Emsisoft review: summary
Emsisoft is ranked #23 out of 28 antivirus software.
Emsisoft’s straightforward interface, capable anti-malware, and uncommon security features make it a noteworthy product.
A great feature is the remote management capability, which permits scanning, adjusting settings, viewing data, and managing quarantined files from any location with internet access. Other unique elements like the Behavior Blocker and Emergency Kit set Emsisoft apart.
That said, it could benefit from the addition of parental controls, identity protection, a password manager, and a VPN, features that competitors like Norton and McAfee have.
On top of that, Emsisoft does not participate in the independent tests by AV-Test, which is not a good sign. Without these tests, we have no benchmark to compare it against. We would stick to one of the proven winners, such as Norton or Bitdefender.
If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.
|Ranking||#23 of 28|
|Operating systems||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
Test score comparison
We’ve compared the 10 most recent test scores of all antivirus brands. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:
- Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
- Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
- Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.
We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:
Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.
Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.
Emsisoft antivirus review
Emsisoft employs a dual-engine antivirus scanner, combining proprietary algorithms with Bitdefender’s renowned anti-malware engine. The tool effectively identifies a wide range of cyber threats including viruses, rootkits, trojans, spyware, and ransomware, surpassing rivals like McAfee in reducing false positives.
It provides three scanning options – Quick, Malware, and Custom. The Quick Scan, scanning over 70,000 active files within 3 minutes, is impressively swift. The Malware Scan, thorough in checking areas where malware typically lurks, took around 80 minutes.
The Custom Scan lets users select folders for three-tiered intensity scanning, which while comprehensive can trigger false positives. The tool is set to perform a weekly Malware Scan by default, though this can be adjusted. A Quiet Mode is available to minimize scanning during CPU-intensive activities.
The Behavior Blocker feature monitors active programs for suspicious activities, blocking potential threats before they modify your PC. It effectively shielded my system from ransomware, rootkits, and spyware. Additionally, it serves as a useful diagnostic tool, providing alerts about suspicious file locations.
The unique Emergency Kit feature enables safe malware diagnosis and removal on severely compromised systems. It offers a portable antivirus engine on a USB drive, capable of operating on any PC without the need for installation.
It provides two interface options, a graphical user interface (GUI) and a command-line version. The latter allows advanced users to tackle malware even in mouse-inaccessible conditions. Few competitors, like Panda Dome, offer similar utilities but lack a command-line interface.
Emsisoft’s Cloud Console is a standout remote management feature, allowing comprehensive control from any web browser, including running scans, adjusting settings, and tracking scan results across devices. This feature is particularly helpful for managing the internet security of multiple devices, such as in a family or team setting.
Emsisoft’s Browser Security extension, available for several browsers, provides protection against phishing sites. It’s especially beneficial for users of Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, where built-in protections may be inadequate.
Emsisoft provides competitive pricing against big-name rivals like Norton and McAfee for single device coverage. All paid plans come with a 30-day free trial. However, while cost-effective for individual users, covering multiple devices can be more expensive than other competitors. Norton 360 might be a better option for multi-device antivirus protection.
Emsisoft offers two main plans. The free plan focuses solely on virus scanning, with the same customer support as paying users. The Anti-Malware Home plan includes an array of features like anti-ransomware, behavior blocker, file guard, web protection, emergency kit, and the cloud console, at a cheaper rate than competitors for single device coverage.
For businesses, Emsisoft provides two plans catering to different business sizes. Both plans include comprehensive antivirus coverage and a command line scanner for IT professionals. Business Security suits smaller businesses, while Enterprise Security offers unlimited administrators, policies, and priority customer support.
Emsisoft, while not as feature-rich as some competitors, offers robust malware scanning, anti-phishing, and ransomware protections. The Cloud Console is an excellent feature for remote management. If you’re content with your existing VPN and password manager and require a simple antivirus program for a single device, Emsisoft may be a suitable choice.
How do we test antivirus software?
The best antivirus software offer virus protection, identity theft protection, and privacy protection for Windows, macOS, and Android. Some also offer security features for iOS and Linus.
To evaluate which providers are worth your money, we run 11 tests:
> Test 1: Anti-malware protection test
We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.
We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.
Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.
> Test 2: False positives test
False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.
> Test 3: System performance test
We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.
> Test 4: Firewall test
We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.
> Test 5: Password manager test
We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.
> Test 6: Virtual Private Network (VPN) test
We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.
> Test 7: Parental control test
We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.
> Test 8: Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
> Test 9: Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
> Test 10: Bonus features test
We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:
- Ad Blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- Email protection
- File encryption
- File shredder
- Gaming mode
- Microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
- Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
- Spam filter
- Startup optimizer
- Tune up tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Webcam protection
> Test 11: Operating system and multiple devices test
Operating system and multiple devices: We test antivirus software on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices and award bonus points for unlimited device protection.
> Test 12: Ownership and reputation test
We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.
Sources and tools
Below are the sources and tools we’ve used to test the antivirus software:
- Apple Platform Security
- AV-Comparatives Consumer
- AV-Test Android
- AV-Test macOS
- AV-Test Windows
- GRC Firewall Test
- Microsoft Defender
- SpeedTest VPN
- Trustpilot Security Software
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab
Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.
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