Surfshark Antivirus 2024: Review Summary
Surfshark is ranked #21 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.
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, like Norton 360 Deluxe.
If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.
|#21 of 28
|Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Surfshark Antivirus 2024: Full Review
We put Surfshark Antivirus to the test and found it provides solid, basic security features, including a VPN for online privacy. It also offers a secure search engine and data breach alerts. The antivirus software gives you different ways to scan your device like quick, full, and scheduled scans. It has real-time protection for Windows, macOS, and Android.
However, it lacks some features that top-notch antivirus programs often have, like a firewall or a password manager. But since Surfshark is still a new player in the market, it may add these features down the line. Overall, it’s a good pick for basic security needs.
We tested Surfshark’s anti-malware capabilities and found a mix of pros and cons. The quick scan was really fast, almost too fast, leaving us wondering if it was thorough enough. The full scan took about 25 minutes on a speedy virtual machine but did a solid job, catching 9 out of 10 malicious files we threw at it. You can also exclude items from scans, adding flexibility to your security routine.
Surfshark has a handy drag-and-drop feature that lets you easily scan specific files or folders. While it’s convenient, an option to save custom scan settings for later would be a nice addition. You can also schedule scans for specific days and times, which is great for those who don’t want to remember to run scans manually. Plus, Surfshark allows scanning on up to 5 devices simultaneously.
As for real-time protection, it keeps an eye on your device constantly to spot any malware, like worms or trojans. This runs in the background, ensuring you’re safeguarded against threats as they happen. Overall, Surfshark offers a decent range of anti-malware features that perform well, although there’s room for improvement.
We dove into the additional features that come with the Surfshark One bundle, and there’s a lot to like.
First up is Surfshark VPN, which is a top-tier service that offers robust security and anonymity online. It comes with unique features like multihop and camouflage mode, making it hard for anyone to trace your real IP address. A reliable kill switch is there to protect you if the VPN connection drops. With access to 3,200 servers across 100 countries, it’s also great for bypassing geo-restrictions.
Then there’s Surfshark Search, a private search engine that doesn’t track your activities. This is a welcome relief in a world where most search engines harvest your data. Plus, it’s entirely ad-free, offering a clean search experience.
Surfshark Alert feature keeps an eye on your personal data, alerting you if it finds anything amiss. This works for email addresses, credit cards, and IDs. You can even set how often you want to get reports. Just remember to enable two-factor authentication for added security.
Surfshark Alternative ID
Alternative ID lets you create a fake identity and email, adding an extra layer of security when you’re online. This helps you avoid handing out personal info on suspicious websites. Browser extensions for this tool are available on Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Incogni, another feature, aims to delete your personal information stored by data brokers. This is valuable for anyone concerned about their data being misused.
Customer support is another strong suit for Surfshark. We got email replies in less than 4 hours, faster than some big competitors. Live chat is quick too, with real human help just a click away. Surfshark also has a detailed online knowledge base to solve common issues. The only thing missing is phone support, but the existing options are so good that you might not miss it.
In summary, Surfshark offers excellent features and customer support, making it a strong pick for anyone looking to enhance their online security.
Plans and pricing
We looked at Surfshark’s pricing plans, and here’s the lowdown. You can’t get Surfshark Antivirus alone; it’s part of the Surfshark One bundle. For $38.28 per year, you get antivirus, VPN, private search, data alerts, and Alternative ID. It’s a decent deal for an all-in-one package. They also offer Surfshark One+, which adds data removal services, but it’s limited to EU and North American customers and costs an extra $4.11 per month.
If you’re focused solely on antivirus features, Surfshark One might not be the best value. Norton 360 Deluxe, for instance, gives you more antivirus-specific features like a firewall and dark web monitoring at a competitive price.
Payment is flexible with Surfshark. You can pay via credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and even some cryptocurrencies. You can cover up to 5 devices with the antivirus, while the VPN has no device limit. And if you’re unsure, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
So, if you’re looking for a comprehensive cybersecurity bundle, Surfshark One is worth considering. But if antivirus is your main concern, you might find better value elsewhere.
Test score comparison
Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. 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.
We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a single Windows PC with the most essential features:
- Anti-phishing (web protection)
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN (no data limit)
A few notes:
- Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
- Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
- Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).
Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.
We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.
Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.
We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.
How we test antivirus software
Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
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
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Is Surfshark a good antivirus program?
How do we test antivirus software?
We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab