good
F-Secure focuses on the essentials and delivers reliable protection from most malware, as demonstrated by its results in the testing labs. But some features, such as webcam protection, are missing.
Try F-Secure now *
Support
9.4 / 10
Security & Performance
8.6 / 10
Configuration & Usage
8.0 / 10
Features
6.0 / 10
Antivirus

F-Secure Antivirus Review: How Good Is It Really?

Last update
7. Sep 2023
Ad disclaimer: For links on this page, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. This supports our work and has no influence on our editorial rating.

Are you afraid of viruses and other digital threats? You're not alone: Businesses and companies are too. For them, it's not just trade secrets that are at stake, but also, the user data of their customers.

Many businesses turn to antivirus solutions for help, and F-Secure is one of the most popular in the enterprise market segment. But, how good is it for private users? Keep reading to find out.

Top Antivirus 2024
Sponsored
from $2.00
per month
Bitdefender
from $2.50
per month
Kaspersky
from $0.00
per month
Avast
from $1.67
per month
Norton
show all

What Is F-Secure?

F-Secure Corporation* is a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Helsinki, and known for its antivirus business solutions, as well as other products for both private and corporate users. These include antivirus suites, as well as a VPN, and a password manager.

The company's antivirus solutions are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. We tested F-Secure Total on Windows and Android but also referenced the developer's other subscriptions throughout the review.

F-Secure Antivirus Review

Review
8.1
good
Visit Website*
Support
9.4 / 10
Security & Performance
8.6 / 10
Configuration & Usage
8.0 / 10
Features
6.0 / 10
  • Easy to use

  • Reliable protection

  • Well-performing

  • Complete package includes a VPN and a password manager

  • Missing some important features

  • Unimpressive VPN and password manager

  • Above average number of false positives (testing labs)

1.

Installation & Usage

You'll need an F-Secure account to install F-Secure's antivirus software. Thankfully, it isn't necessary to input payment information when starting your 30-day free trial. Once you've created an account, you can download and install a range of different F-Secure apps.

Installation only took us a few minutes and no bloatware was installed on our system. The only surprise was a new browser extension, but more on that below.

F-Secure is quickly installed.

Owing to F-Secure's limited number of features, its user interface is somewhat empty. F-Secure keeps you up to date on your system's safety in the "Security Status" area. Here, you'll also find three modules: "Viruses & Threats", "Secure Browsing & Banking", and "People & Devices". The first two are where most of F-Secure's features are located, all of which we'll discuss below in greater detail.

To the right, you'll notice a list containing information about when you last performed a scan or how much longer your subscription will run. You can view all events by clicking on "View full timeline".

There isn't much to do on the start screen of F-Secure's dashboard.

To check and modify settings, click on the hamburger menu in the upper left. These include "Viruses and Threats", "Scanning Settings", "Secure Browsing", "Updates", "Notifications", and "Privacy". A link to the software's support channels is also provided here.

In the settings area, you can toggle a range of different features on or off.

There's also the web interface, where you can manage your My F-Secure account's apps and licenses or add new users. You'll configure new devices for parental controls here, so take note if you're planning to use that feature.

Manage your subscriptions and licenses, as well as add new devices in the web dashboard.

We didn't have any trouble getting started with F-Secure and were able to easily find all of the features or settings that we wanted to access. Of course, we liked that the free trial could be started without supplying payment information.

Although there weren't any major issues with using the software, its features could be packaged somewhat more efficiently. This is particularly true of its security components, which should be more emphasized.

Visit Website*
Configuration & Usage
8.0 / 10
2.

Features

Even though F-Secure's range of features isn't too impressive, it still serves up all basic antivirus tools as well as a few extras here and there. For most users, the choice will be between an F-Secure Safe subscription, which is limited to antivirus, or an F-Secure Total subscription. Below, we'll discuss which features each includes.

