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Dr.Web Antivirus Review — Is It a Safe Choice in 2023?

7.0
DECENT
Ranked 30th from 68 antivirus companies
Steven Feeney
Steven Feeney
Published on: December 26, 2022

Dr.Web Review: Quick Expert Summary

At the time of writing, we have no evidence to suggest that Dr.Web (headquartered in Russia) is a danger to its users. However, if you’re concerned about Dr.Web becoming a threat to your security due to recent geo-political tensions, there are many suitable alternatives, such as Norton and Bitdefender.

Dr.Web includes a pretty good scanner and a handful of decent features, but it doesn’t offer enough for the price it charges. The scanner uses Dr.Web Cloud’s massive malware database plus behavioral and heuristic analysis to protect your computer against a variety of threats. SpIDer Guard (Dr.Web’s real-time protection) does a good job identifying both zero-day and signature-based threats before they can attack your system, and it offers a range of customization options for tech-savvy users.

Dr.Web Security Space also comes with:

  • Firewall.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • Exploit prevention.
  • Webcam and mic protection.
  • Anti-theft features (Android only).
  • Data loss prevention.
  • Parental controls.

Dr.Web’s security features are decent, but there’s room for improvement. While I like the parental controls for PC and Android and the Android anti-theft features, I found Dr.Web’s clunky interface, constant firewall pop-ups, and system-slowing full scans disappointing. It’s not cheap either — you can get a much more full-featured package from companies like Norton and Bitdefender for a similar price.

That said, overall Dr.Web provides pretty good protection. Its Security Space plan comes with a 1-month free trial, but you can increase this to 3 months by supplying a few personal details (such as your email).

🏅 Overall Rank #30 out of 68 antiviruses
🔥 Firewall
🌐 VPN
🎁 Free Plan
💵 Pricing $8.59 / year
💰 Money-Back Guarantee
💻 Operating Systems Windows, Mac, Linux, Android

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Dr.Web Full Review

Dr.Web Full Review

Dr.Web’s scanner and real-time protection work really well, detecting and eliminating both signature and zero-day threats.

Its design isn’t as intuitive or visually appealing as other antivirus programs on the market, but the Security Space plan offers a nice selection of features that mostly function well and allow an impressive degree of customization.

It doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee like many of its competitors, but its generous free trial can be extended up to 3 months.

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Dr.Web Security Features

Dr.Web comes with a generous number of features that can be fully customized. For those with an interest in automating functions (like how to handle different types of threats as they’re discovered), Dr.Web gives you the tools to do this. The customization options may be overwhelming for some, but for the most part everything functions well out of the box so less tech-savvy users can just leave the settings alone.

Dr.Web’s scanner offers great malware detection capabilities — it uses Dr.Web Cloud’s massive database to check against previously identified viruses. It also makes use of behavioral analysis and heuristic analysis to protect users from zero-day attacks.

Dr.Web Security Features

The scanner has 3 main scanning modes:

  • Express scan: Focuses on areas that are typically most vulnerable or frequently targeted by viruses and malware.
  • Full scan: Performs a scan on the entire disk.
  • Custom scan: Scans select folders or destinations only.

To test the efficacy of this scanner, I downloaded a large database of malware samples to my computer, including viruses, spyware, trojans, adware, keyloggers, worms, ransomware, and more. Once I’d ensured the samples were distributed throughout my device, I started my scans.

The express scan took 5 minutes to complete, which is pretty good — some antivirus scanners take 5-6 times as long to finish this type of scan. What’s more, the express scan managed to find all of the malware samples placed in critical sections of my device.

Dr.Web Security Features

However, the full scan wasn’t very fast, and it slowed down my system a bit while it was running. It took over an hour, but it managed to discover 97% of the malware samples. This is a pretty great result, but many competitors provide an even better experience. Norton, for example, can complete a full scan in 40 minutes with a 100% detection rate.

The scanner comes with a good range of customization options. I like how you can set it to automatically neutralize all discovered threats and shut down after it finishes scanning. You can also choose how it neutralizes specific threats (adware, dialers, etc), with options to ignore, move to quarantine, or delete.

Dr.Web Security Features

SpIDer Guard, Dr.Web’s real-time scanner, provides very good instant protection from threats. By constantly monitoring your activity, it can stop various forms of cyber attack, or even physical attacks from removable media, before they can damage your system.

