360 Total Security Review 2023: How Good Is the Antivirus Tool?
You can only ever have security or speed, right? Wrong, at least according to 360 Total Security: The antivirus program offers protection and performance enhancement making your computer both safer and more efficient. To accomplish this, it uses award-winning engines, made by developers like Avira.
Below, we'll assess whether 360 Total Security really has more to offer and is capable of going head-to-head with its well-known competitors.
What Is 360 Total Security?
360 Total Security ⇱ is an antivirus and performance optimization program available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS produced by Qihoo 360, a Chinese Internet security company. Prospective users can select between two free versions, as well as one paid version.
360 Total Security Review
Available in two free versions
Does not install bloatware on your system
Comes with a number of configurable, pre-loaded design themes
Has not been recently tested by third-parties
Questionable corporate commitment to data security/privacy
Installation & Usage
Installing 360 Total Security took around seven minutes during our last assessment, however, this time, we needed little more than a minute to get up and running. Importantly, no bloatware is loaded on your computer during this process, however, you will be asked whether you would like to install any additional software that comes with 360 Total Security. This is a significant improvement over other antivirus developers who smuggle programs onto your PC without your knowledge.
The browser extension, 360 Internet Protection, is installed automatically, however, you can delete this immediately if desired.
360 Total Security is quickly installed.
All attention in the program's dashboard is focused on the software's main features. Free version users are constantly reminded of the benefits of upgrading to a paid subscription through the animated banner displayed along the top of the dashboard, giving the software a cheap, freemium look. However, as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers.
Off to the left of the dashboard, you'll find modules titled "Full Check", "Virus Scan", "Speed Up", "Clean Up", and "Tool Box", all of which we'll explore in greater detail below.
You won't spend long searching for what you need in 360 Total Security's dashboard.
The hamburger icon in the upper menu bar takes you to settings, protocols, and the support area. Conveniently, you can also file a support ticket here, without leaving the comfort of the program's dashboard.
In the software's settings menu, you can adjust how the program interacts with your system.
Clicking on the T-shirt icon in the program's upper bar opens one of 360 Total Security's unique features: Similarly to most video or computer games, you can 'dress' the program in different 'skins', personalizing your experience. Some of these are reserved for premium users, however, a decent number of free ones are available at no extra cost.
Users can jazz up 360 Total Security's interface with a number of colorful design themes.
Matching its gamified skins, 360 Total Security also borrows other concepts from gamification. For example, by inviting friends to use the program, you can earn points, which can be converted into extra months of a premium subscription. The idea is not bad, especially for those who have no moral qualms about using their contacts and friends to rack up personal rewards. Still, a conservative approach might have been better considering the rather serious context associated with using an antivirus program.
You can trade in points you've earned for rewards.
Taken together, 360 Total Security has a number of positives: It's easy to install, intuitive, and free from annoying bloatware. All the same, we expect an antivirus program to be more serious, especially considering that it's handling our security. Of course, a little bit of humor or color is fine, but the awards reminded us of an online casino, and that's definitely not the sort of impression an antivirus program should give off.
Like every antivirus program from our sample, 360 Total Security offers both real-time protection, which actively scans and guards your computer against threats, as well as manual scans, which allow users to neutralize specific risks. Free users have full access to both tools.
Customizable real-time protection with three modes
You can fine-tune real-time protection options by clicking on the symbol in the upper-left corner of the interface. Then, you should see the words "Protection: On", meaning that the program will alert you whenever any changes or potential threats are identified.
360 Total Security comes with three pre-configured protection modes ("Performance", "Balanced", and "Security"), each of which prioritizes a different aspect. You can also create your own protection mode, incorporating, or removing different aspects of real-time protection at will.
360 Total Security offers three different protection modes.
Each of these modes is also divided into three areas. "Privacy Protection" secures your digital currencies, webcam, and fends off ransomware attacks. Ransomware encrypts important files on your computer, demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key.
The next area, "Internet Protection", analyzes data you've downloaded, offering to block potentially harmful websites you might otherwise visit. The third area, "System Protection", provides options for automatic data scanning when opening files, and for blocking threats to your network.