F-Secure Safe features

Like all antivirus software, F-Secure users can scan their systems, however, the options for doing so are limited. By clicking on "Scan" on the start screen, a smart scan will commence, which assesses your system's most critical areas in a fairly short period of time. To start a full system scan, head to the "Viruses & Threats" module in the settings area.

A smart scan usually only takes a few seconds.

You can make a few adjustments here by clicking on "Scan Settings". These include the ability to only scan for file types that commonly contain malicious code, scan compressed files (or archives), or check connected USB storage devices.

Scans can be planned in advance and set to run at specific intervals, such as a day of the week or time, with the scan's comprehensiveness defined as above. In comparison to other antivirus programs we assessed, F-Secure's options are rather limited, especially considering that you can't select which folder (or folders) should be checked.

You can schedule scans to run at specific intervals.

Real-time protection

Like most antivirus solutions from our sample, F-Secure also monitors systems in real-time, alerting you to viruses and other threats as they materialize. Here too, the program really only provides the basics, offering far fewer options for customization than its competitors. In general, you can toggle various protection elements either on or off in the "Viruses and Threats" and "Secure Browsing" areas of the settings menu.

Manage each individual security level of F-Secure's real-time protection.

Malware protection with DeepGuard

F-Secure identifies known threats like viruses, Trojans, and other malware via signatures, searching your PC for known malware code. In this, it doesn't differ from other antivirus programs. To detect more complex threats, F-Secure uses the DeepGuard identification system, which searches for potentially harmful changes to your system.

You can review the programs DeepGuard has blocked at any time.

Ransomware protection

F-Secure also protects against ransomware, a particularly nasty kind of Trojan that holds your files hostage, demanding a hefty payment for their release. Only folders that you select to be protected benefit from this, however, and must be specified in the "App and File Control" area.

You select which folders you'd like to protect against ransomware attacks.

Secure Browsing

With this feature, F-Secure automatically blocks suspicious and malicious websites, however, users can specify exceptions in the settings area. When using search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo, the program will display a reputation score next to each search result. This shows whether a site is secure or potentially dangerous.

In order for "Secure Browsing" to operate at maximum efficiency, you'll need to install the "Browsing Protection" extension. This gives F-Secure access to your browser but doesn't offer any additional configuration or settings options. Clicking on the accompanying icon directs you to the F-Secure homepage.

"Secure Browsing" prevents you from visiting dangerous websites or malicious content.

Banking Protection

The program also makes sure that users are safe when handling money online. Unlike most other antivirus programs, F-Secure's "Banking Protection" isn't supported by a secure browser and doesn't create an isolated and secure environment for making or receiving payments.

Once activated and on an online banking website, a green frame will appear around your browser. F-Secure will notify you that some websites and apps might be blocked until you navigate away from the page. This is convenient since you can use your default browser, however, we would prefer the option to use a secure browser.

F-Secure's "Banking Protection" limits the activity of certain apps and websites while making a payment or using online banking.

Parental Controls

You can add new devices for family members and set rules for them in your My F-Secure account. Rules include daily time limits, as well as a "Bedtime" when no apps or programs can be used. For the latter, the program differentiates between school nights and weekends.

There are also filters, which can help you to block illegal downloads or content relating to drugs, violence, or gambling. While testing on an Android smartphone, these proved very reliable. Unfortunately, no options are offered to block websites by their URL or to whitelist sites.

With F-Secure's "Parental Controls", you can filter content, but not block specific websites.

F-Secure Total features

This subscription includes two additional programs along with everything else in the Safe package: A VPN formerly known as FREEDOME VPN (now F-Secure VPN), and ID Protection, a password manager. Either can also be purchased separately.

F-Secure VPN

F-Secure VPN makes it possible to anonymously surf the Internet and change your virtual location at any time. During our assessment, there were 23 different server locations, however, no information was provided as to how many servers each location represents. We were able to stream video content without issue on both Netflix and Amazon Prime, however, we didn't have any luck with Disney+.

With F-Secure VPN, premium subscribers get access to a decent VPN.

In addition, F-Secure guards your privacy with browser and anti-tracking protection.

F-Secure VPN is solid, but in comparison to stand-alone programs, such as those from our comprehensive EXPERTE.com VPN review, the number of locations is severely limited. The same holds true for the program's other features and settings as well.

F-Secure ID Protection

Just like the VPN, to start using F-Secure's password manager, you'll have to download it in the My F-Secure area. This offers all of the basic features you'd expect from a password manager: You can create datasets for logins and credit cards, or check how strong your passwords are in the analysis area. With the "Password Manager by F-Secure" browser extension, these datasets can be autofilled on the appropriate website.

Some data from other password managers can be imported (LastPass, Dashlane, and KeePass X), as well as a few browsers (Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge). With the "Monitoring" feature, the program checks whether your email address has leaked in the past.

Create and autofill secure passwords with F-Secure's straightforward password manager.

F-Secure's autofill worked reliably during our assessment, however, its capabilities are considerably less than those of dedicated solutions. The browser extension is little more than a shortcut to the app since that's where the password generator and all other features are located.

Underlying this, it's only possible to specify two types of datasets: passwords and credit cards. Custom or user-defined fields cannot be input. Should you want the Total package anyways, then the password manager is a nice bonus, however, there are better password managers that we would recommend over it. To check out the best of these, be sure to consult our extensive evaluation of password managers.

Unfortunately, F-Secure doesn't have a few features that are commonly found among antivirus programs. These include a file shredder (for permanently deleting data) and a firewall. Other notable absences include cloud backups, the ability to encrypt individual files, and dedicated webcam protection.

Mobile features

For smartphones, F-Secure also sticks to the basics and even cuts a few features found in its desktop app. You can run scans and use a secure browser, with the latter making it possible to surf the Internet without fear of malware. The password manager is also included in the app, but the VPN isn't. In addition, F-Secure markets stand-alone mobile apps for both.

F-Secure's smartphone app doesn't offer much beyond the basics.

Anti-theft features aren't included in the smartphone app. In the past, F-Secure offered "Finder", which could be used to remotely locate a device, however, this has been discontinued since Android and iOS now offer similar features.

Overall, F-Secure's features didn't impress us. The Total subscription's two highlights, a VPN and password manager, aren't worth the extra cost. If you're interested in either of these, there are better and more affordable stand-alone options. Beyond that, F-Secure lacks a few standard features here and there.

Visit Website*
Features
6.0 / 10
3.

Security & Performance

In this section of our reviews, we turn to AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, two independent testing labs that regularly assess the security and performance of a number of antivirus solutions, with both awarding separate scores in each area. Beyond that, we also ran a full system scan to make a subjective assessment of what users can expect and whether it's possible to perform routine tasks while your computer is being checked.

Security

Performance

AV-Test

92% (6 / 6)

92% (5.5 / 6)

AV-Comparatives

67% (2 / 3)

90%

OVERALL

80%

91%

Security first: In this area, F-Secure did excellently with AV-Test, taking a full 6 out of 6 points. In the Real-World-Protection Test, organized by AV-Comparatives, an above-average number of false positives (44) were found, dragging down the overall result. The silver lining is that 100% of attacks were blocked, just a few more than necessary.

In terms of performance, the situation is reversed: As part of its performance test, AV-Comparatives awarded F-Secure first place, while with AV-Test, a number of minor issues were uncovered.

If you take the best of both, then F-Secure offers excellent security and performance. At least so far as the latter is concerned, we're of the same opinion: At no time during the full system scan did we feel like our computer was lagging or under-performing.

The above-average number of false positives uncovered by AV-Comparatives does dampen our overall picture of F-Secure, however, we're confident that its security and performance are up to snuff.

Visit Website*
Security & Performance
8.6 / 10
4.

Support

We liked F-Secure's help center. With its search feature, you can quickly find relevant answers to any questions you might have, as well as a nice selection of help articles, arranged by product. An extensive user handbook, complete with a few video tutorials, is available, as are some support articles. If those don't help, there's also a forum.

There are also support tools that can be downloaded and used to help create reports for more complicated issues. These reports can then be forwarded to F-Secure staffers, who will interact with you directly to resolve whatever problem you might be experiencing.

F-Secure's support impressed us with its fast response times and informative content.

To contact support directly, there's a hotline and a live chat.

For the latter, we were quickly connected to friendly staffers who competently (and professionally) addressed our queries. On the phone, we also didn't have to wait long. The only blemish is that classic support tickets aren't offered.

All told, F-Secure's support is nearly perfect.

Visit Website*
Support
9.4 / 10
5.

Pricing

For private users, F-Secure offers three products: F-Secure Safe (antivirus), F‑Secure VPN, and F-Secure ID Protection (password manager). Should you want all three, you can book an F-Secure Total subscription.

With any of the above, you'll need to select a license period (12 or 24 months) as well as specify the number of devices you want to use the software on. It isn't possible to pay month-by-month.

The company also offers a range of business security solutions.

Below, you can find a current price list for all of F-Secure's products:

Internet SecurityTotal
Price per Year $49.99 $59.99
Contract Period (Months) 12 12
Geräte
Max. Number of Devices 25 25
Special Protection Features
Real-time Protection
Internet Security
Email Protection
Ransomware Protection
Webcam Protection
Premium Features
Firewall
Password Manager
VPN Access
Adblocker
Cloud Backup
File Shredder
Parental Control
Performance Tuning
Mobile Features
App Lock
Location Tracking
Remote Lock
Camera Trap

Since subscriptions and features vary from program to program, the table below compares all providers from our sample on the basis of a template with similar conditions:

1.
Avast
Free
$0.00
yearly price
2.
Panda Security
Free
$0.00
yearly price
3.
AVG
Free
$0.00
yearly price
4.
Avira
Free
$0.00
yearly price
5.
Sophos
Home Free
$0.00
yearly price
6.
Malwarebytes
Free
$0.00
yearly price
7.
360 Total Security
All-In-One
$0.00
yearly price
8.
Trend Micro
Antivirus+
$19.95
yearly price
9.
Norton
Antivirus Plus
$19.99
yearly price
10.
Bitdefender
Antivirus Plus
$23.99
yearly price
11.
G Data
Antivirus
$29.95
yearly price
12.
Kaspersky
Antivirus
$29.99
yearly price
13.
McAfee
Total Protection
$39.99
yearly price
14.
ESET
Essential Security
$39.99
yearly price
15.
Surfshark
24 months
$47.76
yearly price
16.
F-Secure
Internet Security
$49.99
yearly price

You can try F-Secure for free for 30 days without having to input any payment information. All paid subscriptions come with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Conclusion

Review
8.1
good
Visit Website*
Support
9.4 / 10
Security & Performance
8.6 / 10
Configuration & Usage
8.0 / 10
Features
6.0 / 10

F-Secure, the enterprise specialist from our sample, also has something to offer individual users. Its user-friendly antivirus solutions focus on the essentials, serving up all of the basics with little fuss. The program fared well with the testing labs we consulted, and earned top scores in both security and performance, just not across the board. Finally, the Finnish developer's support was excellent, coming very near to matching our ideal.

Unfortunately, F-Secure could do with a few more features, since it lacks some basics, like a file shredder, firewall, and secure browser. The VPN and password manager that are included with the most expensive subscription package are decent, but can't really compare to dedicated software.

We'll be blunt: We wouldn't buy an F-Secure Total subscription just to get access to its VPN and password manager since there are better stand-alone solutions out there. At the same time, the provider's Safe subscription isn't great value for money and you'll get more elsewhere. Still, F-Secure is reliable and intuitive, and far from a poor choice for an antivirus suite.

