F-Secure – Anti-Virus Client Security 6.01 review

combined anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware security package
Photo of F-Secure – Anti-Virus Client Security 6.01
£70 + VAT

A year ago, if you wanted to scan a computer for spyware, viruses and to prevent attacks via the Internet, you would have needed three or more pieces of software. But new products like F-Secure’s Anti-Virus Client Security are starting to incorporate all of the different product groups in one.

Installing Anti-Virus Client Security is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Options on installation include virus and spyware protection, automatic update agent, Internet shield, e-mail scanning, Web traffic scanning, and SNMP and Cisco NAC support. Management options include having the software locally managed or centrally managed via F-Secure policy manager, the latter useful if you have more than one computer to look after.

After installation the software attempts a full scan to identify any viruses and spyware on the computer. Once that’s completed you then get the choice of either automatic cleaning or selecting on an item-by-item basis. Unfortunately the descriptive names for the spyware found give very little away; 25 lines that say “tracking cookie” are hardly useful.

Even when you click on ‘help’ and are taken to the Web, there’s still very little information on what the actual threat is. F-secure uses Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware technology to test for spyware, and Ad-Aware does provide information on what the threats are, but this feature seems to have been stripped out.

The Internet shield tool appears to work well. If any program such as browser or FTP client tries to access the Internet, a pop-up box appears detailing the relevant application and giving the option of either allowing or denying the application access.

Our other main niggle with the software was just how difficult it was to find any helpful information on the control panel. On one machine Anti-Virus Client Security decided to block the USB scanner, but after an extensive check of the options on the control panel and a search through the help pages nothing could be found to solve the problem, and the only way to get it to work was to disable the Anti-Virus software.

The control panel is quite sophisticated. There are four main sections to it: Home (which gives an overview of what’s enabled and dates of the last updates to the virus and spyware signatures), Virus and Spy Protection, Internet Shield and Automatic updates. Each section can be configured in many ways and most of the options are quite straightforward, although you will have to consult the help text if you delve into the advanced options.

Overall, Anti-Virus Client Security is a comprehensive package that solves most users’ basic security needs, and seems to do it well. However, we found the application to be difficult to configure and use, and not particularly user-friendly.

Company: F-Secure

Contact: 0845 890 3300

F-Secure has managed to build an effective security package that combines a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software in one suite. However, the control panel is complicated to use and the suite doesn't include protection from spam and phishing attacks.