F-Secure Review: Quick Expert Summary
F-Secure is a minimal antivirus program that uses an advanced, cloud-based anti-malware engine. The antivirus scanner scored really well in my malware and ransomware tests, identifying nearly all of my test files without slowing down my system. F-secure also provides excellent web protections and a handful of pretty good additional features, such as:
- Parental controls.
- Virtual private network (VPN).
- Password manager.
- Data breach monitoring.
I like F-Secure’s parental controls — they work well, they’re easy to set up and manage, and they don’t block safe sites or slow down your devices like some parental controls do. The VPN is pretty good, too, but it’s not available in restricted regions like China and Russia.
F-Secure is very easy to use and manage, with an intuitive online dashboard and desktop application. There’s also a mobile app that doesn’t take up much room on your phone and works well without causing any lag. Should you have any problems or questions, F-Secure’s customer support is timely and effective.
Overall, F-Secure antivirus is a secure, affordable internet security program, but it lacks many of the additional features included with the top antivirus programs of 2022.
|🏅 Overall Rank||Rank shortcode|
|🌐 VPN||Yes (unlimited data)|
|🎁 Free Plan||No|
|💵 Pricing||$34.99 / year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
|💻 Operating Systems||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS|
F-Secure Full Review
F-Secure is an effective anti-malware program with great web protections and some pretty good additional features. The malware scanner has near-perfect malware detection rates, and the web protection accurately block online threats, like phishing sites.
There are 2 different plans on offer: F-Secure SAFE and F-Secure TOTAL. The SAFE plan includes malware protection and web browsing protections for a low price, while the TOTAL plan bundles antivirus protection, a decent VPN, and a password manager.
Both of F-Secure’s plans are available for 3, 5, or 7 users, and all purchases are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
F-Secure Security Features
F-Secure’s cloud-based anti-malware scanner performed really well in my testing. The scanner uses a massive malware database to detect known malware files based on their code. It also performs real-time behavior analysis with its machine learning engine to detect newer malware variants and zero-day threats.
F-Secure only offers two types of scan — a standard virus scan that scans your whole disk, and a “manual scan” that allows you to scan a particular folder or file.
F-Secure’s anti-malware scan results were great. I downloaded and hid 1,000 test files all over my device, which included trojans, ransomware, spyware, keylogging malware, and rootkits.
F-Secure detected nearly all of my test files (97.8%) and either removed the files completely from my system or placed them into quarantine.
I also ran a ransomware simulator and was very happy with those results. F-Secure detected all 900 sample pieces of ransomware before they could even be downloaded to my device.
The first scan I ran on F-Secure took 22 minutes to complete. This is quite quick in comparison to other full system scans like Bitdefender’s, which can take up to an hour. Interestingly, I noticed that my next full disk scan took less than 5 minutes to complete (which is incredibly fast). F-Secure marks files that are safe to skip in subsequent scans. This feature can be turned off in Tools if you prefer the scanner to look everywhere, but I really appreciated the amount of time it saved.
In terms of its impact on system performance, I didn’t notice any changes to my computer speed throughout the scanning process. I could browse the web and work on several documents and spreadsheets without any issues. This is great, as many other antivirus programs can put a significant strain on the system. For example, Kaspersky caused my YouTube videos to load super slowly during full scans.
F-Secure also offers daily, weekly, and monthly scans that can be scheduled in Tools. You can decide if you just want to scan file types that are considered to be harmful, and whether you would like compressed files to be scanned or not.
The real-time scanning worked really well, too. I tried to download the same cache of test malware files — F-Secure identified all of the samples and prevented me from saving them to my computer.
F-Secure offers the following features as part of its online protection against threats to your device and personal information:
- Browsing Protection. Blocks your device from accessing suspicious or prohibited websites.
- Banking Protection. Additional safety measures are employed when accessing a banking website or making an online payment.
I also attempted to access 20 known phishing websites and was blocked from accessing all of them. This is a great result, especially in comparison to Systweak, which didn’t stop me from accessing any malicious websites.
