SafetyDetectives — How We Test

Our team of online security experts are hard at work building a complete knowledge-base of antivirus-related articles and resources, along with thorough and objective antivirus software reviews by industry experts.

Testing Method

We use a testing method that focuses on the safety, security, and overall experience of the user. This involves testing both core features and specific features to see whether or not a company can live up to its marketing claims.

  1. We buy the product. We want to make sure that we’re testing the product from the eyes of you, the consumer. We don’t accept “freebies” from companies that try to buy reviews from us because that wouldn’t make our process 100% unbiased. We pride ourselves on being objective and honest, and in order to do that, we need to become the customer.
  2. We test the product. Our process is tough. We run each piece of software through a series of intense tests that are designed to find security flaws in places where most testing centers would never think to look. We do this to guarantee that each piece of software we recommend won’t put you at risk, and you’ll know that you have a product you can count on.
  3. We refund the product. If you’re ever dissatisfied with a purchase, you need to know that you can return it and get 100% of your money back. We detail this entire process — as well as all communications with customer service — to make sure that everything is smooth and easy for you in case things don’t work out the way you want.

Antivirus Software

What Do We Test in an Antivirus?

Our feature-first approach tests individual security features to determine if they work as intended. Here’s what we look for:

  • Real-Time Protection. We want to know if threats are detected as soon as they are encountered. If you can’t stay protected in real-time, you have lost your first line of defense.
  • Malicious URLs. An antivirus needs to know whether or not you’re about to visit a website which could potentially infect your computer and cause your system a lot of damage.
  • Phishing Detection. A reliable antivirus will tell you if a website or email is safe and help you identify potential phishing sites and links.
  • Spam Filtering. Antiviruses that have spam filtering features keep your email accounts decluttered from unwanted emails and potential phishing attempts.
  • System Resource Use. We check how much of an impact an antivirus has on your system’s resources.
  • Firewall. Major threats can infect your system through your network. We check the effectiveness of a firewall to regulate your network.
  • Parental Controls. Parental controls let you control what content your children can engage with.
  • Password Management. We highlight antivirus programs that use password managers. Effective password management is one of the easiest ways to bypass harmful keyloggers.

How Do We Test an Antivirus?

We have created a specialized testing process that we use when assessing the quality of an antivirus. Here’s what we do:

  • Purchase the Product. We purchase every antivirus we review to guarantee that you have a first-hand experience of what it’s like to use the product as a customer. We never use “free” accounts or ones given to us by the company because we want to experience using the product the same way you would.
  • Review the Installation Process. We test how difficult the installation process is, how it impacts your system, and its compatibility with major operating systems.
  • Open Malicious URLs. We open malicious URLs in a virtual environment to see how the antivirus program responds to the threat.
  • Download Viruses. We download the latest viruses to test an antivirus program’s readiness to respond in real-time.
  • Document Threat Detection. We document every step of the antivirus’s response to threats and determine whether or not the system becomes infected.
  • Assess Real-Time Protection. We check if an antivirus program is capable of restricting your system from downloading malicious files.
  • Communicate with Customer Service. We ask customer service technical questions and test how smooth the refund process is.

Password Managers

What Do We Test in a Password Manager?

Our approach to testing password managers involves looking at how accessible a solution is and whether or not they are capable of keeping your passwords secure. Here are some things we look for:

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA greatly boosts your protection by adding another layer of security to the login process.
  • Fillable Web Forms. Reducing user input can decrease the chances of getting infected with keyloggers and other ransomware.
  • Password Generator. Secure passwords are one of the best ways to keep your accounts safe. We look for password managers that include a strong password generator.
  • Application Password Support. Password management is extending beyond websites. The best password managers now offer support for other applications, too.
  • Import from Browsers. It’s important for a password manager to be able to sync up with your existing passwords and import them into its new management system.

How We Test a Password Manager

Guaranteeing that your passwords are safe and secure in a password manager is no easy task. We run each password manager through a series of tests to make sure we’re giving you accurate information. Here is what our testing process looks like:

  • Purchase the Product. We purchase every password manager to ensure that you receive a first-hand experience of how the program works. We never use “free” accounts or ones given to us by the company because we want to experience using the product the same way you would.
  • Review the Installation Process. App or web app — we grade the installation process based on how simple it is and how quickly you can use your app.
  • Test Individual Features. We try every major feature a password manager advertises, including 2FA, fillable web forms, password import and generation, and anything else included in the password manager.
  • Communicate with Customer Service. Troubleshooting and returns are another important area we test. We see how responsive customer service is to technical questions and refund requests.

Other Important Things

There are several additional factors that we consider when scoring cybersecurity software. We also take into account:

  • Plans and Pricing. We look at how different plans will affect different people, compare features between plans, and help you decide which plan best fits your cybersecurity needs.
  • Ease of Use and Setup. We look for antivirus solutions that are compatible and easy to set up and use with a wide variety of Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
  • Customer Service. We offer favorable scores to companies that provide an exceptional customer experience through on-call product support, email, and refunds.

SafetyDetectives is fully committed to giving you honest, accurate, and completely unbiased reviews and opinions about all the latest cybersecurity software on the market. If you feel that something on our website contradicts these claims, or if you feel that a piece of software needs to be reviewed again, please send us a message and let us know.

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Our Team

Sam Boyd Sam Boyd
Internet security researcher
Eric C. Eric C.
Expert on Cyber Security, Fintech, and Cryptocurrency

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