover more devices. The only other option is to cover three PCs for one year, which costs $39. There’s no difference in terms of features between the two choices, either.

(Image credit: F-Secure)

A 30-day free trial is available, but it’ll require you to sign up with your email and then complete a CAPTCHA. F-Secure will then send you an email with a confirmation link, and only after clicking that will you receive another email with a license key and download link. As free trials go, this is decidedly more clunky than most of the competition.

Antivirus Protection

Simplicity is the watchword when it comes to F-Secure Anti-Virus. File-based scans are supported, but there’s no option to create your own custom scan. In fact, the only options you can choose are between scanning known file types and scanning inside compressed files. If you navigate to the settings menu, you’ll be able to run a full system scan, but there are no drive-only scans, quick scans, or similar variants available.

(Image credit: Top Ten Reviews)

Ransomware protection is available, but it’s a similarly pared-back feature. The only extra bit of functionality has to do with your ability to lock certain folders on your computer that you don’t want untrusted applications to access.

Antivirus Performance

As far as antivirus functionality goes, F-Secure Anti-Virus is top-notch. The AV Comparatives’ February–June 2018 summary report confirmed that F-Secure’s antivirus program blocked 100% of the threats, placing it second out of 18. It did throw up 111 false positives, however, which hurts its overall performance somewhat.

AV-Test’s August 2018 Windows Home User report produced similar results, with F-Secure Anti-Virus blocking 100% of threats, with many fewer false positives reported. In summary, it does its job as an antivirus program comprehensively—and if you can live with the false positives, it’ll serve you well.

Security and Privacy Features

There are no security and privacy features included with the package. Virus scans and ransomware protection are the only services available. If you’re interested in an antivirus that can handle password management, file shredding—or even a basic feature like URL blocking—you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

System Impact

F-Secure Anti-Virus is light and powerful, and it won’t slow down your computer too much. Even though PassMark Software’s November 2018 Security Products Performance Benchmark report placed it 8th out of a field of 14, it’s worth noting that the product they tested was the full F-Secure Safe suite. The antivirus on its own will likely perform even better on your system, and you can expect scans to take less than a minute in most cases.

Interface

(Image credit: Techradar)

The user interface is elegant and intuitive, and there are only two buttons in the main menu: Settings and Virus Scan. It’s pretty to look at and responsive during use, with simple graphics and large, friendly buttons comprising the majority of the program’s functionality. 

While experienced users might miss having the choice to configure their program personally with hundreds of settings, it’s an ideal choice for anybody who wants a straightforward, no-fuss piece of antivirus software. Even the Settings menu only includes a nominal number of options, meaning that what you see is what you get.

Installation and Support

Once you’ve managed to download the program, it will take care of the rest of the job for you. License keys occasionally throw up issues because they’re coded into the executable’s own name, but the program will soon work things and finish the set-up process by itself. Approximately 700MB of disk space will be commanded by F-Secure Anti-Virus, which is about average for a pure antivirus program. 

F-Secure’s support service is as thorough as you might expect from a company which has been in operation for the last 25-odd years. Dedicated, country-specific phone lines are available from Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm, although they’re closed on public holidays. It’s worth noting that the precise hours of operation vary slightly from country to country, so make sure to confirm the hours for your own location to avoid any unwelcome surprises. If the phone support doesn’t suffice, they also have a live chat feature, as well as extensive FAQs and a community forum.

Bottom Line

Even though the lack of additional features will frustrate some experienced antivirus users, F-Secure Anti-Virus does its job as a pure, lightweight antiviral program incredibly well. Beginners will love the elegant interface, and the comprehensive support network means that help is just a phone call away.

The Verdict

4

out of 5

F-Secure Anti-Virus Review

Even though there aren’t any extra features, F-Secure Anti-Virus works perfectly well as a dedicated antivirus program. Easy to use, relatively cheap, and gentle on your system, it’s the perfect entry point to the world of antivirus software.