You can set which aspects of real-time protection are activated.
360 Total Security is not the only antivirus program that lets its users customize their real-time protection, however, we commend it for making this as easy as possible.
In 360 Total Security, it's also possible to customize manual scans to your preferences: Alongside "quick" and "full" scans, you'll also find the option to run a "user-defined" scan, limited to specific partitions, folders, or files. It's also possible to schedule scans in the program's settings, albeit not using those which you have created. Set alongside Avira's options, which allow users to create different scan profiles and schedule them, those offered by 360 Total Security are somewhat limited.
In the bottom left of the interface, you can find the different scan engines which 360 Total Security uses. We needed to manually install the developer's KunPeng engine since it was not automatically installed with the software.
You can perform quick, full, or custom scans on your system.
Giving your system a boost
Performance optimization is 360 Total Security's second core competence. In the "SpeedUp" section of the dashboard, a number of features are offered with which you can enhance your system's performance by adjusting its configuration, either automatically or manually. A single scan is all it takes to determine which elements and programs are holding your system back, and with just a few mouse clicks, most can be resolved. Of course, you can also choose which of the settings, programs, or files should be optimized.
360 Total Security also helps to optimize your system's performance.
Free-up storage space
Under "Cleanup" you'll find another scan, which shows you unnecessary data that you can automatically delete, also improving your computer's performance.
Clear out files you don't need anymore and make space for new ones with the Cleanup feature.
A full toolbox
Additional features can be found in the "Tool Box", and include "Sandbox", with which you can open risky or questionable data and programs in a secure partition, preventing damage to your system. There's also a Zip program for compressing and extracting files, and a game booster for improving how quickly games load.
Unfortunately, most of the other features in the toolbox are limited to premium users: These include a firewall, which shields your computer from unauthorized access, and "Privacy Cleaner", which you can use to delete cookies and processes, minimizing your digital footprint. The data shredder helps to completely remove files without leaving any traces. An adblocker and a VPN are also offered, albeit only for paying subscribers.
360 Total Security does not come with a password manager.
You'll find additional features and extras in the "Tool Box", however, not all of these are available to free version users.
In the past, Qihoo 360 offered a mobile app called "360 Security", which has since been renamed "Safe Security". The relationship to Qihoo 360 is thus, only visible via the app's URL in Google's PlayStore. The website that "Safe Security" is paired with (https://www.safesecurityapps.com/ ⇱) is a dead-end, raising quite a few questions about what exactly the company's relationship to the software is.
Despite the name change and somewhat shady nature of its developer, not much is new in the app itself: In contrast to its desktop counterpart, the mobile app focuses more on performance, providing only a handful of antivirus features, perhaps as an afterthought. Nevertheless, you can give your smartphone a performance boost, delete unnecessary data and files, or increase its battery life.
Qihoo 360's smartphone app has been renamed "Safe Security", with all ties to Qihoo (apart from its URL) removed.
Under "Antivirus" in the menu, you'll find a scan that automatically identifies and blocks threats. The "WLAN-Security" feature checks your connection for weaknesses and intruders.
Also included are a number of integrated anti-theft tools: With "Intruder Selfie", your smartphone's camera will take a picture when the wrong PIN is entered. "App-Block" adds an extra layer of security to selected apps. Unfortunately, GPS locating or remote access are not possible with 360 Security.
Taken together, the mobile app seems a bit less well-thought-out than its desktop counterpart, and more like a separate program that has been quickly adopted into the 360 "family", and then just as quickly shown the door. The app's anti-theft tools, in particular, could be significantly enhanced. On the flip side, 360 Total Security's desktop program did impress us owing to the wide variety of features that it offers users, even in its free versions.
Security & Performance
To assess 360 Total Security, we consulted AV-Test ⇱ and AV-Comparatives ⇱, each of which regularly awards separate scores for performance and security to antivirus software. Unfortunately, neither of the leading third-party testing labs have evaluated 360 Total Security in the recent past; AV-Test last checked-in in 2017, and AV-Comparatives, even further back, in 2014. For that reason, we've excluded AV-Comparatives' scores from consideration here.
