F-SECURE TOTAL Internet security and VPN Review

Fortress or Casita, What's your defence?
F-SECURE TOTAL Internet security and VPN

 

Review by:  Jennifer Griffiths 

Video & Testing by: Philip Griffiths

Introduction :

 

Usually, I start off my introductions with a bit of quick wit and a little humour.  Today is different.  Today I am totally serious.  Why?  Because our topic is one that should not be taken lightly.  I am talking about Internet Security.  Over the years I have found some that left me with about as much protection as an umbrella in a hurricane. Yep, that bad.  When the guys at F-Secure asked me to review their product, I was anxious to have a look.  Most of us want protection, something that is easy to use, easy to install and set up, and a price we can afford.  I know this because I sell antivirus every day that my store is open.  I am the go-to for protection.  I will tell you if what you have is utter rubbish in less time than it takes to bat your eyes.  My customers thank me for it.  They want to be protected.  

So, grab a chair and read on.  This is one of my Must Reads.  

 

  • Main Features:

  • Virus Protection

  • Browsing and banking protection

  • Parental Control

  • Private and Protected

  • Virtual Location

  • Wi-Fi Security

  • Password Storage

  • Password Synchronization

 

 

Vocabulary:

  • Password Manager- assists in generating and retrieving complex passwords, potentially storing such passwords on an encrypted database or calculating them on demand.  

 

  • Password synchronization- is a process, usually supported by software such as password managers through which a user maintains a single password across multiple IT systems. 

 

*Now read those carefully and let the meanings soak in just a bit.*        (definitions can be found on Wikipedia.com)

Disclaimer:

With password managers, you are basically putting all of your eggs in one basket.  The problem is if someone ever cracks your master "egg" they have access to the rest.  We do not recommend Password Managers because of this.   For example, the password manager called OneLogin was hacked exposing sensitive customer data and a few months prior to that, another popular password manager LastPass also suffered security issues.

 

Yes, they do what they say they will, but we do not recommend them.  

F-secures statment 

"

  1. F-Secure is 30 years old security and privacy company and does know the threats that might come with putting all passwords into same place. I would like tell little bit more how we have done the saving of passwords to avoid this.

    1. None of the passwords are stored either on the cloud or on F-Secure servers. They are only on customers devices and being crypted on those behind the master password

    2. if customer installs more devices on his/her F-Secure Key account the devices are syncing between the devices and creates a backup of your passwords. So F-Secure servers are just creating secure link between the devices to sync and save information. not storing it on any time.

  2. This leads up into situation that even on really unlikely event F-Secure would be compromised, the customers private information wouldn’t!

  3. More unsecure is to use same credentials on many services and this is common for the customers if they are not using password software. Most leaked credentials are coming from hacked services than hacked password software’s. Please check the site: have I been pwned (https://haveibeenpwned.com/)"

 

TFT- We still stand by our statement.

 

Manufacturer statement:

F Secure TOTAL combines the award-winning security of SAFE and the easy to use privacy app FREEDOM VPN  into one subscription.  This gives you complete security and privacy on all your devices.

 


About F-Secure :

The security software is provided by F-Secure which is a Finnish cybersecurity company with more than 30 years' experience and an impeccable record in maintaining customer trust.  

 

Packaging/Unboxing/Installation:

 

 

 

This is a very eco-friendly package.  It comes on a card the size of a debit or credit card.  It is not pre-wrapped.  The licence is on the back of the card.  There are also easy to follow install instructions.  
 
You will need an email address to set up your account.  Go to www.f-secure.com/totalvip then create an account.  Enter your subscription code from the back of the card.  Install F-Secure SAFE on your device/s and if you choose to you can install the FREEDOM VPN next.  It is not mandatory to install the VPN if you do not want it but it is there for those that do.   At the same point, you can install KEY which is the password manager.  I did not install this feature for reason already mentioned.  I do not recommend password managers.  However, if you like them, KEY is built into this subscription and you can install that.  
Antivirus:
SAFE has an anti-virus to protect your files from infections.  The F-Secure Security Cloud is an updated online database of malware programs.  Files are scanned before they reach your computer.  Even if the definition is not yet identified as a virus, F-Secure has something called DeepGuard that uses artificial intelligence to analyze the behaviour of the files you download and block them if they are acting suspiciously.
 
So, how did it do in tests?  It ran very quietly.  So much so, that Phil did not realize I had put it on till he got locked out of YouTube when I was testing Parental Controls.  Oopsie!  I scanned daily to find the following results:  Items Scanned 9535  No harmful items found.  (this was the result on every scan)  F-Secure will provide you with a detailed report that you can print out should you choose to do so.  The total scan time was just over one minute.  I would like to add that the printed report looks very professional and the security was not annoying in my daily tasks.  
 
VPN:
You have to download the VPN separately from your account.  The VPN software promises that it will protect your privacy and let you access your favourite streaming services when abroad.  While we could not go abroad just to test this, to my sorrow, what we decided to do was connect up to the two most popular streaming services (Amazon Prime and Netflix) using the VPN to a server in Germany and the United States.  In theory, this should allow us to watch American and German content on these popular servers.  When we logged in to these services it did show us the thumbnails of the localized content.  But, when clicking on the content, you would get an error message about it not being available in your location.  From our experience, this is one of the main reasons why people want VPN software.  
 
Obviously, you get security benefits from VPN where whatever you are doing not supposed to be monitored and recorded.  When doing this we found that our internet speed seemed very sluggish.  We found that the internet speed dropped from just under 300 Mbps down to 40 to 70 Mbps.  (Even when the VPN was set in the UK)  
 
So the basics are:  you have to weigh up security benefits with performance.  Not all websites will be fooled by the VPN of course.  
 
F-secures statment 
  1. F-Secure Freedom VPN

    1. Connections through our servers are limited and you are absolutely right that it slows down. all added layers to connection does that. more important is how much it slows down and what are the benefits of having VPN on

      1. benefits

        1. especially on devices that you carry with you must be protected with VPN. Why? because on those devices you often use untrusted WIFI and similar networks, and you CANT know if those are compromised. To create safe connection at any time please advice all customers use some trusted VPN service. This applies especially when travelling abroad and needs to pay expensive data roaming costs on mobile network and many are using instead the wifi on nearest café..

        2. changing geo location to stream on favorite services.

          1. more and more content owners (production companies) are demanding content providers (Netflix etc) to limit VPN and proxy usage. This is something that we cant do any thing and is also a issue for all VPN vendors.

Parental Control:
We had a look at this.  This is something that many customers want to see more of and be able to choose exactly what their kids see and what they DON'T see.  There is a full list of tick boxes and content that you may opt out of for your child.  Anything that has Adult Content, Drugs, Alcohol and Tabacco, Hate, Dating, Social Networks, Disturbing, Gambling, Illegal, Violence, Weapons, Shopping and Auctions, and Anonymizers, Unknown
 
I like this a lot.  However, there are some social networks for kids, so you may want to be careful to not block their favourite places in choosing this one.  The great thing about kids not accessing gambling and shopping sites is you don't wake up to your bank account drained over a night of online poker or a brand new game PC being delivered that you did not know you ordered because your kid was on his favourite auction site.  This along with good judgement from parents can prove very beneficial.  
 
You can also set the total time per day your child is online.  You can set different rules for weekends and weekdays.  You can also set Bedtime for Windows-based systems where the device can not be used during a certain time period.  (ie after midnight and before
8AM etc) 
 
I would encourage anyone with kids to have this on their machines.
 
There is another thing called the Finder that allows you to locate a child's lost or stolen phone.  But it could potentially help locate a lost child or vulnerable adult.  So this works in a few scenarios.  

Online Banking:

 

F-Secure says that it will shut down all connections and programs it does not consider secure when you log into your bank account.  I logged into my account, I had Facebook open, Youtube, Outlook, Amazon and Google open and I was logged into them.  I logged into my bank account, there was pop up that came at the top saying something about protection but it went away faster than I could read it.  I was still getting notifications from facebook, email was still coming through, the works.  I guess all of those are considered safe.  It does not tell what it does not consider safe though.  I would think that social media would be unsafe.  I can't comment further on the protection because it left me wondering what it actually did.  It may have worked it may not have.  

F-secures statment 

  1. online banking

    1. The reason for this feature is mostly designed man-in-the-middle and compromised sites. All trusted connections on your computer keeps on working but all unknown or harmful sites and connections will be blocked.

      1. This gives you an extra layer of protection when doing online banking or web shopping.


 

Pricing:

 

  • £69.99 1 year 3 devices (retail)

  • £89.99 1 year 5 devices (retail)
     

Suppliers:


 

Conclusion:

To sum it up, this is a very good security program.  While I may be a little funny about passwords and stuff, the product on a whole is a good one.  Without meaning to sound harsh, I think they may have overloaded this just a bit.  It's as if they saw bits and bobs that other companies offered and tried to pack it all into one program.  I could have done with it being the Antivirus, Parental Control, and maybe Online Banking as a bonus.  I'm still not clear about what it actually did though.  Key parts, if I had to leave them out, would be the VPN and the Password Protector.  The VPN slows you to a crawl and that is something that either needs to be improved upon or just set aside to be bought separately by those that need it.  Same with password protector.  I guess you could say it needs a little trim, not a hair cut but a trim.  By doing so, they could go from good stuff to excellent product.  
 

Stand out point:  Parental controls are awesome.  I would highly recommend it to a family.  

 

Pros:

  • Parental Control

  • Eco-Friendly Packaging

  • Ease of installation

  • Runs very quietly

  • Virus scan is very quick and easy

  • Detailed printed report if you want it looks very professional.

  • Finder on the Parental Control that lets you find a lost or stolen phone could potentially help find a lost child if they had their phone.

  • Finder on the Parental Control could help monitor where your kids are. 

  • Bedtime for kids.  
     

Cons:

  • VPN makes the internet speed go to a snail pace

  • I'm still in the dark about what Online Banking did or did not do.

  • A little over packed full of goodies that a lot of people do not need for my liking.

  • Price is a bit steep. 

     

 

 

 

They got a Gold Award for this product.