ESET was the brainchild of friends Peter Pasko and Miroslav Trnka, who created the first version of anti-virus NOD in 1987. ESET was established as a company in 1992 when two private companies merged. Headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia, with research and development centered in Montreal, Canada, ESET now employs over 800 employees worldwide. The company offers anti-virus protection to home and small office users along with large businesses and educational institutions. They recently launched their first web authentication product, Secure Authentication.


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Security Quality
Our Score

The Good

  • High ratings
  • Cloud-powered scanning feature
  • Great features

To start off, ESET has been awarded more Advanced+ ratings from AV-Comparative than any other anti-virus vendor. The products boast extremely high detection rates and very low false positives rates, indicating a powerful, yet discerning anti-virus technology. ESET’s advanced memory scanner enables an improved detection of persistent malware that often employs multiple layers of encryption. ESET employs multiple layers of its own, analyzing code and updating known and generic virus signatures for makeup and behavior. The cloud-powered scanning feature whitelists safe files based on a file reputation database, speeding up scans.

ESET’s vulnerability shield blocks attacks trying to exploit network vulnerabilities, and the separate firewall further prevents unauthorized users from accessing your computer. A portable device control allows you to prevent unauthorized copying of your data to an external device, such as a USB drive, CD, Bluetooth device, or FireWire. ESET sells a separate USB drive-specific security product. ESET’s computer anti-virus, along with its mobile protection, has an anti-theft feature. If your device is lost or stolen, you can send a one-way message to your laptop, track the location from a separate computer, and spy on the thief—if there is one—through your computer’s webcam.

The Bad

  • Can slow down the operating system
  • No protection for Apple iOS products

ESET’s top-tier virus protection comes with the sacrifice of some computer speed. Independent IT lab tests have shown that ESET’s Smart Security blocks threats exceptionally well, but it slows down the operating systems used. The company doesn’t offer any protection for Apple iOS products.

The Bottom Line

The facts are clear that ESET will protect your computer from harm—and at a pretty reasonable price. Through the years, the company has made considerable strides in the anti-virus industry and has gained recognition for those achievements. ESET’s Smart Security or Multi-Device packages are well worth looking into, even if you have to find your iOS protection elsewhere.

Price (*subject to change)

  • NOD32 Antivirus $39.99 (1 year, 1 PC)
  • Cyber Security $39.99 (1 year, 1 Mac)
  • Smart Security $59.99 (1 year, 1 PC)
  • Multi-Device Security $84.99 (1 year, 3 computers + 3 Android devices)
  • Premium Mobile Security $19.95 (1 year, 5 devices)
  • DriveSecurity $8.50 (1 year, 1 USB drive)  

Free trial offer

ESET offers a free 30 day trial for their premium mobile app and anti-virus products with the exception of Multi-Device Security, which cannot be tried for free.

Mobile protection

  • AV-Test certified with a 99.7% threat detection rate
  • Locate and retrieve missing phone with a GPS locater, remote lock and siren, and uninstall protection
  • Real-time, on-demand scanning
  • Detects potentially unwanted apps
  • Includes SMS & Call Filter
  • Anti-Phishing protection
  • Portable device monitoring


  • Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware – Receive real-time protection while you surf and browse
  • Personal Firewall – Protects your network, keeping your private data safe
  • Portable Device Control – Prevent unwanted data from copying to external devices
  • Anti-Phishing – Protects against attempts to steal your personal information while you shop and manage your banking online
  • Parental Controls – Block more than 20 pre-set website categories or add your own
  • Social Media Scanning – On Facebook, scan your newsfeed and messages for malware; On Twitter, protect your profile, posts, and people you follow from malicious links
  • Exploit Blocker – Protects from attacks on web browsers and PDF readers; eliminates lock screens and ransomware
  • Anti-Spam – Blocks unwanted emails from your inbox
  • Anti-Theft – Tracks the location of your computer and allows you to watch thieves via a built-in camera
  • Security Training – Provides continuing education via tips on how to defend against cyber threats, scams, and hackers


In 2013, ESET’s anti-virus technology was given an Advanced+ rating—AV-Comparative’s highest score—with no reservations. ESET’s Smart Security scored very high on the real-world protection test, blocking 99.1% of the threats presented. Most notable was that it didn’t wrongly block any clean domains or files—a pretty rare accomplishment for anti-virus software. ESET had excellent performance scores but the computer was a little bit slow downloading files.

AV-Test’s late 2013 testing showed that ESET’s Smart Security provides excellent protection against 0-day malware attacks. It also had a perfect score in detecting the AV-Test reference set, or malware discovered in the last four weeks. ESET did slow the computer down, though, and so received a poor performance score.

Tune-up & Speed

ESET’s anti-virus products do not currently include any tune-up features .

Time in Business

Founded in 1992, ESET has been in business for 22+ years.


Though headquartered in Slovakia, the company has a U.S. branch located in San Diego, CA.

Customer Service

ESET’s subscriptions come with cyber-security training within the product itself in addition to the online knowledge base available to all internet users. This includes a threat encyclopedia step-by-step video tutorials of solutions to common problems, and online case submissions. ESET’s U.S.-based live customer assistance is available via email or over the phone at (619) 630-2300.


  • Windows 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP
  • Windows Home Server 2003, 2011 


  • Mac OS X Mavericks compatible

Mobile Security

  • Android 2.3 and higher
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 12 MB memory
  • Minimum 240×320 pixel touch screen
  • 500+ MHz processor


  • Microsoft Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • 300 MB free storage

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