Updated · Oct 12, 2022
Best for: Securing multiple devices
What Is F-Secure?
F-Secure has been on the market for over 30 years, making it a trusted name in computer security.
Its tools cater to individuals and businesses and are combined under the F-Secure TOTAL security plan. It includes cross-device protection, an antivirus, and a VPN package. In addition, F-Secure’s web protection secures your browser in real-time.
F-Secure antivirus stands out in its speed and ability to detect the latest exploitative malware. It also has some of the best parental controls on the market.
Let’s look at all the features below.
If you’re looking for safe antivirus software, F-Secure for Mac and Windows is just what you need. We tested the software on Windows 10, but there is no functional difference between operating systems. Here’s what we found.
F-Secure Antivirus Scanner
This scanner is the primary scanning feature that goes through your computer to find known and emerging malware and computer viruses, as well as:
- Trojan horses
Malware detection is high, and the overall speed of scanning is fast. It puts more pressure on the system performance than other well-known antimalware solutions, but modern computers shouldn’t have a problem.
Nonetheless, user F-Secure reviews praise this ability. F-Secure markets itself around finding unwanted software, but it works like any other antivirus program. And since it picked up our infected software during our tests, it’s safe to say it works well.
Scanning options include a full ‘virus scan.’ But you can also choose the drives and folders you want to target individually.
F-Secure Online Scanner
F-Secure antivirus SAFE looks for online threats in real-time as you browse the web.
Multi-layer protection checks for dangerous sites and individual pages as they load. Also, it catches any harmful downloads immediately.
Real-time anti-phishing compares URLs with those of known phishing sites. We were particularly impressed with the color-coded search results that warn you of dangerous sites when using Google.
The protection extends to safe online banking and shopping. F-Secure can detect legitimate sites and adds an extra layer of security when you log into your account or make a payment.
F-Secure SAFE also has an optimization setting for gaming and streaming. As a result, it won’t interrupt you with notifications if the full screen is active. Instead, you’ll be informed of any threats as soon as you exit a game or video. It also makes sure it won’t take resources from your gaming or streaming activities.
F-Secure deserves praise for its parental controls. You can manage them through the software or remotely via the website.
Depending on the plan, you can operate multiple devices with different settings. For example, it’s possible to heavily restrict a young child’s activity while approaching things differently for a teenager.
Setting it up involves ticking a series of checkboxes of questionable content like drugs, gambling, and weapons. You can also include things such as social media and online shopping. Alternatively, the whitelist and blacklist give more control over specific sites.
Like all parental control tools, some sites slip through the net. That said, F-Secure is one of the more robust we’ve tested.
Another helpful feature is limiting the amount of time your child can spend on the web each day. Once that limit is reached, the software immediately blocks other activities.
Firewalls are essential for overall cybersecurity because they track and block connections based on the set rules. For example, if a program tries to send data over the internet without your consent, it will be flagged.
F-Secure works with the Windows native privacy firewall and lets you set up different profiles for different sites.
Keep in mind that there isn’t much functionality here. It mainly relies on the core features of the Windows Firewall, which has improved considerably over the years. F-Secure provides more of an interface than its own firewall monitor.
Identity protection should be a high priority for all internet users now that cybercrime related to fraud happens more often.
F-Secure starts with its own password manager that securely stores your passwords in one place. Notifications warn you when a password is weak. If it is, you can generate a strong one instead. Unfortunately, Safari users are out of luck, as it’s not integrated with that particular browser.
Since browsers like Chrome already have password management, it’s not super unique. However, identity monitoring is where F-Secure antivirus stands out.
Once you enter your email address, the system tracks it online and will send an alert if it appears in a data breach. Monitoring includes the regular web and the dark web. After all, the worst online crime takes place on the latter.
The software is hands-on in this area. You’re not left in the dark with an alert that your data has been accessed. Instead, you’ll receive guidance on how to minimize the damage, reset your passwords, and protect your identity moving forward.
