F-Secure Internet Security 2013 full review

F-Secure is a Finnish company, founded in 1988, which produces a range of anti-virus and internet security (IS) software. The latest incarnation of its IS suite, F-Secure Internet Security 2013 includes anti-virus and anti-spyware detection, a two-way firewall and anti-spam and phishing filters.

 See: more Windows anti-virus software reviews

There is no parental control, PC tune-up or online backup included in the package, one of the reasons for its comparatively low price when compared to £50+ packages. There are versions for one or three Windows PCs and for one or two years.

The interface is simple, with a main screen showing three panels, for Status, Tools and Statistics, and three icons at the bottom to set scans, check for updates and access settings.

Browser security is built in and banking protection cuts in as soon as you log in to an online banking site.

We never completed our testing of last year’s version of F-Secure Internet Security, as the scans took so long to complete we felt there must be an installation problem. Consulting with the company’s tech support did not resolve the problem

We tried again with the 2013 version and hit a scan time of nearly 12 hours for the 25,046 files examined. Most anti-virus software we test completes in a few minutes.

This time the scan log reported five files that one of the program’s scanners couldn’t scan. Rerunning the scan produced a similar time of 11 hours 22 mins for 23,733 files.

Our 50GB test basket is made up of five folders, each containing the same 10GB of mixed files; some executables, some archives, some data files, so if a scan fails on a file, we’d expect it to fail for the five occurrences of that same file.

However, we’ve reviewed 20 different makes of IS using the same test data and F-Secure is the first to have trouble with the file in question (an .msi file containing an old version of Futuremark’s PC Mark Vantage).

We tried removing the five file copies from the test set and reran the scan. This time it completed in 22 minutes 45 seconds, a much more reasonable time.

We also ran the scan on the same complete 50GB test basket on a different PC. This took 1 hour 54 minutes; but strangely only 16,167 files were selected for scanning this time.

Both machines were running Windows 7, and the first machine had the files on an exteranl eSATA drive, while the second had it on its internal C drive. We can’t account for the discrepancy, with only around half as many files selected by the same anti-virus software for scanning by our usual test PC.

F-Secure uses four different scanning engines – named Hydra, Aquarius, Gemini and Online after mythical Greek, Roman and Extreme Angling characters – and combines the results to warn of possible threats.

At the end of January, the German test site, AV-Test awarded F-Secure one of two 2012 Awards for Internet Security 2012.

It won both an overall award and one as the best Home Protection product of last year. The 2013 product scored 15.5/18.0 in its latest group test. This breaks down to 6.0/6.0 for Protection, 5.0/6.0 for Repair and 4.5/6.0 for Usability, the three measurement categories.

Under its last lab test, Protection result was almost perfect, only dropping one percent in detection of new malware and with a 100 percent detection of the sample zero-day and established threats.

Repair results were well above average throughout and Usability showed a lower than average machine slowdown and fewer false positives.

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