ESET has launched the fifth generation of its security offerings, bringing a host of new features. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, ESET's security products are among the most revered solutions available, receiving the highest consecutive number of Virus Bulletin VB100 awards as well as the most AV-Comparatives Advanced+ awards.
The company underscores some of the new features found in NOD32 Antivirus 5 (just the antivirus) and Smart Security 5 (a full security suite). At least one of the additions -- parental controls -- is limited to Smart Security 5, and it lets you define "roles" for each account to filter various tiers of Web content. You can also block individual sites.
The other features are available across the board. "ESET Live Grid" is a cloud-based service that compares your data against the trusted files of ESET's 100 million users. In other words, it's a shared database of scanned data submitted by the company's users. It sounds somewhat similar to VirusTotal, it just doesn't have results for other engines.
Another feature has been dubbed "Removable Media Management" and offers additional protection against removable storage devices such as external hard drives by prompting you to scan them upon insertion. It also allows you to block or allow specific devices based on the media type, manufacturer, device ID, capacity and other attributes.
ESET's "Advanced Host-based Intrusion Prevision System" (HIPS) prevents system-level changes and allows you to set rules for your system registry, processes, applications and files. "Gamer Mode" is the last bulleted change, and it enables a silent mode for ESET's software so popups and other annoyances don't spoil your gaming session.
Although there are plenty of respectable freebies around (including Microsoft's Security Essentials, which many of the TechSpot staffers use), you can't do much better than ESET's software if you're looking for paid security software. The plain AV starts at $39.99 a year or $59.99 for two years on one PC, while the suite is $59.99 and $89.99.