You can manage ID Protection on your computer or via the F-Secure mobile apps.
Having a built-in VPN service is an excellent way of masking your internet traffic and improving your online security. F-Secure brand there’s FREEDOME, and it’s straightforward to use.
In effect, you just turn it on and off. In addition, there’s a selection of server locations to choose from, giving Netflix users the ability to get around geo-restrictions.
However, the inconsistent speeds are a downside. You can certainly do most tasks, including streaming video, but it’s nowhere near your network’s usual top speed. If you have many people in your household, it can become more trouble than it’s worth.
Because people in different locations will have different results, your best bet is to test it yourself. If it’s a bit spotty, reserve it only for when you really need it, or get another VPN service.
F-Secure Antivirus for Mac
F-Secure reviews for the Mac version are divided. The interface is virtually identical to Windows, and some Mac users report it being clunky to use. Fortunately, all the core features are supported.
Functionally, there are no complaints.
F-Secure Mobile Security
While carrying out our F-Secure review for mobile, we tested F-Secure for iPhone and Android. As noted, it’s designed for cross-platform malware protection. Licenses support between three and seven devices, which can be a combination of computers and mobile devices.
The mobile version is naturally scaled-down, but it’s even easier to use. Compared to other mobile security solutions, we were impressed.
When you load the app, the main icons are as follows:
- Antivirus - scans your mobile system for existing threats.
- Application Privacy - lists all installed apps with known and potential privacy concerns.
- Parental control – blocks apps, web content, and set browsing time.
- Safe Browsing – turn on for a real-time malware shield. There’s even a separate browser app for complete web browsing protection.
- Bank Protection – reassures you’re on a legitimate banking website.
We did find it slightly annoying that the ID protection and the VPN feature come as two separate apps. Although they’re easy to set up and use, there’s no reason they can’t be under one interface.
F-Secure Free Web Scan
One great feature you don’t have to pay for is the F-Secure online scan. It lets you download a small .exe file that connects to the cloud to scan your system remotely.
Currently available just for Windows users, its primary purpose is to get a handle on infected computers that may be the victim of sophisticated malware that blocks access to previously installed antivirus software.
During our F-Secure online scanner review, we used an infected test machine. It successfully detected and carried out virus and spyware removal. Unfortunately, unless you can move the .exe from a clean machine using a pen drive, you cannot gain access to the web scanner if malicious software has hijacked the ability to browse the web.
Other Free Tools
Other F-Secure free antivirus tools include:
- Identity Theft Checker – Enter your email address to see if it has been implicated in a data breach that could expose your identity and other personal info. Results are delivered by email, so be careful if you don’t want any additional marketing correspondence.
- IP Address Checker – Discover what your IP address is and what geographic data is available. It’s also useful to test whether a VPN is working correctly, as it should mask your real IP and location.
- Data Discovery – Enter your social media handles to discover how private your accounts are and whether any personal data is publicly available. Our IP wasn’t even connected to our location, though this isn’t uncommon—lucky us.
- Digital Life Tester – A rather pointless survey that asks you a series of security-related questions regarding your internet habits. Its primary purpose is to upsell products by informing you that you aren’t safe.
- Router Checker – Checks if your router settings are secure and if there’s suspicious activity. For example, if anyone’s attempting to hijack it via DNS and then send you to fake websites to steal your login details.
Ease of Use and Interface
F-Secure is less of a suite and more like three separate programs with a single web account. However, that’s not a dealbreaker because they’re all user-friendly.
You can use SAFE for regular anti-virus scanning and detecting online threats. FREEDOME is the VPN software, while ID Protection handles everything to do with passwords and ID security.
Upon starting F-Secure SAFE, you will be prompted to enable its safe browsing extension for online threat detection. The interface has three main tabs: Scanning, Secure Browsing, and People & Devices. The latter lets you manage your devices and play with the parental controls.
There is also a ‘deeper settings’ link that allows you to configure the following:
- Ransomware Protection: Monitors folders for suspicious activity.
