Cylance Smart Antivirus might be a light antivirus solution from Cylance Inc, the AI-based security company that Blackberry just purchased for $ 1.4 billion.
The program does not detect threats based on their file signatures, instead of relying on its “artificial intelligence engine” to do so.
This method has little influence on your system’s performance. Smart Antivirus doesn’t need to regularly download bulk definition files, for example, or hog your disk drive to run full system scans.
It doesn’t even have a ‘Scan’ button – all you have to try is to leave the program running, let it scan executables as they are accessed or started, and any threats must be blocked before they do any harm.
A seemingly effective malware hunter, but poorly featured and poorly presented in an awkward-to-use interface that can’t match the consumer-oriented competition.
Pros & Cons
- We block all of our malware samples.
- Web administration console
- Very few features
- No judgment
- Clunky interface
- There are no recent results from testing labs.
Another major benefit of this AI-like approach is that, in theory, at the very least, you should be better equipped to immediately identify new and undiscovered threats.
While others await updates to their definitions, which can only come after the threat has been recognized, too late for those who have been infected, Cylance Smart Antivirus aims to be smart enough to select the new dangers as soon as appear.
Pricing & Plans
Pricing options are simple, with three purchase plans varying only based on the number of devices they cover.
This is a good value if you are covering one computer, not so much if you are covering multiple devices. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus can cost relatively $ 38.99 (£ 29.99) for one device, a one-year license.
For example, but a big discount means that a two-year license for ten devices is only $ 116.99 (£ 89.99) and only $ 89.99. 162.49 (£ 124.99) for three years. that would mean paying a minimum of $ 5.41 (£ 4.16) per year per device.
Unfortunately, there is no trial version for Smart Antivirus. Cylance offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but the EULA page suggests that this is usually more conditional than usual.
You won’t necessarily get your refund unless the company agrees that there has been a breach of your limited warranty (“Licensed Software will function substantially in accordance with Documentation provided by us in reference to that Software at the time of purchase.”)
We don’t know if Cylance will always use that standard when deciding to affect a refund request, but that’s how they could, and that’s a slight concern.
Getting started with Cylance Smart Antivirus starts with choosing your preferred plan and turning in your cash.
After creating a Cylance account, you are ready to log into the Smart Antivirus web console, where most of the program’s management functions are located.
Add the current device to your account and thus the website presents you with Smart Antivirus clients for Windows and Mac.
We downloaded and installed the Windows integration in just a couple of seconds. It proved to be relatively lightweight by modern standards, with Smart Antivirus requiring just 180MB of disk space, and its two background processes generally use less than 60MB of RAM.
There’s an honest reason for this lack of resource grabbing, of course: Smart Antivirus is strictly antivirus-only, and even that is simpler than most apps.
There is no URL filtering here, for example, no spam blocking, no specialized bank protection, no password manager, no file shredder, or any of the opposing security extras you’ll often see elsewhere.
Smart Antivirus is intended to be a real ‘set and forget’ tool, where ideally once you have installed it, you will never see the program interface again.
That philosophy will not be to everyone’s liking, but there is little doubt that it simplifies life and after installation, you are ready to continue your computing life as usual.
Smart Antivirus features a remarkably short list of features, as we’ve already discussed, and there are only a few ways to regulate or interact with the package.
The program console, for example, displays only basic status information: an event log and an inventory of any quarantined threats. There is nothing you do with this data, apart from checking it, and even then, it doesn’t make the most sense that we would like it to.
The Events panel initially showed a record of serious discoveries and actions, for example, even as we expected. But later that day, all of these disappeared.
We could consult the Threats tab to determine an inventory of quarantined files, but there was nothing within the Events area that offered us an explanation or context.
Experienced users may want to investigate a quarantined file further, but Cylance does not thank you for the help, nor the maximum amount as an “Open file location” option. Right-click on a quarantined file and each one you will see maybe a “File Properties” option, and even that were permanently grayed out to us.
