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ESET Smart Security 8 Review

ESET Smart Security 8 Review

by February 23, 2015

ESET Smart Security 8 Review

Everybody has houses and every house has a door. You need doors for the secure protection of your valuable belongings and to help ensure your safety while you sleep. Computers also need doors for protecting system stability and stored data. A good antivirus program is just such a door which helps keep your computer safe from virus and network attacks. ESET Smart Security belongs to a family of must-have software because it provides the maximum protection and stands watch day and night in front of your computers door like an untiring guard and watches every connection and process that tries to launch on your PC; it lets good visitors in but hinders the bad ones from entering. ESET Smart Security 8 is a comprehensive security solution for anyone who wants to achieve maximum protection on one hand and minimal impact on computer performance on the other.


The trial version of the program can be downloaded from the official site. There you can find two different installers- Live installer (about 2 MB; it requires an active internet connection in order to continue the installation) and an Offline installer (about 80 MB). I selected the second. The installation process begins with accepting a standard EULA. In the next step the program offers the chance for you to participate in ESET Live Grid. If you do not want to do so, simply uncheck the box. After that, ESET asks you to enable or disable detection of potentially unwanted applications; simply select one of them. That is all; now the program is successfully installed and has already started to protect your operating system. Two last steps allow you to select a protection mode for your network (Public / Home / Work) or activate a full version (if you have a valid activation key or username and password) or a trial license. The program is fully functional for thirty days.

Installation 1

Installation 2

Installation 3

Installation 4

Installation 7

Installation 8


The convenience of the user interface is quite an essential feature of any antivirus program. They must not only be presentable, but also comply with the users’ needs and have a very simple but intuitive interface. ESET Smart Security 8 fits all of these requirements. Every function and module is well-arranged and provides easy and effortless access to the main settings and tools.

The main window of the program is divided into two parts. On the left side are located six menu tabs and on the right side various details which are displayed there after clicking on any of these six tabs.

Home provides information about the protection status of the program. It informs the user about the security level of protection. The green icon “Maximum Protection” means that the maximum degree of protection is enabled. It also displays frequently used features of ESET Smart Security and information about the date of your license expiration.


Computer Scan– It allows you to configure and run a system scan.

Computer Scan

Update displays information about the program updates and the current status of virus signature database.


Setup– This tab allows you to configure the program modules such as Computer, Network, Web, Email and Parental Control.


Tools It includes various tools to view and open log files, protection statistics, running processes, network connections, and so on.


Help and support– It contains information about the product activation, links to the ESET Knowledge Base and Customer Care Support Center, etc.


Main features of the program


The program offers two modes for a computer scan- Smart and Custom. Smart Scan performs a scan of the whole system without the need for additional configuration options. All files stored on the local drives, except email files, are thoroughly scanned. If the program detects potential threats, they will be automatically cleaned and removed.

Smart Scan

Custom Scan allows you to select a particular scanning profile- Smart, In-depth or Context Menu Scan, – and scan targets- Removable media, Local or Network drives. The advantage of Custom scan mode is the possibility of configuring detailed settings which can be saved as user-defined scan profiles.

Custom Scan

In the Advanced Menu you can configure the ThreatSense engine parameters, namely, Objects, Options, Cleaning, Limits and Other, select the desired scanning profiles and Advanced scan options.







In addition you can specify parameters for the Automatic startup file check, enable idle-state scanning or add exclusions.

Advan set 1

Advan set 2

Advan set 3

The program provides full support for removable media scanning as well. You can scan CD, DVD, USB flash drives and remove any found threat.


In this section are a collection of tools for more advanced protection options such as Computer, Network, Web, Email and a special additional instrument called Parental Control.

Due to the advanced ThreatSense engine and a wide range of modern intelligent technologies and heuristic methods ESET Smart Security 8 provides proactive detection for all types of virus threats and infected files including archives, all in real-time.

Anti-Stealth Protection is a complex protection technology allowing you detect malware called rootkits that hide themselves in the registry, drivers, services, etc. This tool helps you find and safely remove them.

Anti-Theft– This is a very interesting feature for notebook and laptop users. Thanks to this tool you can find your stolen device on the one hand, and securely protect your confidential info on the other hand. Simply create an account on ESETs’ special page and register your device. This service enables you to monitor or lock your laptop stealthily if the need arises through the ESET website.

Gamer Mode is an excellent feature for passionate gamers. By activating this module you will minimize CPU usage and maximize the performance of any game. It disables or postpones those running processes which consume a lot of resources and helps you in achieving seamless and uninterruptible results during play.

HIPS (short for Host-based Intrusion Prevention System)-this module is designed for the selective protection of vulnerabilities of the operating system and programs from suspicious attacks, even if they come from unknown sources. It is based on a set of rules selected by the user. It allows you to neutralize many types of threats and protect the system.


ESET also has a very reliable Firewall which includes the following filtering modes:

Automatic Mode is the default mode. If you are not an experienced user, this mode will likely be the most suitable for you. It provides a normal level of protection. All outgoing connections are allowed   but uninitiated incoming connections are blocked.

Interactive Mode– With this mode you can define the desired rules for the firewall as connections are made through the use of prompts.

Policy-based Mode– This mode of the program uses only those rules which have been set by you and blocks everything else.

Learning Mode is intended only for temporary use while you learn the main features of the firewall.

The firewall allows you to configure rules and zones, add certain connections to a trusted list or block others.