75% (4.5 / 6)
92% (5.5 / 6)
Lack of reliable or current tests
The tests performed by both labs are too old to be of relevance. In the last AV-Test ⇱ review (October 2017), 360 Total Security's default engine received 1 out of 6 points, whereas when Avira+Bitdefender's engine was used, the score improved to 4 points out of 6. Unfortunately, this engine is no longer available, having been replaced by the aforementioned, in-house KunPeng engine.
Performance was rated with 5.5/6. The program's security features fared better, earning a perfect score of 3/3 stars in AV-Comparatives's real-world protection test ⇱, however, that was in 2014, which is too far back to have any bearing upon the program in the present.
Full scan without performance issues
During testing, a full system scan took 37 minutes, running in the background and not adversely impacting our computer's performance in any noticeable manner.
A full system scan took around 37 minutes with 360 Total Security.
"Some information we collect may be transferred to other countries, such as to our own servers or servers of our database providers in Singapore, and the United States and accessed from China by us and our external IT services providers. These countries may not have equivalent data protection laws to those applicable in the European Union. We do, however, ensure an adequate data protection level by agreements with our data base provider and other arrangements."
The meaning of "adequate" is entirely subjective. As such, users simply have to take the Beijing-based provider at their word. And there are reasons to doubt the developer's sincerity. In 2016, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, and Virus Bulletin released a joint statement accusing Qihoo 360 of inappropriate business practices ⇱. They claimed that the company sent them products to review which behaved markedly different than those which were later sold or marketed to end-users. As a result, these three reviewers revoked the certificates they had previously awarded the company's products.
We don't doubt that Qihoo 360 could have improved its behavior since then, particularly since AV-Test's 2017 review of 360 Total Security was favorable. All the same, the company's communication strategy concerning ownership of its smartphone app gives us grounds to remain skeptical.
360 Total Security's desktop app features an integrated support center. There, you can click on links to FAQs, guides, or report any issues you might be having in a support ticket, all without ever leaving the program. However, further contact possibilities, such as a live chat, are not offered.
Even though the support center provides little more than the bare necessities, it still is worthy of a nod for saving its users a trip to the software's website. Still, if you prefer to file your support ticket on the center's website, you can.
You can get in touch with 360 Total Security's support directly either within the desktop app or by filing a ticket in the support center.
Unfortunately, we never received an answer to our first question. A few weeks later, we tried a second time and again did not receive any answer to our query. Since no alternative contact possibilities exist, we were left entirely to our own devices. Based on our experience, 360 Total Security fails to meet even the most basic requirements in terms of support, namely, being there to help users.
360 Total Security's freeware version offers a complete antivirus program, only restricting access to a handful of extra features. If you're looking for things like a firewall, data shredder, or VPN, you'll need to pay for a premium subscription. How much you'll have to fork over depends on the length of your subscription. A current price list can be found below:
|Price per Year||$0.00||from $26.99|
|Contract Period (Months)||0||12|
|Max. Number of Devices||unlimited||5|
|Special Protection Features|
Since subscription packages for each program from our sample vary, the table below compares each provider's offering on the basis of a fictional template we created, with similar conditions. Based on this, we can say that 360 Total Security is priced moderately, falling in the middle of the pack.
With its playful appearance, intuitiveness, and breadth of features, 360 Total Security makes a good first impression as an antivirus program.
Unfortunately, the third-party testing lab results are simply too old to provide any indication of what's under the figurative hood in regards to the program's security and performance, and as a result, we were unable to assess either of these factors. Assuming that a drastic change has not occurred since 2017, it seems fair to state that the program offers decent security. Live support for the product is non-existent, so the less said about it, the better.
The feature-laden free version is worth a look, however, programs with externally certified security definitely present fewer causes for concern.
Even though we took a thorough look at 360 Total Security, our experience is just that, a single snapshot. Did other users have more luck with customer service? Did they like its user interface? To find out, we compiled ratings from some of the most well-known and reputable review portals.
Alternatives to 360 Total Security
You're looking for antivirus software whose performance and security have been assessed by third-party testing labs? Bitdefender or Kaspersky Internet Security fit the bill.
A list of solid alternatives to 360 Total Security can be found below: