HitmanPro Review: Quick Expert Summary
HitmanPro.Alert (by Sophos) offers a good Windows-only antivirus scanner with strong exploit protections, but its real-time protection is weak, it doesn’t have phishing protection, and its extra features are all pretty bad. Honestly, there are many better antivirus programs out there — premium antiviruses like Norton, Bitdefender, or McAfee all offer perfect malware detection and removal rates, a wide range of useful extras, intuitive dashboards across all operating systems, and excellent customer support. And if you’re looking for minimalistic antivirus software at a budget-friendly price, I recommend you take a look at Sophos Home Premium.
HitmanPro is an extremely basic on-demand anti-malware scanner, but the upgraded HitmanPro.Alert plan offers HitmanPro’s scanner along with a lot more features, including:
- Real-time malware detection.
- Web protection.
- Password dumping protection.
- Remote session protection.
- Webcam protection.
HitmanPro.Alert’s malware scanner worked well during my tests, catching around 90% of the malware samples I downloaded onto my Windows computer. However, HitmanPro.Alert was unable to detect and block the majority of malware threats in real-time, which is a pretty big problem for an internet security suite.
Many of HitmanPro.Alert’s web protections were successful in my testing, blocking all browser-based exploit attacks, but HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t offer any protection against phishing sites.
Unfortunately, HitmanPro.Alert lacks a lot of essential security features that I want to see in an antivirus program in 2023, like a firewall, anti-phishing protection, parental controls, a VPN, a password manager, and even mobile apps — similarly priced competitors such as Norton and Bitdefender include these features and provide better real-time malware protection as well as coverage across a good variety of operating systems.
Compared to the top antiviruses on the market, HitmanPro.Alert isn’t a good value. If you’re looking for an affordable antivirus option with real-time scanning and web protections, there are plenty of free antivirus options that are better than HitmanPro.Alert. However, you can check out HitmanPro and HitmanPro.Alert for free with a 30-day free trial and decide for yourself if they’re worth your money in 2023.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#53 out of 72 antiviruses|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💸 Starting Price||$24.95 / year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||Anytime|
|📀 Operating System|
HitmanPro.Alert Full Review
HitmanPro.Alert is a minimal antivirus program with a good malware scanner but weak additional features.
HitmanPro.Alert offers real-time malware scanning, as well as protection from browser-based exploits, USB attacks, remote session hacking, and password dumping. Unfortunately, HitmanPro.Alert’s real-time protection was really ineffective in my testing, detecting only 40% of my malware samples — which is pretty bad. Competitors like Norton, Bitdefender, and McAfee all caught 100% of the malware files in our real-time protection tests.
HitmanPro — which is only an on-demand antivirus scanner — and HitmanPro.Alert are both available for 30-day free trials and pretty affordable annual subscriptions.
HitmanPro.Alert Security Features
Virus Scanner (HitmanPro)
HitmanPro’s virus scanner compares files on your computer with 4 databases of known malware threats, including its own cloud-based database, as well as the databases run by SophosLabs, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender. This allows HitmanPro to catch a really broad range of malware, but it can’t detect zero-day threats because it doesn’t use heuristics or machine learning like Norton and McAfee do.
HitmanPro has 3 scan options:
- Full scan. Scans the entire disk for malware.
- Quick scan. Scans temporary files and critical folders for malware.
- Scheduled scan. Schedule a time and day to run a quick or full system scan.
I tested the scanner by downloading an archive containing nearly one thousand malware samples, including viruses, computer worms, trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, rootkits, and cryptojackers. I hid the samples in different locations across my hard drive, including hard-to-reach areas like system folders.
HitmanPro’s quick scan took 4 minutes to complete, which is better than most competitors — even top antiviruses like McAfee took 10 minutes to finish a quick scan of my system.
HitmanPro’s quick scanner found 90% of the malware on my system and also flagged some potentially unwanted programs that I didn’t know about — this is a great result from a quick scan.
The full scanner took 30 minutes to complete, and it found 92% of my test malware files. This is a pretty good result, although premium competitors like Norton and Bitdefender are able to detect 100% of malware during full system scans.
I didn’t notice any CPU drain when using HitmanPro’s scanner. I was able to stream HD video and even run CPU/GPU intensive video games, which I was unable to do with some other antivirus programs.
HitmanPro isn’t as effective as premium competitors that use traditional signature-based scanning along with machine learning and heuristics to catch 100% of malware files, but I like its lightweight scanner, which uses 4 separate databases of known malware signatures to detect unsafe files.
Real-Time Malware Protection
HitmanPro.Alert’s real-time protection is supposed to detect any malware file before you download or run it on your system — but it didn’t work very well in my testing.
I tried to download my malware cache of nearly a thousand different files on a clean computer with HitmanPro.Alert running on it — but the real-time protection only detected around 40% of my malware test files, which is a really bad result.
HitmanPro.Alert does have some decent real-time exploit protections, which can detect and block malware and exploits from attacking background processes. This is a useful feature for blocking malware that’s already running on your system, but I’d prefer a real-time protection feature that could more accurately stop malware from being downloaded and run in the first place, like the real-time protection offered by Norton.
While HitmanPro.Alert’s exploit protections are pretty impressive, they don’t make up for the ineffective real-time malware scanner. Until HitmanPro.Alert can improve this feature, I can’t recommend users rely on this program for real-time malware protection — however, you can check our list of the best antivirus programs to find products with high-quality real-time protections.
HitmanPro.Alert’s web protection adds exploit protections to your web browser, monitors your browser for vulnerabilities, and encrypts your keystrokes. It’s a decent set of web protections, but HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t block dangerous phishing websites (Avira and McAfee both offer good exploit and phishing detection in their web shields).
The keystroke encryption doesn’t work either. It’s supposed to disguise anything you type into your web browser, stopping hackers from using keyloggers to intercept and steal your personally identifiable information (PII), such as passwords and credit card details. However, HitmanPro.Alert wasn’t actually encrypting my keystrokes. I used a keylogging test tool on my Windows 10 computer, and it was able to capture everything I entered.
Hackers will have access to much more advanced tools that can steal your PII. If you want an antivirus with keylogging protection, you should check out our 5 best antiviruses with keylogger protection.
The web exploit protection worked well, detecting and blocking all of the exploits in my testing. Browser-based exploits are a really common method of malware incursion, so I was happy to see that HitmanPro.Alert was able to block some exploits that even some advanced competitors (like Avira) missed in my testing.
Overall, HitmanPro.Alert’s web protections offer good defense against dangerous browser-based exploits, but not much else. I’d like to see HitmanPro.Alert add phishing detection, tracker blocking, and more effective keylogger protection to its web protections. However, if you’re looking for an advanced tool to protect your devices from the latest exploit attacks, HitmanPro.Alert is a good choice.
The password protection included in HitmanPro.Alert is a specific tool to prevent Mimikatz-style password theft attacks — which aren’t very common at all in 2023. These are a type of exploit attack in which hackers take advantage of a Windows feature known as WDigest. This feature loads encrypted passwords into memory, which hackers can then dump and steal from.
However, in Windows 10, WDigest is turned off by default. Meaning unless you’re running an older version of Windows, have manually turned Wdigest on, or have already been infected with malware that can activate WDigest, then the password protection doesn’t really do anything. If you’re on an older version of Windows, the best protection against password dumping and other exploit attacks is to upgrade your operating system.
Overall, the password protection on HitmanPro.Alert is a pretty useless passive protection. Especially if you consider that comprehensive password managers like Dashlane — which offer strong AES-256 encryption (the same banks use) — are available on the market for a cheap monthly subscription.
Remote Session Protection
HitmanPro.Alert’s Remote Session Protection is a pretty cool security feature to protect against hackers that could remotely access and hack your computer. When someone is accessing your computer remotely, HitmanPro.Alert stops them from running any applications they download onto your computer. It also removes all administrative permissions from applications, making it harder for them to make changes to your PC.
