F-Secure Internet Security 2015 is an internet security software that integrates antivirus, antispam, banking protection and parental control features. It sells for $39.99 for a single license and $59.99 for three licenses and has received good-to-excellent ratings from a wide cross-section of reviewers, including PCMag and AV-Comparatives, among others. The software is one of the modern security suites that skip the firewall component, leaving it instead to Windows Defender & Windows Firewall to perform the job.
The software’s appearance has not changed much from the previous edition, even though it now sports a flatter Windows 8 style. The designers seemed to have worked hard to present the features that users really need while stripping it of unnecessary extras.
Malicious URL Blocking
One main feature that distinguishes F-Secure Internet Security 2015 internet is the inclusion of browser protection. This component blocks any access to malware-hosting URLs. The software’s anti spyware component is particularly effective, and earned a perfect A+ from AV-Comparatives. It is designed to block malicious URLs immediately upon launch. Even though F-Secure lacks browser protection, it still manages to wipe out a decent amount (about one third) of malicious payloads during the download process or immediately after the download.
Existing Malware Detection
Inherited the glorious tradition of the previous edition, F-Secure 2015 specializes in detecting existing Malware. In the well-famed third-party AV-Comparatives Test 2014, F-Secure ranked #2 with 99.6% detection accuracy.
As shown in the left graph, which indicates the missed rate (lower is better) for more than 20 internet security products when detecting 125977 malware samples collected up to the 21st, February 2014.
Unknown Malware Detection
The ability of detecting malware that is still unknown is of great importance because it is more like the situation we face in the real world. New threats appear everyday, it is not enough for security products to only detect malware that they have already known. The results displayed below were collected during a test period lasting two months by the famous third-party evaluation organization AV-TEST. As you can see, F-Secure ranked #3, very impressive.
Decent Spam Filtering
The spam filters found in most security suites integrates automatically with popular email clients. This allows the filters to automatically divert spam into their own folders and handle other tasks such as let the user mark any mis-filed messages. People using unsupported clients are required to define an email rule to divert spam. F-Secure has no preset rules but instead lets the user define their own email rules. The suite, however, makes this easy since it offers well-laid out instruction how to do so. The downside of using the filter is that it takes about twice as long to download messages than it does when no filter is used. Thankfully, downloading emails is usually a background task so you are not likely to notice it. F-Secure’s spam filter does a pretty good job and does not erroneously mark valid personal mail as spam. The spam filter will only erroneously mark valid mail and spam in about 2.5% of bulk messages. The filter, however, does much less well when it comes to blocking spam messages from entering the inbox, and may allow more than 11% of spam to slip in to the inbox when fed with bulk messages.
Parental protection and privacy control serves as a parental control system as well. You can set it to block a variety of websites matching any of 15 categories, and optionally block uncategorized sites. Content filtering by F-Secure is now browser-independent, which is a big improvement on the previous edition. Your kids will not be able to get around it by using anonymizing proxies or disabling it with a 3-word network command.
Online banking transactions are highly-sensitive in nature. When you visit a financial site, F-Secure immediately display a banner across the top of your screen saying that banking protection is active. No new connections are permitted in this mode. If you shift to another browser you will not be able to go online. Information stealing Trojans cannot access your credentials with the protection of F-Secure.
F-Secure’s phishing protection is a bit disappointing. One of the tasks that the browser protection does is to steer users away from visiting phishing sites; these are fraudulent sites that attempt to steal the user’s login credentials. The software performs this function less well than it does at malware-hosting URLs. Its phishing protection is less effective than that of Norton and also lags browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. It’s, however, better than Internet Explorer’s. This suggests that only IE users are likely to get better anti-phishing properties on their devices by installing the suite while Chrome and Firefox users will not see any improvement.
F-Secure’s tool page now contains a link that launches the cleaning tool to wipe out any active malware. This tool is designed to eliminate any persistent malware that might have survived removal by the regular antivirus. The previous edition had Safe Profile, a tool that helped identify any problems with the user’s Facebook settings. F-Secure explains that it decided to take a different approach due to the fact that Facebook kept changing its updates.
Not too long ago, installing a security suite in your device meant having to endure slower system performance. F-Security is, however, truly lightweight and increases boot time by just 8% compared to about 20% for the average suite.
Overall, F-Secure internet security suite 2015, seems to be quite a big improvement over the previous edition. The suite’s anti malware (both existing & unknown) features are particularly effective, which is the most important highlight for an internet security suite. Even though its phishing control is below par, the malicious URL blocking module can do a good job and secure your web surfing well.