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Review: ESET Smart Security

written by: Lee Clemmer•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 10/25/2010

I've reviewed ESET Smart Security 4 and liked it for its features as well as its price. Considering the sophistication and quality of this product, the pricing is excellent. I would recommend it to any individual or small business user looking for an integrated host security package.

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    About ESET Smart Security

    According to ESET, "ESET Smart Security adds a firewall and antispam technology to ESET NOD32 Antivirus, protecting your family from Internet threats while blocking annoying junk email.

    ESET Smart Security 4 sports an easier to use firewall and delivers smarter antispam for Outlook, Outook Express, Thunderbird and other popular mail clients." I agree with their claim of an easier to use firewall, and am impressed by the small footprint of the product and it's performance. ESET NOD32 Antivirus is a top rated AV solution, and exhibits none of the performance overhead found in similar products I've tested.

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    Firewall Features

    Rating Average

    Interestingly, the firewall can operate in five different modes, depending on the needs of the user and the situation:

    • Automatic mode - Protection for users without requiring an in-depth understanding of firewall technology
    • Automatic mode with exceptions - (user-defined rules)
    • Interactive mode - A configurable interface for more technical users
    • Policy based mode - Administrator can set and deliver a customized policy configuration for the firewall
    • Learning mode - Automatically creates rules allowing applications and connections

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    Scanning at the Data Link Layer, IPv6 support, and replacement of the Windows firewall & integration with Windows Security center are all welcome and notable features. Anti-Spam integration is available with Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

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    Other Features is a configurable bidirectional early warning system that keeps the protected computer informed of new threats, and submits information to ESET for analysis. I liked this customizable feature.

    The Network Protection mode can be either configured for Strict protection or Allow sharing. This is a convenient "toggle switch" setting for mobile computers, for example, when on a public wireless network.

    SysRescue creates bootable media to scan and clean the system without needing to boot the host operating system, to remove infections difficult or impossible to remove while the OS is running.

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    Anti-Virus Performance

    Rating Average

    The anti-virus performance of the AV component, ESET NOD32, is excellent, rated as "Advanced+" according to AV-Comparatives (

    The footprint of the product and impact on system performance is small. One of the biggest complaints I have with other vendors is that their solutions often slow an otherwise high-performance system to a crawl for no discernible reason. No such problems here.

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    Rating Average

    A 1 User, 1 year license is $49.99, with a 3 year license available for $69.99. There is a 30 day free trial if you would like to evaluate ESET Smart Security for yourself before buying. Considering the feature set, sophistication, and quality of this product, the pricing is excellent.

    Business and enterprise licensing is available, for those versions of the product, which have additional management features.

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    I liked every aspect of ESET Smart Security; it's simply an excellent product. I would recommend Smart Security to any individual or small business user looking for an integrated host security package. If you don't choose ESET Smart Security, be sure you choose some security suite or firewall and antivirus solution. Running without one is a risk you can't afford to take!

    Interested in ESET's line of business security products? See our review of ESET Smart Security Business Edition.

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    More Reviews!

    Would you like to read more reviews? Look around Bright Hub and you’ll find reviews of numerous other anti-virus and security solutions including Norman Antivirus and Antispyware, Norton Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, McAfee Total Protection, Blink Professional and ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite.