Analyzing all the different products aimed at protecting users on the antispyware arena ultimately comes down to an insight into a couple of obvious essentials: scan thoroughness, cleanup efficiency, ease of use, overall speediness, and reasonable computer performance impact. Everything else is variable and barely significant when it comes to actually picking the most suitable software that won’t let you down when you need it.
Although not generally recognized to be the industry’s flagship solution, the new SUPERAntiSpyware Professional 5.6 did well in our test. It’s fast, light on resources, and infallible in terms of spyware detection and removal. Besides spyware proper, the list of targeted threats includes adware, malware, trojans, dialers, keyloggers, worms, hijackers, potentially malicious tracking cookies, rootkits, and scareware. Furthermore, featuring a significantly enhanced real-time protection engine, revamped user interface, smart scheduling options and greater speediness, the app is getting more credit from some of the leading evaluation institutions and experts.
In cybersecurity terms, it always pays off to ascertain that your data is safe from the Internet spooks’ prying eyes. At SUPERAntiSpyware, they claim the version being reviewed is their biggest update ever, so we found it pretty thrilling to see what’s under the hood there. Furthermore, over 35 million downloads worldwide is yet another sort of intriguing incentive to learn what’s the actual lure behind this product.
- Windows XP / Vista / Windows 2000 / Windows 2003 Server / Windows 2008 / Windows 7
- Windows XP / Vista / Windows 2000 / Windows 2003 Server / Windows 2008 / Windows 7
- At least 256 MB RAMr
- Internet connection
The setup turned out to be superfast, exceeding our most exacting expectations. Having executed the 22MB-large installer, we didn’t have to click through a bunch of screens to get the job done – it’s like setup on steroids, really. Next thing you know is the definitions update running, and moments after the software is standing sentinel over your privacy. Amazing install speed, indeed.
The user interface is pretty clean and easy to navigate, although not as modern-looking as we had expected from the major refresh that’s been declared by the vendor. It’s mostly square-shaped and even slightly cartoonish. This in no way affects usability though. Finding features and toggling the needed settings is a matter of seconds even for those who aren’t yet familiar with this software.
In the forefront of the main console, there’s a big “Scan your Computer” button, with some scan preferences displayed to its right: quick, complete, custom, and critical point scan. The section a little lower is split into two parts encompassing product data (version, license expiration date), preferences, and database update button. The very bottom of the console is occupied by links to the quarantine controls, scan logs, repairs, and help. It’s really handy that nearly all program controls are located inside one screen, and all you have to do is simply switch between a total of 6 tabs under Preferences. These include General and Startup, Scanning Control, Real-Time Protection, Hi-Jack Protection, Updates, and Help. The latter ones contain a structure of further options to check/uncheck, radio buttons, and a few configurable parameters popping up as standalone screens. Generally, we find the GUI intuitive and unambiguous in every way.
The only thing we wish was there is graphical representation of the current security status on the home pane. Another issue that we noticed is the fact that the option named “Find out what’s running on your computer”, which redirects to the File Research Center, wouldn’t open in Firefox, displaying an alert that the browser wasn’t supported. This functionality turns out to be compatible with Internet Explorer only. Actually, it’s not really a problem to copy the link and paste it into IE, but what if you happen to not be running the latter at all?
It took SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 a little over 30 minutes to complete full system scan on our lab computer. This is a pretty good result considering the amount of data that had to be processed – that’s a 750GB hard drive. Quick scan was as short as 2.5 minutes. Obviously, these observations precisely fit into the focus on “Faster Scanning” listed amongst the program’s key advantages on the vendor’s website. Regarding the influence on system productivity, the utility is no resource hog. The use of applications on the lab PC was unaffected by SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 throughout this test, nor were system boot and shutdown times to a noticeable degree.
It’s good to know that all critical features of the new SUPERAntiSpyware have been improved to deliver better user experience while adopting faster and significantly enhanced defenses. Below is an overview of how this refined mix works in version 5.6.
- Multi-Dimensional Scanning is there to carry out highly accurate and thorough threat detection. Besides relying on the regular spyware signatures, rules and patterns, the software exhibits a more intelligent approach of analyzing a variety of code characteristics to identify what’s malicious or potentially unsafe.
- Real-Time Blocking reflects an emphasis on keeping bad code away from your computer rather than handling it afterwards when it’s already on board. Therefore, whenever a harmful object attempts to infiltrate the PC, SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 immediately pinpoints it and obstructs the contamination process for good.
- First Chance Prevention denotes the analysis of the system’s critical points during startups and shutdowns, which is aimed at terminating spyware entities the moment they are most likely to affect the machine.
- Process Interrogation Technology (PIT) enables the utility to spot infections that leverage complex obfuscation techniques, e.g. rootkits. SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 is hence capable of detecting the bad items that other antispyware solutions might miss.
- Task Scheduling applies to both scanning and definition updates. This feature allows for extensive configuring by the time, task type, and quite a few other preferences such as performance influence parameters and actions accompanying the process (wake the PC, hide the interface, reboot if required, power down the compute when done, etc.).
- Another great tool to use is called the Repairs which opens in a separate screen containing a list of system issues that might have occurred due to malware activity. Just to give you an idea of what it does, some of these items are “Re-enable Task Manager”, “Repair broken Network Connection (WinSock LSP Chain)”, “Reset URL Prefixes”, “Home Page Reset”, “Enable Start Menu Run”, “Reset ZoneMap Settings”, and more. Using the Repairs functionality, you can get those fixed in a couple of clicks, bypassing possible spyware interference.
- SUPERAntiSpyware provides Detailed Scan Logs for all of your previous scan tasks. You get exhaustive statistics regarding system information, type of scan, the time it took, the number of items checked, and of course data on detected threats.
SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 is probably not quite intended to fully replace a security solution running on one’s computer, its purpose being more about enhancing the defenses. In the meanwhile, it does combat a wide range of threats such as spyware, adware, malware, trojans, worms, rogue antispyware, etc. Basically, the main clear-cut focus here is on adopting countermeasures for the malicious items that tend to track user activity and compromise privacy in one way or another. Low resource consumption allows using this product along with an Internet security suite or antivirus software without having to suffer the consequences of system performance deterioration.
In our test, SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 would detect up to several hundred threats during each scan we ran. From the start, it identified 3 registry infections that impersonated a browser hijacker in Internet Explorer; this issue was fixed in a matter of seconds. The predominant majority of the threats were labeled “Adware.Tracking Cookie”, most of which we know are perfectly harmless and safe: it is common knowledge that large-scale online ad campaigns are based on those types of things. Whereas it doesn’t hurt to get those cleaned up once in a while, the detection appears to be a bit too severe. On the other hand, the software won’t miss anything harmful lurking in that whole multitude of relatively benign objects. So, pretty good – the program features brisk, hassle-free, and thorough spyware protection.
Help & Support
An easy way of accessing product support online is via the main console’s Help button. The dedicated customer care web page contains the knowledgebase where you can enter your search terms and look up the relevant information, or review the top customer issues that are grouped into 9 different sections. For further assistance, if needed, the vendor provides a link to SUPERAntiSpyware forums and the option of submitting a request. The latter implies filling out some obligatory fields where you need to specify the essence of your inquiry.
Unfortunately, neither live chat nor telephone support is available. Whereas it normally doesn’t take more than a few hours to get a response via the ticketed support system, we believe the absence of the above options might not be the right strategy to stick to, especially in terms of the pretty tough competition out there.
- Easy to install
- New intuitive interface
- Fast scanning and low performance impact
- Thorough detection and cleanup
- Extensive scheduling options
- Restores system components affected by malware
- Lack of security status indicator
- No online chat and phone support
SUPERAntiSpyware 5.6 looks fresh and performs excellently. It is one of the most lightweight and least obtrusive security utilities we have come across. The protection it provides is sort of overly severe with regard to tracking cookies; and yet, this in no way contradicts the indisputable fact that the application effectively combats malicious software within its competence. From where we sit, this program seems like an optimal tool for complementing antivirus or/and Internet security software to ensure all-embracing cyber defense. Generally, this is a user-friendly and agile solution that readily confronts and eliminates a vast range of spyware threats.