I really like F-Secure’s Banking Protection feature. Once F-Secure detects that you’re on a banking or financial website (like PayPal), Banking Protection is activated. It checks websites for unsafe behaviors, blocking you from accessing those sites until your banking session is completed.
I attempted to navigate to some potentially unsafe websites (e.g. pornographic and gambling sites), and was blocked from entering them while Banking Protection was on. This is an excellent feature if you want to add a layer of protection to your online finances.
Banking Protection is only available with the Browsing Protection extension (which is available for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge). However, F-Secure’s anti-phishing and exploit protection runs automatically after you install F-Secure on your desktop.
F-Secure’s secure browsing is pretty solid all round. It was able to detect and block access to sites containing web exploits and suspicious phishing threats. The Banking Protection is a nice extra benefit to ensure that your personal information stays private and safe.
Family Rules (Parental Controls)
F-Secure’s parental controls are simple, intuitive, and effective. They allow parents to set up a separate profile for their children and enable the following features:
- Blocking certain web content categories.
- Setting a “bedtime” for when the internet can’t be accessed.
- Restricting the amount of daily internet usage.
- Finding and sharing a device’s location.
- Restricting or blocking specific apps.
Family Rules are easily managed through F-Secure’s web portal. The portal is very simple to use and setting up a profile for a child is also quick and hassle-free.
It is important to note that content filtering works for all browsers on Windows, Mac and Android devices, but not iOS. Similarly, bedtime and daily time limits cannot be applied to iOS devices. These features only work on iOS if a child uses the F-Secure SAFE browser through the F-Secure SAFE app. This is obviously a massive limitation to the parental controls (for iOS devices), but is common in other antivirus programs like Norton too.
On my Android phone, all of the parental control features worked on the entire device. Harmful websites were blocked regardless of which browser I used and a notification counted down how much internet time I had remaining in the day. I tried to access websites with porn, violence, and even cult propaganda, and I was blocked from accessing all of them.
The content filters available cover the majority of websites that are considered harmful, but they’re pretty basic. Other antivirus programs allow for much more granular selection of content – for example, Norton offers a whopping 47 categories.
When my daily internet time was up or it was “bedtime”, the mobile data and Wi-Fi on my phone were disabled, but I could still make phone calls and send text messages. I really appreciate that F-Secure creates a balance of disabling internet access but still allowing incoming and outgoing calls for safety reasons.
There is also an extra App Control feature (not available for iOS) that allows parents to restrict or block access to particular apps. This is a particularly handy feature if you want to restrict the amount of time your kids spend on social media, or if you don’t want them to have access at all.
One important thing to note: F-Secure requires a device administrator permission in order to enable parental controls on an Android device. This means that F-Secure has the ability to delete the data from a device without warning, change the lock screen, and set rules for passwords.
It’s understandable that for an app to turn off mobile data and Wi-Fi, block websites, and place time restrictions on other applications, it would require extensive access to your phone. However, it’s important to be aware of this, especially if you’re privacy-oriented.
Overall, F-Secure’s parental controls are good — they’re easy to set up, use, and adjust. But in comparison to parental control features in other antivirus programs, F-Secure is quite basic. The content filtering works well, but the categories could be more detailed like Norton’s. Also, F-Secure doesn’t have the geo-fencing abilities of Bitdefender, which alert parents when their kids have left a restricted area.
Freedome is a VPN that gives access to only 28 servers in 22 countries spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. This is a very limited number of servers, especially in comparison to ExpressVPN, which offers 3,000+ servers in 94 countries.
On the other hand, Freedome does offer excellent security features, including:
- AES 256-bit encryption.
- Secure IKEv2 & OpenVPN protocols.
- No logs policy.
- Kill switch.
- Unlimited browsing data.
I performed a few speed tests on my system. For one test I used the VPN to access a server close to my location in the US, and for another I accessed a distant VPN server in Vienna.
