Version 6 of ESET's Smart Security suite has just been released and contains some excellent improvements and exciting new features.
It gets good marks from the independent testing labs, such as AV-Comparatives.org.
The anti-theft feature is an all-new location-and-tracking module that assists with finding a missing laptop by transmitting the computer's location using wi-fi triangulation. One of the particularly interesting functions is the ability for the registered owner to monitor and document activity taking place on the device, including taking photos with the computer's webcam.
The malware cleaning capabilities of ESET Smart Security have been improved in version 6. The sensitivity level of the advanced heuristics has also been increased, enabling better protection from new malware yet maintaining low false alarm rates.
While the parental control system does appear basic, it performs one thing exceptionally well. It allows your computer user accounts to be configured so they can block access to websites in any of 31 specific categories. If you're not the configuring type, it provides a default setting which preselects categories based on the child's age for a given account.
Content filtering is performed independent of the web browser, and unlike many parental control systems, it can filter out inappropriate encrypted sites. It will block secure anonymising proxy sites, which can enable crafty (aka gifted) teenagers to access unfiltered internet.
One of the key advantages of ESET Smart Security is the extraordinarily low resource requirements. In a performance test by AV-Comparatives last year, ESET Smart Security 5 was one of a dozen products rated ADVANCED+, the highest rating. This means that even with an older machine, you're not going to see any significant performance impact running ESET.
David Hallett is the Chief Nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD). To ask a question email firstname.lastname@example.org and be in with a chance to win ESET Smart Security 6 for PC and Apple Mac ($144).