- DeepGuard: Checks software against trusted sources and actively monitors it for suspicious background behavior if it cannot be identified.
- Web Traffic Scanning: Monitors harmful files from being downloaded.
We don’t think anyone will have trouble navigating the software as every setting is explained. On top of that, the software is not intrusive; it doesn’t send constant popup alerts while you’re working.
ID Protection is also straightforward to use. At the start, it will ask you whether to turn on autocomplete forms. Afterward, you can create a master password to access your vault of passwords. If you forget this password, they give you a recovery code file. It’s best to store this on a removable pen drive.
There are tabs for the Vault, Monitoring (checking your details for security breaches), and Password Analysis.
Our experience, along with an aggregate of other users’ F-Secure reviews, shows it to be a very easy set of programs to use.
So, is F-Secure legit?
The AV-Test results speak for themselves. This independent group vigorously tests and ranks all antivirus software and regularly releases updated scores.
In March 2021, F-Secure scored 99.3% for zero-day malware protection, which is the industry standard. However, in April, it moved up the rankings to a reassuring 100%.
For ‘detection of widespread malware discovered in the last four weeks,’ it scored 100% in March and April.
It’s had excellent scores for many months and is on par with popular software like Avast and AVG in raw protection capabilities. When looking at F-Secure vs. Avast, the two are currently neck and neck for protection, performance, and usability.
You can check out the extensive support pages to learn more about all the F-Secure features. It walks you through installation, getting started, and subscriptions. There also are FAQs and guides for common problems.
If your query isn’t urgent, it’s possible to ask other users or staff for help in the forums. Plus, you can search the archives to see if your question has been answered before.
Direct support is available via live chat support and telephone between 9 AM and 6 PM, Monday to Friday.
As part of our F-Secure review, we sent a test question over webchat and received an adequate response within minutes. Ultimately, there isn’t much that can go wrong with F-Secure, but support is more than sufficient if something does.
You can buy the three products separately or pick the F-Secure TOTAL package. It includes F-Secure SAFE, FREEDOME VPN, and F-Secure ID protection. Purchasing the bundle is definitely the best option price-wise:
- Three devices - $39.99/year
- Five devices - $49.99/year
- Seven devices - $59.99/year
To make use of the 30-day F-Secure trial, you must register an account with your email address, but no credit card details are required. Additionally, F-Secure provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
F-Secure Review – Verdict
F-Secure is a modern solution that works across your phone and computer. It does this in a unified manner with one online account.
Scanning is fast and highly adept at catching the latest malware and virus threats. It also has ample safe browsing and identity protection features to prevent you from being phished or exposed to dangers on the web.
Regardless of the device, it’s very user-friendly, and its parental controls are a cut above the competition.
While there aren’t many downsides to the software, F-Secure reviews have one common complaint. The company could bring all features under one interface instead of multiple programs and apps. It could also do better at preserve system resources.
Overall, F-Secure is a top-tier security solution for Windows, Mac, and mobile.
Is F-Secure any good?
Yes. Our F-Secure review concludes that it is excellent in overall protection and has great parental control features. Independent testing shows that its malware detection is on par or higher than the industry standard.
Is F-Secure better than McAfee?
McAfee is more well-known than F-Secure, but they both have similar long-term ratings by AV-Test. Pricewise, McAfee Total Protection is cheaper at $39.99 and allows ten devices, which is more than F-Secure. So if cost is a factor, McAfee is the better option.
Does F-Secure slow down computers?
Yes, to a degree. Because antivirus software runs in the background, it can slow your computer down. However, many F-Secure reviews state that it is a little more resource-heavy than similar software. But this will only be notable on older or lower spec computers. If you use the free trial, you can test how well it performs on your system before committing to a plan.
What does F-Secure provide?
F-Secure provides a range of tools and features, including:
- Antivirus scanning
- Safe web browsing
- Identity and payment protection
- Password management
- Parental control
- VPN services
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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