Dr.Web Security Features

In my tests, the real-time protection was able to detect and stop all potential threats from infecting my device. Apart from choosing how to handle different types of threat, SpIDer Guard’s customization options allow you to toggle heuristic analysis, choose an Optimal or Paranoid scan mode, scan for rootkits, block autorun for removable media, and more. I was impressed by the level of control I had over the scanner.

Dr.Web Security Features

The Preventive Protection tab includes ransomware protection, behavior analysis, and exploit prevention, and it lets you customize each of these features to suit your needs.

Dr.Web Security Features

Dr.Web’s ransomware and exploit protections are also pretty good. The ransomware protection can either block or require permission for any files to be encrypted (you can also add files to a list if you don’t want them subject to these blocks). The exploit protection gives you a warning message if a program attempts to exploit a security vulnerability in an application, or blocks the program altogether.

The behavior analysis settings determine how Dr.Web responds to applications attempting to access critical locations and let you adjust the parameters between Optimal, Medium, and Paranoid. With the Optimal setting, the feature uses heuristic learning to determine whether anything attempting to access a critical area is a threat, whereas the Paranoid setting assumes everything is a threat. You can manually adjust the responses for particular applications too, which is handy.

All in all, the features within the Preventive Protection tab do a good job of blocking malicious programs before they can interfere with your device.

Dr.Web Security Features

Dr.Web’s Device and Personal Data management lets you monitor whether potentially malicious entities are trying to tamper with your devices. Webcam and microphone access can be fully blocked, require permission, or be allowed for specific applications. The Devices tab also lets you stop jobs from being sent to printers, block data transfers, and more. Data loss prevention lets you choose specific folders to protect so they can’t be modified or deleted. It worked well during my tests and provided peace of mind when I was working with important files.

Dr.Web Security Features

Dr.Web’s parental controls are fairly comprehensive, allowing users to set time restrictions on computer or internet usage, block categories of sites, and add specific sites to blacklists or whitelists.

Dr.Web Security Features

The time settings are quite versatile, letting you restrict internet or computer use to either a number of hours per day or to specific times of day. You can also set the length of time a computer can be used before a break (and the length of the break).

Dr.Web Security Features

There are 14 categories you can restrict access to, including adult content, gambling, and violence. By adding specific sites to the whitelist, you can allow access to sites even if they fall into restricted categories (while the blacklist blocks sites even if they don’t). You can also set safe search to automatically apply to search engines.

Overall, Dr.Web offers a wide variety of of features that all perform well. Its malware protections are effective, the preventative security features are easy to manage, and the data loss prevention features is an advanced tool that isn’t included with many other antiviruses. While alternatives like Norton and Bitdefender offer better malware protections and more features at a similar price, Dr.Web is still a good choice.

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Dr.Web Plans & Pricing

Dr.Web offers 3 main antivirus plans: Dr.Web Security Space, Dr.Web KATANA, and Dr.Web Security Space for Android.

Dr.Web Security Space is the most comprehensive plan, including the scanner, SpIDer Guard real-time protection, firewall, parental controls, web and microphone protection, and more. This plan is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It covers 1 device as default for $36.86 / year, but additional device connections (up to 5) can be added for an extra fee.

Security Space for Android is available as a standalone purchase or as a free add-on with the Security Space plan, and it covers the same number of Androids as computers (e.g. if you choose to buy protection for 2 computers, you get free protection for 2 Androids included). Security Space doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee, but it can be used as part of a free trial for 1 month, or 3 months if you supply your email and payment details.

The Dr.Web KATANA plan comes with Dr.Web’s lightweight scanner. It uses non-signature scanning to detect zero-day threats and is designed not to interfere with other antivirus software. Even though the scanner works well, it’s missing some of the features included with Security Space, including the firewall and parental controls. KATANA starts from $16.25 / year with no money-back guarantee, but it offers a free trial.

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Dr.Web Ease of Use & Setup

Dr.Web is mostly easy to use. Installing the apps was a straightforward process and took less than 5 minutes. I needed to reboot my computer before I was able to access the features, but this isn’t unusual for an antivirus program.