By default, there are no other local options. Smart Antivirus does not have a Scan button, because it automatically detects and handles executables as they are accessed. And it doesn’t have any local settings, beyond the ability to display notifications on or off.
The program has an “advanced mode” with a couple more functions, although this is often very hidden. Rather than having something like an ‘Advanced Mode’ menu item that it will select and override.
Cylance hopes that users will travel online, find the link for the Smart Antivirus manual, without realizing or caring that it is actually titled ‘ CylanceProtect Home Edition ‘, find the knowledge about’ advanced mode ‘, then change the Cylance shortcut to include an’ -a ‘instruction switch and restart the program.
Anyone who tries will find a variety of newer options to run background or specific folder scans, log more or different information, or delete your quarantined files.
These are very basic and poorly presented within the interface as they are hidden at the bottom of the systray icon context menu, but we are happy to determine them anyway.
Head over to Cylance’s web panel and you’ll find a couple more settings. In addition to the power to show automatic protection on or off, the interface suggests that it can help you manage your quarantined files.
Manage a safelist where you are theoretically ready to whitelist files that Smart Antivirus could detect, but he’s sure they are. safe.
This kind of works, but in a more cumbersome way than you might expect from an area client-based interface.
The “How to Safe List a File” page asks you to manually enter the SHA256 of your destination file in an Internet form. If, understandably, a user has no idea what a SHA256 (essentially, a signature for the file) is, the page suggests that they just temporarily close security to allow the file to run.
So, let’s be clear. Cylance hides a useful function on an Internet page; he is making the method ridiculously complicated; and instead of implementing or explaining how to simplify this (by manually copying the SHA256 from the local client to the clipboard, for example), he suggests users disable their own protection every time they need the program to run.
That’s not all. Although the page is titled “How to put a file on the safe list”, this is the method to add a file to the quarantine list. The panel does not have the option to manually add a file to the safe list, as we write.
A four-month-old user comment on the page, explains this and adds other sensible ideas, but Cylance seems to have made only one change, in response: he has disabled the option for anyone else to discuss the page.
We suspect these design principles come from Cylance’s enterprise products, where limiting what users can do locally can be an excellent idea, having the ability to throttle them from a central web console is another major advantage, and administrators know exactly what. which means SHA256.
However, the shopper’s world can be a very different place, and it’s as if Cylance is putting out a great deal of work before starting to figure out what home users will expect.
Knowing how well any antivirus protects against threats is vital, and we typically take a look at AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, and other test labs to help us determine this.
But that’s not an option here because Cylance hasn’t been tested by any of the major labs for a couple of years. (The company accused the labs of bad practice, but we don’t have the space to affect that; Cylance’s search tests in the background.)
Our own small-scale tests can’t compete with the major labs, but we outfitted a virtual machine with 20 malware samples and began to understand how Cylance Smart Antivirus would work.
The results were impressive, with all 20 blocked before they could run (our real-world ransomware samples were unable to encrypt a file).
The only small problem was a false positive from a custom program of your own. This was a surprise because it is a small and simple application, that does not do anything even slightly dangerous and has never been flagged by the other antiviruses that we have reviewed.
But this was the only file we had a dragon, and once we restored it from quarantine, we were able to run the file as usual.
As a final test, we ran our own ransomware simulator on the Cylance-protected system and waited to determine what would happen. Since it was custom code, Smart Antivirus wouldn’t have seen it before, making for a more interesting behavioral test.
And thus the results were a bit disappointing, with our simulator allowed to run to completion, encrypting thousands of test files.
Although this cannot match the performance of Bitdefender and Kaspersky products, which managed to bypass our simulator and restore any encrypted files, we do not flag any antivirus significantly for ignoring it.
This flaw has to be a small concern, but the truth is that Smart Antivirus blocked all of our actual ransomware samples, easily, and that’s the proof that matters the most.
Cylance Smart Antivirus did well in our simple malware tests, but we may want it to be reviewed by major labs to get a full idea of its capabilities. Even an awkward and frustrating interface refresh would be welcome, though if you accept it, the package deserves a better look.
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