You have the possibility to create Firewall user profiles and set up specific rules for each.

As known, the Internet is a major source of various types of malware and spyware, so protecting your Web access is very important. This program constantly monitors the connection in accordance with HTTP(s) protocols and can alert you to bad connections.

In the Advanced setup menu configure Network options; for example, create a list of excluded sites, Enable HTTP checking, and so on. Below are shown the screenshots of all options.

Firewall 1

Firewall 2

Firewall 3

Firewall 4

Firewall 5

Firewall 6

The new module Botnet Protection is a comprehensive solution which detects cyber-attacks, protects from malicious botnet software and prevents network attacks and spam messages.

Another new technology feature is Enhanced Exploit Blocker which has been proven to be an effective method for detecting unknown threats in popular software products. It deals with the most common software such as web browsers, PDF editor, email clients, Microsoft Office. The program also protects against software based on the commonly exploited Java.

Cybercriminals often use emails to spread malware, so the protection of mail servers can be very important for users. The program successfully neutralizes all types of threats that are spread through emails and blocks potentially unwanted messages before they can cause any harm to your system. You can integrate this module into some email clients, for instance, Microsoft Outlook.

Parental Control– With the help of this tool you may block Internet access to certain sites that contain unwanted information, for instance, photos, videos, etc. and prohibit the use social media sites.

Par Con 1

Par con 2

Par Con 3


ESET Smart security 8 includes several tools that simplify program control and provides additional capabilities for advanced users. This section contains the following tools:

Log Files– They provide detailed information about computer scans, detected threats, events, firewall, etc. It runs in the background without user intervention. All logs are stored in accordance with the current log settings. You can view all log files and perform various actions, for instance, filter, copy, delete or export them to XML, Text or Data file. This tool is very helpful and useful because it gives you thorough information about every process which can be archived and exported into a suitable format for further investigation.

Log files

Protection Statistics is intended for viewing statistical data related to the protection modules of the program graphically. Simply select a desired protection module from the drop-down menu and the program will display corresponding diagrams and descriptions. If you hover the mouse over the description, the chart will display the data for that item. The graph shows the number of infected, cleaned, and ‘clean’ objects.

Protection Status

Watch Activity– This service is designed to display the current file system and network activity in graphical form. At the bottom of the chart there is a timeline which displays file system and network activity in real time!

Watch Activity

Running Processes shows a list of current processes and programs running on the computer and it provides essential information about each processes and applications (i.e. Risk level, Time of discovery, Number of users) according to ESET Live Grids data, a special technological feature of the program which is based on user experience.

Running Processes

Scheduler– It manages and launches various scheduled tasks with preset parameters and properties. Scheduler contains a list of all the scheduled tasks and configurations. By default the program performs execution of the following tasks- the virus signature database update, file check at system startup, etc., but you can edit them or add a new task to the schedule and even remove the default ones.


Quarantine is specifically designed for insulation and safe storage of those files which are detected or cleaned by the program. You can perform various actions after quarantining the file, i.e. restore or exclude from cleaning, delete and even submit it to ESET Virus Lab for further analysis!


Network Connections– It displays a list of active network connections and allows you to manage them.

Network Connections

ESET SysInspector– SysInspector is a very important component of the program; with this tool you can see detailed information about all the systems components, for instance, installed drivers, applications, registry entries, running processes, and so on. With its help you can decide which components are suspicious and start to take the appropriate steps to correct them.


Additional Tools

Submit Sample for Analysis (ESET Live Grid)– You have the opportunity to send any suspicious file or site, false positive file or site to ESET Virus Lab for analysis. I’ve used this previously and the response was much faster than I would have expected. I tend to receive a response withing forty eight hours rather than a week later, unlike some other vendors.


ESET Social Media Scanner– It can be very difficult to find a person who is not a frequent user of any social site. But, unfortunately, they could be one of the ones spewing which contains a lot of dangerous viruses that can easily infect your computer. The program offers a very useful and free tool for scanning and protecting accounts on social media sites Facebook and Twitter. After clicking on it you will be redirected to a special ESET site where you can activate this feature by registering your Facebook and Twitter accounts. ESET will perform a very fast scan of your account and give you detailed information for any suspicious threats found. The actions which you can take are as follow; the program allows you to view malicious posts or even warn friends about them and simply ignore/report them as false positives to ESET Virus Labs for further analysis.

Social media scanner

ESET SysRescue– This tool allows you to create a system rescue CD, DVD or USB flash drive. The program will help you download Windows AIK or Windows ADK. The process of the disc creation does not take much time, but the advantage of having such a tool on hand is truly priceless. With it you will be able to boot your computer, recover and clean viruses from it. It contains everything needed in order to restore an infected system.

Rescue 1

Rescue 2


In conclusion of this brief review I want to summarize a few details concerning ESET Smart Security 8. The program as a whole leaves a good impression due to the extensive functionality and usability. ESET provides a wide range of functions for managing the protection of your PC. Its highly developed heuristic module helps to detect even relatively new and unknown viruses. The scanning speed is simply amazing. I was able to scan the entire computer in just twenty minutes. The program consumes very little system resources. I can easily and honestly recommend it as one of the best security suites currently available!



1. Reliable protection from any known and unknown viruses
2. A lot of useful functions
3. Very light on system resources
And many others


Some functions need further development, for example, Parental Controls...

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ESET Smart Security 8 is one of the best security suites on the software market. Light but effective, I definitely recommend it!

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