The first thing I noticed after rebooting was a series of pop-ups as the firewall tried to work out which applications to block or allow. I wasn’t a fan of how I immediately needed to adjust port settings for a series of applications — this would probably be really off-putting to new antivirus users. However, after the first flurry of pop-ups, they did ease off a lot and I got to the main interface.

Dr.Web Ease of Use & Setup

Exploring the app revealed a good array of features. For the most part, these features were easy to locate and the customization options were simple to understand. However, I found it strange that the scanner was placed in one of the other folders (Files and Network) rather than being accessible from the main menu. Most top antiviruses, like Norton and McAfee, make it very easy to run a scan from the main screen. That said, upon installation the app does automatically add a desktop shortcut to the scanner, which helps.

Dr.Web Ease of Use & Setup

Overall, the interface takes some time to get used to, but it’s relatively intuitive given the number of features and customization options available.

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Dr.Web Mobile App

Dr.Web Mobile App

To get Dr.Web’s antivirus security on your mobile device, you’ll need the Security Space for Android plan (currently there are no plans for iOS), which comes with the following features:

  • Scanner.
  • SpIDer Guard (real-time protection).
  • Firewall.
  • Security auditor.
  • Call filter.
  • URL filter.
  • Anti-spam.
  • Anti-theft protection.
  • Parental controls.

The scanner was quick and efficient. I downloaded an archive of virus samples onto my Huawei P30, and Dr.Web was able to find 99% of them. The express scan took just 2 minutes, and the full scan finished in under 5 minutes.

Dr.Web’s anti-theft protections let you track your device, set off a siren, or erase all data. During setup, you assign members to a buddy list who will be notified if your phone is stolen. Your buddies can assign anti-theft commands in case you don’t have access to the online portal. Though I like this system, Dr.Web’s anti-theft is missing a few notable features, like automatic selfie capture.

The parental controls let you block new apps or browsers without a URL filter, set a fingerprint unlock, and keep activity logs. Access to components within the Dr.Web app can be restricted, so the firewall, call filter, and URL filter can’t be turned off, and settings can’t be altered. Specific apps or types of apps (in 8 categories) can be either blocked or limited to set amounts of time. I was really impressed by the mobile parental controls — the options are comprehensive and well-adapted to fit the device.

Overall, I like Dr.Web’s mobile app. It comes with solid anti-malware capabilities, pretty good anti-theft features, and a well-designed set of parental control tools.

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Dr.Web Customer Support

Dr.Web has limited options for accessing customer support, including:

  • Query form.
  • Phone support.
  • Forums.

Initially, I had some difficultly with Dr.Web’s phone support. When I tried calling Dr.Web’s support number, the first thing I heard was about 2 minutes of Russian. As I don’t speak Russian, I waited until the end of the message in the hope that it would be repeated in English. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, and after another few secondst, the line went dead.

Dr.Web Mobile App

I did have a better experience using the query form, and I managed to get a clear answer back in English. However, it took about 48 hours for me to receive an initial query acknowledgement — making me wonder if this part of customer support actually runs 24/7 as the site states. I received a helpful response from a customer support rep 5 minutes after the acknowledgement of receipt, which is good.

The query form also has a technical support section. Unfortunately, tech support is an expensive paid add-on that isn’t included with any of the plans. I don’t like when companies charge extra for customer support, and in this case, it’s not even live chat or priority support, just a query form!

Dr.Web Mobile App

The forums have dedicated sections for English and French speakers, as well as Russian. The moderators on these forums are knowledgeable and responsive, often replying within 3 hours of a post.

Overall, however, I was not impressed with Dr.Web’s customer support. The customer support representatives and forum moderators seem knowledgeable, but I wasn’t able to access phone support, and I wasn’t convinced that customer support is staffed 24/7. Also, I really don’t like that there’s a significant charge to add technical support to your plan. Other companies like Norton and Bitdefender offer much better support options (including live chat) and don’t charge you extra for them.

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Is Dr.Web a Safe Choice of Antivirus in 2023?

Yes, Dr.Web provides good antivirus scanning and a good range of security features to keep your devices safe and protect your children online. The scanner found close to 100% of the sample malware I downloaded for testing, and the SpIDer Guard real-time protection stopped me from accessing dangerous files as soon as it was activated. Plus, I found the parental controls for both PC and Android to be comprehensive and effective.