This is a great defense against rootkits and other viruses that allow hackers access to your PC without you knowing, and it worked really well in my testing. I tried a remote session on my PC and couldn’t access any executables or binary files that I tried to open.
The tool also allows you to create a 2-factor token file that can unlock a session should you trust the person remotely accessing your PC.
However, HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t include a firewall, which is a helpful tool that can keep hackers from initiating a connection with your device in the first place — competitors like Bitdefender include useful firewalls in their plans.
Overall, HitmanPro.Alert’s Remote Session Protection feature is a helpful tool for keeping your device safe from invasive hacking attempts and remote access tools like rootkits and cryptojackers.
HitmanPro.Alert isn’t a very feature-rich antivirus. However, it also comes with:
- Webcam protection.
- BadUSB protection.
- Sandbox-aware malware protection.
The webcam protection is pretty disappointing. When your camera is accessed, HitmanPro.Alert displays an alert saying your webcam is being monitored, but it doesn’t stop the actual monitoring. Bitdefender, one of the most feature-rich antiviruses on the market, has webcam protection that actively blocks unauthorized apps or computers from accessing your webcam.
However, the other additional features are pretty cool. BadUSB protection defends against the BadUSB exploit attack, which targets vulnerable USB software (it can even inject viruses into your PC and steal your data). HitmanPro.Alert can detect BadUSB and stop it from running, although I would like to see HitmanPro.Alert just include total USB hacking protection like Norton does.
The sandbox-aware malware protection tricks malware files into thinking that your system is a virtual machine, which can trigger some advanced malware files (like rootkits) to remove themselves from your computer to avoid detection. It’s a clever tool that could be helpful against advanced malware files.
But overall, HitmanPro.Alert has a disappointing range of additional features. Its specialized BadUSB and fake sandbox anti-malware tools are pretty good, but HitmanPro.Alert isn’t a great choice if you’re looking for a comprehensive suite with lots of additional features to fully protect you in 2023.
Plans and Pricing
Sophos offers two versions of its HitmanPro software for Windows users only. Both packages come with a 30-day free trial.
HitmanPro — On-Demand Virus Scanner (Windows Only)
HitmanPro is just a simple anti-malware scanner — it’s pretty good, but also very minimal, and it doesn’t even offer real-time malware detection.
However, Avira, Bitdefender, and Norton all offer free anti-malware scanners, so you can just use one of those instead. Avira and Bitdefender’s free antivirus programs even offer free real-time protection — but HitmanPro is available with a 30-day free trial if you still want to give it a shot.
HitmanPro.Alert — Weak Real-Time Protection (Not Worth It)
HitmanPro.Alert is a more advanced package. It comes with the malware scanner as well as:
- Real-time protection.
- Web protection.
- Password dumping protection.
- Remote session protection.
- Webcam protection.
Most of these extra features didn’t work very well, so I don’t think this plan is a worthwhile investment. The real-time protection allowed me to download malware, the web protection didn’t block phishing sites, and the password dumping protection isn’t needed for users on the latest Windows OS. You’re much better off getting a comprehensive antivirus suite such as Norton, which can successfully protect you from all of these risks and more.
But there’s a free 30-day trial of HitmanPro.Alert, so you can give it a try and decide for yourself if it’s worth your money.
HitmanPro.Alert Ease of Use and Setup
HitmanPro and HitmanPro.Alert are both straightforward to set up and use.
HitmanPro is only 10MB in size, so it’s really quick to download, and you can run it without installation.
HitmanPro.Alert has to be installed, but it took less than 5 minutes to download and set up. It includes HitmanPro (the malware scanner) as a separate application.
HitmanPro.Alert’s interface is really simple. A full malware scan can be started with one click. You can also access the quick scan from a simple dropdown menu.
The settings button allows you to schedule scans and adjust various options — such as whether the malware scanner should scan for tracking cookies or potentially unwanted applications.
Scheduling scans is easy. All you have to do is choose between a quick or regular scan, select a day and time you want the scan to run, and hit OK.
