With clear explanations of every module and even clearer pricing, ESET Internet Security is a reliable malware protection suite. But while its accuracy is good, Microsoft Defender saw more accurate results.
- No price increase upon subscription renewal
- Good malware detection
- Excellent range of features
- Less accurate than some rivals
- Webcam protectionSpecify exactly which apps are allowed to use your webcam
- Gaming modeCeases notifications and CPU-intensive activity when a game or application runs at full screen
- Parental controlsProvides content filtering, app restrictions, time limits, activity monitoring and device location detection
ESET Internet Security a comprehensive and transparent anti-malware suite.
It’s simple to use making it a good option for antivirus newcomers, and it includes plenty of useful features such as a firewall and parental controls.
My latest round of performance tests show that it fails to make the top tier of antivirus when it comes to blocking and detecting malware. But on the flip side, it produces few false positives.
Eset sometimes offers discounts to new subscribers for the first year, but the full price isn’t dramatically higher and auto-renewal isn’t enabled by default, helping to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for you a year down the line.
Currently, a discounted annual subscription for new users, bought directly from Eset, costs £29.90 for 1 device, £34.90 for two, £49.90 for five devices and £74.90 for ten. In subsequent years, all of those go up by just £10.
An ESET Internet Security licence covers any combination of Windows, macOS and Android devices. You can buy Eset licenses from third-party retailers, but these are generally no cheaper than getting your subscription directly from the company.
- Not quite as accurate as Microsoft Defender
- Fewer false positives than Norton 360
ESET’s malware detection engine performs consistently well in tests carried out by multiple firms. However, its consumer edition is not as frequently tested as those of some rivals, with only AV Comparatives regularly putting it through its paces.
That’s not too problematic though, as data from any one of the three labs I refer to is sufficient to provide an accurate picture of antimalware performance.
|Testing facility||AV-TEST||AV Comparatives||SE Labs|
|Real-World Threat Protection||N/A||98.9%||N/A|
In AV Comparatives’ latest real-world malware exposure tests, Eset blocked 98.9% of malware with a single false positive, which is not quite up to built-in Microsoft Defender’s 99.5% accuracy, but is nonetheless very respectable, albeit
- Includes optional parental controls
- Comes with its own firewall
One aspect I really appreciate about ESET Internet Security is how it’s more transparent in how it works than most of the other anti-malware suites I’ve reviewed, clearly signposting data collection and optional components. This begins at install time; when asked if you want to opt in to the ESET LiveGrid system, it shares samples of suspicious objects with the company.
You can also choose to opt in to the Potentially Unwanted Application detection system, which flags up software that isn’t malware – such as adware and shopping toolbars – but may nonetheless adversely affect the experience of using your PC.
I’m also pleased to see that ESET Internet Security includes optional parental controls, including content filtering, app restrictions, time limits, activity monitoring and device location detection. And if you ever need help tracking down stolen computers, there’s even an anti-theft tool included.
ESET Internet Security comes bundled with its own firewall – and it’s a good one. It has a more pleasant interface than Windows’ built-in option. Helpfully, ESET doesn’t automatically turn on its firewall when you install it, so you won’t be unexpectedly locked out of any network services as soon as installation is completed. You may need to tweak it before activation, particularly if you use any inbound remote services. It’s easy to add rules, its defaults are fairly sensible and it can import existing rules from the Windows firewall.
ESET Internet Security provides a lot of features, including a highly configurable webcam protection, a password manager, anti-phishing, banking protection and secure browsing tools.
It also offers integration with various Microsoft email clients, device control that lets you specify access permissions to your peripherals and storage devices, an interruption-free gamer mode, network security analysis, and all the scheduled and on-demand malware scanning options you could ever want.
There’s no per-folder ransomware protection, but ESET does include a ransomware shield that specifically looks for the tell-tale signs of a ransomware attempting to modify files without permission. This is dependent on its LiveGrid system being activated.
Should you buy it?
If you want transparent, clearly priced malware protection:
ESET Internet Security is an excellent choice if you want an antivirus with lots of features that doesn’t have nasty hiked-up renewal costs.
If you want the best value protection:
ESET has a great range of features but its malware detection isn’t quite as good as that of Microsoft Defender, which is free. Trend Micro Internet Security’s equivalent subscription costs the same but scored higher in recent protection tests.
Eset Internet Security is generally reliable, unobtrusive, clearly priced and provides all the features you’d want from an anti-malware suite. Trend Micro Internet Security and our benchmark Microsoft Defender have been a little more accurate in recent tests, but this is nonetheless a solid choice if you want to pay for malware protection.
How we test
We use every antivirus suite ourselves so we can check out their various features, from scanning options to integrated extras such as parental controls.
The results we use to assess malware detection performance come from reputable testing houses including AV-Test, AV Comparatives and SE Labs.
We download and use the software ourselves to test the included features
We use data from trusted and approved testing houses to determine the malware detection performance
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If you’re looking for lots of security and privacy-based features, then ESET is worth the money. But you can find cheaper (or even free) alternatives if you just want basic malware protection.
Yes, ESET can detect and remove malware during a scan.