The initial stream of pop-ups from the firewall was a nuisance, as were the fairly consistent requests to adjust port permissions for applications. The price for the main Security Space package is also quite high — with 1 computer and technical support, it’s barely cheaper than Norton 360 Deluxe (which includes more features, better customer support, and 5 device connections).

That said, I do really like Dr.Web’s anti-theft protections for Android devices. Along with the ability to geolocate, reset to factory defaults, and set off an alarm, the buddy system gives you more ways to access these protections should your device be stolen. There are some features included with competitors’ anti-theft protections that are missing, however — for example, some programs offer the ability to automatically take a selfie of the thief.

Overall, Dr.Web does a good job of keeping your device safe from malware while also offering some pretty good anti-theft tools and parental controls. However, there are many competitors who offer more for a similar price. That being said, Dr.Web offers free trials on its Security Space plan that last up to 3 months, so you have plenty of time to try it for yourself.

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Is Dr.Web safe?

Yes, Dr.Web is a safe choice of antivirus. Its antivirus scanner discovered most of the malware samples during my testing, and its real-time scanner was able to block malicious files before they could get onto my device.

Dr.Web’s Android app comes with some pretty good anti-theft features that allow you to track your phone, erase data, or set off an alarm on your device. The Security Space plan starts from $36.86 / year — there’s no money-back guarantee, but you can use it as part of a free trial for up to 3 months.

Will Dr.Web work with Windows Defender?

It will — but you may not necessarily get the dual protection you want. According to the site, Dr.Web’s scanner is designed to work with other antivirus software. However, while this is a feature of Dr.Web’s scanner, there’s no guarantee that Windows Defender (or other antiviruses) has been designed to work in the same way.

This means that Dr.Web’s scanner, which is highly effective, is likely to work with another antivirus active, but your other antivirus may malfunction.

Can I use Dr.Web for free?

Yes, Dr.Web includes generous free trials for its plans. Dr.Web Security Space is its main plan for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it comes with a month-long free trial. If you register your email, a username, and some payment details, you can extend this free trial to 3 months.

Dr.Web Security Space includes all of Dr.Web’s features, such as the antivirus scanner, SpIDer Guard (real-time protection), parental controls, web and mic protection, and more. The Security Space plan starts from $36.86 / year and includes the Security Space for Android plan for free.

Is Dr.Web compatible with iPhone?

No, Dr.Web only supports Android mobile devices. For a top antivirus that works with iOS, Norton Mobile Security is great for iPhones — it features web protection, dark web monitoring, SMS filtering, a VPN, and more, but it only covers 1 device. If you need to cover more than 1 device, Norton’s 360 Deluxe plan lets you protect up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets, comes with extra features including parental controls, and is covered by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

What is Dr.Web CureIt?

Dr.Web CureIt is a free antivirus utility that uses virus databases to keep your device safe. However, it doesn’t provide real-time protection or automatically update its database information. It’s a nice free feature, but it doesn’t provide comprehensive malware defense like the Dr. Web’s premium antivirus.

For more complete protection, Dr.Web Security Space is a decent choice. However, for just a little more money, competitors like Norton and Bitdefender come with excellent scanners delivering perfect detection results, real-time protection, and a lot more. They both offer money-back guarantees so you can try them out risk-free.

Dr.Web Products & Pricing

Dr.Web for Android
$8.59 / year
Free Trial
Dr.Web KATANA
$16.25 / year
Free Trial
Dr.Web Security Space
$36.86 / year
Free Trial
Bottom Line

Dr.Web provides a pretty good scanner with real-time protection and a handful of other useful features, including decent parental controls and anti-theft tools. The scanner found 97% of the malware samples hidden around my device in a bit over an hour, and the real-time protection blocked all my attempts to download malware. However, the firewall was frustrating — causing a stream of pop-ups after the initial reboot and constantly requiring me to adjust port settings for perfectly trustworthy applications. The price is also a bit high for what you get; for almost the same price you can get Norton 360 Deluxe, which comes with more device connections, more features, and flawless malware detection rates. All in all, Dr.Web includes some useful features, and you can try it free for up to 3 months.

About the Author

About the Author

Steven is a diligent technology researcher (and enthusiast), as well as an award-winning academic writer. When he's not delving into the world of cybersecurity, he can usually be found writing stories and poetry.

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