The settings menu also provides access to the quarantine vault, containing logs of every scan completed.
HitmanPro.Alert’s UI includes a lot of specific features and protections, but it’s still straightforward to navigate.
You can access each feature from 4 large buttons and enable/disable individual features depending on your needs.
However, I don’t like how hard it is to initiate a quick scan in HitmanPro.Alert. If you click the “Anti-Malware” button, the only option is to scan the entire computer. This opens the separate HitmanPro application and automatically initiates a full system scan.
To access the different scanning options, you have to open the separate HitmanPro application manually before adjusting the settings, and not HitmanPro.Alert.
Overall, however, HitmanPro and HitmanPro.Alert are fairly accessible and easy to use.
HitmanPro.Alert Customer Support
HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t have many options for customer support. If you need help, you can access:
- Email support.
- FAQs (online knowledge base).
I sent an email asking for more information about one of the specific background process protection features. The support team replied in 2 days and were really informative and knowledgeable.
Even so, I was disappointed in the time it took HitmanPro.Alert to reply. When I emailed McAfee, they got back to me within a couple of hours.
The FAQ section is informative, but it doesn’t cover a lot of topics. It walks through the basic issues you may encounter while installing and using HitmanPro.Alert, but more advanced users will have difficulty finding information on more complex problems.
Other antiviruses have more comprehensive knowledge bases with instructional videos and in-depth instructions — for example, Norton’s knowledge base includes forums that are populated by tech support people and users that answer complicated questions in detail.
Overall, HitmanPro.Alert’s customer support isn’t very good. While informative, the email support team was slow to reply. What’s more, HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t provide a comprehensive knowledge base, live chat, or phone support — something many competitors offer.
Can HitmanPro.Alert Fully Protect Your Devices?
HitmanPro.Alert offers good malware scanning, but it doesn’t have good real-time protection and it lacks many useful extras. There’s also no Mac or mobile support, meaning HitmanPro.Alert isn’t a good option to protect all of your devices.
HitmanPro.Alert’s remote session protection and exploit protections are pretty impressive, but the real-time protection and password protection are pretty bad. The real-time protection failed to capture any malware sample downloads in my tests, and when I ran a keylogger tester on my computer, it could still capture my keystrokes despite HitmanPro.Alert running keystroke encryption.
Overall, HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t do anything that sets it apart from its more affordable and full-featured competitors. If you’re looking for a low-cost, lightweight antivirus program there are better free options available, and if you want to invest in a secure paid antivirus, competitors like Norton and Bitdefender offer much better protections.
That said, if you want to try HitmanPro or HitmanPro.Alert, both programs offer risk-free 30 day trials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is HitmanPro.Alert free?
HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t provide any free packages or money-back guarantees. However, it does offer a 30-day free trial. If you’re looking for a 100% free antivirus program, you can check out our list of the best free Windows antiviruses (spoiler alert: Avira is our number one free antivirus for 2023).
Is HitmanPro.Alert a good antivirus?
Not really. HitmanPro.Alert includes a decent on-demand malware scanner. When I tested the scanner, it captured 90% of the malware samples I had hidden in my computer. However, I had issues with some of the features in HitmanPro.Alert — the real-time malware protection and keystroke protection didn’t work well in my testing at all.
If you just want to scan for malware, then HitmanPro.Alert is a decent option, but its buggy real-time protection keeps it from being a good internet security suite for most users. If you’re looking for a comprehensive antivirus suite with good antivirus scanning, real-time protection, web protections, and more, then I’d recommend Norton, Bitdefender, or McAfee instead.
Can You Get HitmanPro.Alert for Android, Mac, or iOS?
Unfortunately, HitmanPro.Alert doesn’t offer any protections for Android, iOS, or Mac. HitmanPro.Alert is only available for Windows. If you’re looking for an antivirus that offers good protection for all of those other platforms, I recommend Norton, Bitdefender, TotalAV, McAfee, or Avira. Or you can read our lists of the best antiviruses for Android, Mac, and iOS if you’re looking for coverage on a specific platform.