Surfshark Antivirus review: summary
Surfshark is ranked #26 out of 28 antivirus software.
Surfshark Antivirus, part of the Surfshark One cybersecurity package, provides malware protection within its user-friendly apps for Windows, macOS, and Android.
While it includes a powerful VPN, a data breach monitor, and an ad-free search engine, it lacks tools like a password manager and parental controls, which competitors like Norton and Bitdefender offer.
On top of that, Surfshark does not participate in the independent tests by AV-Test. 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||#26 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.
Surfshark antivirus review
Surfshark Antivirus is an integral part of Surfshark One, a comprehensive security bundle. While it has great anti-malware capabilities and webcam protection, it lacks common extras like a firewall and parental controls.
The service, which is compatible with Android, Mac, and Windows, can be used on up to five devices. Surfshark’s scanning capabilities are robust, offering quick and full system scans. It detected most of the malware types tested, with minimal system slowdown.
Real-time protection, a drag-and-drop feature for isolated file scanning, and a customizable schedule for automatic scans are other useful features. You can exclude certain files from future scans and get updates about the regularly refreshed virus database. While Surfshark isn’t as feature-heavy as brands like Avira, it delivers efficient malware removal.
Buying Surfshark One also gets you an excellent VPN, identity protection, and an ad-free search engine. The VPN offers advanced security options, quick speeds, and access to streaming platforms like Netflix. Surfshark Alert, a tool that monitors your data and alerts you of online leaks, and Surfshark Search, a privacy-focused search engine, are also included.
Surfshark’s webcam protection is noteworthy, considering its absence in top brands like McAfee. Some areas for improvement would be the inclusion of parental controls and a password manager. Nevertheless, Surfshark is a solid pick for basic antivirus protection.
Surfshark Antivirus is an integral part of Surfshark One, a €43.39/year cybersecurity package including Surfshark VPN, Search, and Alert. The package covers up to five devices, and payment options range from credit cards to cryptocurrencies.
Surfshark One may not be the optimal choice for users focused solely on antivirus protection as competing services like Norton’s 360 Deluxe provide additional features at lower costs.
Installation of Surfshark is straightforward, with its features accessible in a simple layout that enables easy navigation. Scanning options are divided into full and quick scan on the right side of the interface, and scheduling scans or enabling real-time protection is a one-click operation. While Surfshark Antivirus is available for Android, there is no iOS app yet, giving Norton and Bitdefender a potential edge with Apple users.
Customer support is commendable, with prompt email response times of under four hours and a live chat feature that instantly connects to a representative. Surfshark’s online knowledge base is thorough and easy to understand. However, they lack a phone support option offered by competitors like Avira and McAfee.
Surfshark is a solid choice for comprehensive internet security, excelling in malware detection and user-friendly interface. It features effective webcam protection but lacks an iOS app and additional security features.
For antivirus-focused users, the cost might be steep as Surfshark Antivirus isn’t available as a standalone product. However, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, the Surfshark One bundle can be tested risk-free.
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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