When I accessed the nearby server, my ping rate increased, and my upload and download speeds somewhat slowed down. That said, I didn’t notice any slowdown when I was browsing online and streaming.
I was impressed that Freedome works with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, among other streaming sites. I didn’t experience any lag and could stream everything in HD, which was fantastic.
Freedome also worked well with torrents. I noticed my downloasd took slightly longer than normal, but overall I was able to download torrents using F-Secure’s VPN without a problem. This is pretty great considering that market leader Norton blocks all torrenting with its VPN.
Unfortunately, Freedome can’t be accessed from restricted countries. While users can connect to Freedome in most countries, it is not available for purchase in China, Russia, or the UAE. You can take a look at the best VPNs for bypassing China’s Firewall here, or check out our list of the best VPNs for Russia here.
Freedome has a very clean and simple interface that is easy to use and understand, but it might be a bit too basic. There is no information anywhere about the upload and download speeds or load percentages of any of the servers. While some users might not need these details, it’s very helpful to see which servers are the quickest if your speeds are lagging.
Overall, Freedome performed pretty well — it didn’t have any noticeable performance issues, worked with the top streaming sites, and could torrent without issues. But the minimal number of servers and the lack of details provided about each server, combined with the unavailability in restricted regions, keep it from being a top-ranking VPN.
F-Secure ID Protection offers the following features:
- 24/7 online monitoring.
- Alerts and guidance.
- Password management.
ID Protection is a bit misleading as a product name. The application is more or less just a password manager that monitors whether your email was part of a data breach.
The password manager in ID Protection is very basic. A master password is created at the beginning of the setup process and you are asked to download a QR recovery code if you should ever forget your master password.
I think this is a clever solution to a forgotten master password. However, the QR code is also a potential security risk, which is why I think that LastPass’s multiple account recovery options are still the best on the market.
After setting up my master password and saving the recovery code, F-Secure gave me the option to import passwords from Google Chrome, KeePassX V2, LastPass, or Dashlane. I found these import options to be really limited considering Firefox, Internet Explorer, and 1Password are all pretty common as well.
After setting up my vault and installing the Google Chrome extension (also available on Firefox), a small icon appeared in login fields. I was able to auto-fill usernames and passwords from my vault with a single click.
F-Secure doesn’t offer an auto-save feature to automatically add new logins to the vault.
The lack of auto-save means it’s a really cumbersome password manager to use. Rather than being able to automatically add new logins to the vault straight from a browser, every new password needs to be added manually. There’s also no password generator available in-browser to create a secure password. These are two pretty standard features that all of the better password managers offer in their basic plans.
If you want a good password manager, it’s well worth investing in a standalone app like Dashlane or 1Password. And if you want an antivirus with a decent password manager, Norton and Avira are good options.
I like that F-Secure offers a password vault auditing feature that flags reused and weak passwords. It also includes a password generator to improve your existing passwords. However, I was pretty frustrated that there wasn’t an option to auto-fill generated passwords when creating new logins.
F-Secure’s identity monitoring feature is easy to use, but it’s not that good. In order to use it, I added my email through the web portal (you can also enter your email using the mobile app). I received an email from F-Secure to verify the address.
F-Secure monitors for breaches and information leaks using a proprietary database of leaked emails. It doesn’t use haveibeenpwned’s database like many password managers, which is pretty cool. If your email is part of a data breach, F-Secure will alert you and provide guidance on what steps to take.
Monitoring is an okay feature — it’s certainly useful and it provides an extra level of security. But as the primary tool of an identity protection suite, it’s much too basic. If you want an antivirus with effective identity theft prevention, Norton is the best option in the US, and McAfee is a great choice if you’re in Canada or the EU.
ID Protection is a basic password manager and email breach monitoring tool. It’s decent, but not very good compared to competitors like Avira and Norton. Both of those products provide more advanced password managers and more comprehensive data breach protections, but F-Secure’s offering is still an ok option.