F-Secure Antivirus
F-Secure Antivirus
(15,790 )
F-Secure focuses on the essentials and delivers reliable protection from most malware, as demonstrated by its results in the testing labs. But some features, such as webcam protection, are missing.
good lab grades
DeepGuard detects new Malware
VPN and password manager
no firewall
no webcam protection
8.1
good
Plan
Internet Security
Devices
up to 25
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
F-Secure Internet Security
 $49.99
yearly price
Visit Website*

Customer Ratings

What do users think about F-Secure? We checked reputable review aggregators and gathered the feedback we found. In general, F-Secure is rated favorably, with many characterizing the program as reliable and fast.

Customer Ratings
4.0 / 5
15,790 Bewertungen
Visit Website*
We analyzed the reviews and ratings from various portals and found 15,790 ratings with an overall rating of 4.0 out of 5 .

Alternatives to F-Secure

One big disadvantage F-Secure has is that it doesn't offer a (long-term) free version of its software. Should you want an antivirus that won't cost you a cent, you can't miss the relatively generous free version of Avast.

If you want reliable protection against viruses, a user-friendly app, top support, and more features than F-Secure, we recommend our best-in-show, Bitdefender.

More of the best alternatives to F-Secure can be found below:

Best Overall 2024
Bitdefender Antivirus
Bitdefender Antivirus
(253,731 )
Our 'best in test' antivirus program Bitdefender boasts strong security, confirmed by independent test laboratories, along with a flawless user interface and a comprehensive set of features.
flawless user interface
excellent lab results
configurable quick actions
good support with 24/7 live chat
many features
9.6
excellent
Plan
Antivirus Plus
Devices
up to 3
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
 $23.99
yearly price
Visit Website*
Kaspersky Antivirus
Kaspersky Antivirus
(4,174,165 )
Kaspersky Internet Security is a user-friendly antivirus tool with a ton of features. However, some Western governments are currently warning against its use.
great test lab scores
a lot of features
intuitive interface
keylogging & webcam protection
some governments warn against use
9.1
excellent
Plan
Antivirus
Devices
up to 5
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
Kaspersky Antivirus
 $29.99
yearly price
Visit Website*
Free Trial Version
Avast Antivirus
Avast Antivirus
(7,291,633 )
Avast impresses with a great free version covering all the essentials, and a huge set of features that offer well-rounded antivirus protection and some nice extras. Scans can slightly impact performance, however.
many features
Sandbox and WiFi-Inspector
solid free version
intuitive app
scans can impact performance
8.6
good
Plan
Free
Devices
unlimited
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
Avast Free
 $0.00
Visit Website*
Download for Free
Norton Antivirus
Norton Antivirus
(1,853,439 )
With its robust set of features, lean applications, and a 100 % antivirus guarantee, Norton Antivirus is definitely worth a look. Sadly, the testing labs aren't unanimously impressed, and one or two features are missing.
learn, user-friendly apps
customizable child protection
100 % antivirus guarantee
no anti-theft features
mixed test lab results
8.4
good
Plan
Antivirus Plus
Devices
1
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
Norton Antivirus Plus
 $19.99
yearly price
Visit Website*
G Data Antivirus
G Data Antivirus
(11,249 )
G Data offers virus protection "made in Germany" with solid test lab scores, lots of customization, and great support. The user interface, however, could use a facelift.
many configuration options
great support
handy status bar
interface somewhat outdated
test lab scores "only" solid
8.4
good
Plan
Antivirus
Devices
up to 5
Protection Features
0
Premium Features
0
G Data Antivirus
from  $29.95
yearly price
Visit Website*
Top Antivirus 2024
Sponsored
from $2.00
per month
Bitdefender
from $2.50
per month
Kaspersky
from $0.00
per month
Avast
from $1.67
per month
Norton
show all
Janis von Bleichert studied business informatics at the TU Munich and computer science at the TU Berlin, Germany. He has been self-employed since 2006 and is the founder of EXPERTE.com. He writes about hosting, software and IT security.
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
Continue Reading
Other languages