F-Secure Plans and Pricing
F-Secure offers 2 annual plans with its antivirus — SAFE and TOTAL. Both are available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and both include a 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested the refund policy and can confirm that F-Secure will return your money hassle-free within 5 to 7 business days.
Both F-Secure SAFE ($34.99 / year) and TOTAL ($67.49 / year) can be purchased for 3, 5, or 7 devices. I appreciate this flexibility, which allows you to buy a premium plan for only a few devices. Most premium packages cover up to 10 devices but for a significant price increase, which is annoying if you just want coverage on 3 or 4 devices.
F-Secure doesn’t offer a free version, but there’s a 30-day free trial of its TOTAL package — no credit card is required and it includes the VPN and ID Protection features. A 30-day free trial of the SAFE plan is also available.
F-Secure SAFE — Entry-Level Plan (Good for Basic Protection)
F-Secure SAFE is the basic plan that includes the following features:
- Ransomware protection.
- Browsing protection.
- Banking protection.
- Parental controls.
- Gaming mode.
- Free customer support.
At $34.99 / year, F-Secure SAFE is slightly less expensive than its competitors’ entry-level packages (like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV). However, F-Secure SAFE lacks features like a firewall, VPN, and password manager.
But if you’re looking for an antivirus program with no frills, F-Secure SAFE is a cost-effective option.
F-Secure TOTAL — Premium Plan with All Features
F-Secure TOTAL is the premium package, which includes all of the features in the SAFE plan as well as:
- Wi-Fi network monitor.
- Tracking protection.
- Password manager.
- Email breach monitoring.
At $67.49 / year, F-Secure TOTAL is priced similarly to the entry-level packages of Norton and McAfee. While F-Secure TOTAL does include a VPN, password manager, and other ID protections, it still lacks some features that its competitors offer, like cloud storage. Plus, its VPN and password manager aren’t great.
Between the two plans, I’d recommend purchasing F-Secure SAFE. TOTAL’s extra features are decent, but there are much better low-cost standalone VPN and password manager options out there. There are also other internet security suites that bundle more comprehensive features for a similar price.
F-Secure Ease of Use and Setup
F-Secure is incredibly easy to set up and use. The tools and controls are clearly laid out for you to update, check your quarantine and white lists, schedule different types of scans, and more.
You manage your subscription and the users in your household and their devices through F-Secure’s web portal. It’s a really simple website to navigate, and adding and removing devices for different users is a breeze.
The web portal is also where Family Rules are controlled. You can also tailor the features for different users in your household if you wish.
F-Secure Antivirus is well laid out across the different platforms, and each connects with the others effectively. It’s a very easy antivirus program, which won’t cause problems for even new or inexperienced users.
F-Secure Mobile App
The mobile app’s features include:
- Antivirus scan (Android only).
- Real-time browsing protection (Android only).
- Privacy audit of your mobile apps (Android only).
- Parental controls.
- Secure browser app.
I tested F-Secure’s mobile app on my Android phone, and it worked fairly similarly to the PC platform. For my testing, I downloaded a huge cache of Android-specific malware files, including .apks, rootkits, and .jar files. The mobile scan detected nearly all of the samples — great result! The anti-malware scan took 16 minutes and didn’t slow down my phone (or excessively drain my battery like some Android scanners).
The parental controls worked the exact same way on my phone as they did on my PC. I was pretty happy with their usability on the mobile app — very easy to navigate and manage. You can jump up to the parental controls section of this article for a more thorough rundown on F-Secure’s offering for parents.
The Application Privacy feature assesses how many privacy issues are associated with each app installed on your phone. This sounds neat, but it’s not nearly as good as Avira’s similar tool.
The labeling of apps as having “many/some/few/no” privacy issues is vague and not particularly helpful. When selecting an app, Application Privacy will tell you which permissions the app can potentially have access to. It doesn’t tell you which permissions you have actually granted it access to.
In comparison, Avira’s similar feature breaks down your device’s apps according to permission (e.g. “Can cost you money”, “Track location”, “Read personal info”, etc.).
F-Secure’s method risks making users unnecessarily worried about an app like Signal’s privacy settings. It could also make them disregard apps that do have privacy and security issues that somehow fall under only “Some privacy issues” — Instagram, for example.
Overall though, F-Secure’s mobile app performs well. It has mostly the same features and functionality as the PC version, and is effective at protecting your device. Just don’t rely on Application Privacy to guide your privacy concerns!
F-Secure Customer Support
F-Secure provides a few different options for customer support:
- Live chat.
- Community forum.
F-Secure’s live chat support on its website was very helpful. I made contact to ask about how to set up family rules for one of my devices. The person on the other end asked me a couple of questions and then provided me with clear instructions.
F-Secure provides country-specific telephone support to 17 countries, as well as an Asia/Pacific and international number. The phone lines are open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in most countries, with a few exceptions.
Country-specific phone support is available in the following countries:
- Hong Kong.
- United Kingdom.
- United States.
I called F-Secure’s telephone support from the US, and found them to be helpful and knowledgeable. I wasn’t on hold for longer than 10 minutes and found their instructions to be very clear.
The lack of 24/7 phone support isn’t ideal, as it’s a lot easier to sort out technical issues on the phone than through a live chat. Many of F-Secure’s competitors do offer round the clock telephone support, like TotalAV. But if you do have a problem (and have an account with F-Secure), the live chat should be sufficient to sort out any questions you may have.
F-Secure’s Community Forum is very active, with other users and moderators quick to respond to queries. I sent in a query to the forum and received a helpful response from a F-Secure moderator the next day, which is really good.
Unlike many other antivirus companies like Norton and Bitdefender, no email support is available. This is a bit annoying, as email is the preferred method of communication for many users, but the Community Forum is a decent substitute.
Is F-Secure Antivirus a Good Antivirus in 2022?
Overall, I like F-Secure Antivirus — it provides excellent anti-malware and web protections, it’s easy to use, and its additional features are all decent.
The virus scanning and online protections all performed really well. F-Secure caught most of the sample malware I hid around my device’s system, and it blocked me from accessing all suspicious or harmful websites during testing.
F-Secure’s Banking Protection is a nice feature that can provide confidence and an added sense of safety when managing your online finances.
The parental controls, password manager, and VPN all provide intuitive interfaces and decent but basic functionality.
F-Secure Antivirus is missing many features that most of its competitors have in their entry-level packages, including a firewall, cloud storage back-up, and webcam protection. But given the lower price, good security, and decent additional features, F-Secure is a fine option if you’re just looking for a simple antivirus with a few decent add-ons.
F-Secure — Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a free version of F-Secure?
No, there isn’t a free version of F-Secure. However, all F-Secure purchases are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Also, there’s a 30-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card.
If you’re looking for a free antivirus for Windows, we have a great list of options for you to consider. Spoiler alert: Avira’s free antivirus works pretty well and is our top pick.
Do I have to run virus scans manually with F-Secure?
No — as long as virus protection is enabled, F-Secure will run scans automatically in the background. You can also schedule scans to occur daily, weekly, or monthly. The automatic real-time protection is really good. It detected all of the test malware files I tried to download and prevented me from saving or running malware on my PC.
However, F-Secure’s scan options are slightly limited, especially compared to competitors like Norton. Norton provides a variety of options, such as a full system scan, quick scan, custom scan, and even a scan tailored to only high-risk files.
Is F-Secure compatible with my system?
To install F-Secure, you will need to run Windows 7, 8.1, 10, or 11, or macOS X 10.15 (Catalina) or later. If you want to protect a mobile device, you need to be running either Android 6.0 or later, or iOS 13.0 or later.
Will F-Secure slow down my device?
Not at all! During all testing and scans, F-Secure didn’t make a noticeable difference to the performance of my device. I was able to browse the internet, work on documents, and play music as normal even when a scan was happening.
This is because F-Secure uses a cloud-based scanning engine to perform its scans. Cloud-based scanners are generally much faster and easier on a device’s system.