360 Total Security is probably the only free antivirus provider out there that offers a whole Internet Security suite for free with tons of sophisticated bonus features.
Originally, this provider was known as Qihoo 360. The company still goes by this name, but its antivirus product is referred to as 360 Total Security.
Just like Tencent and Baidu, Qihoo 360 has been accused of cheating independent lab testing sites by sending in different versions of the product than the public ones so it can score well in the performance tests. (The difference is that Tencent and Baidu provided good reasons for including flags in their products that resulted in different product behavior. The differences didn't seem to give any significant advantage). In 2015, Qihoo primed the suite it sent to the testing labs so that the Bitdefender engine was turned on by default. Qihoo's response was that it assumes that its users will run on lower power computers and therefore the public version turns the Bitdefender engine off.
360 Total Security Dashboard - Qihoo
In this review, I will look beyond Qihoo's integrity to evaluate whether its products are worth a shot. Let's look beyond all the fancy features to judge whether the core antivirus engine can be classified as one of the top antivirus products.
360 Total Security is also known as Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (pronounced Chi-hoo).
It is a leading Internet security company in China and Hong Kong; by the end of 2014, the company boasted around 496 millions users.
Qihoo provides Internet and mobile security services and products to protect its users' PCs and mobile devices from malicious websites and malware. The products are supported by the Qihoo cloud-based security technology.
Key Points about 360 Total Security
For PCs, 360 Total Security offers 3 products, namely: the app store, a web browser, and a search engine. Mobile platform users have 2 channels in which to access the Internet: the app store and mobile web browser. They are known for 2 products: Total Security and Total Security Essentials, and both are free!
There is a premium version for a cost that is ad-free and includes a different visual theme.
This product uses two scanners from the top antivirus providers, Bitdefender and Avira. The company believes that the combination creates better security.
The interface has a modern design with a slick appearance that is easy to navigate with all the important information and control settings displayed on the main window for easy setup and use.
The main window displays the Full Check, and when users click the Check Now button, there are four scanner options: Virus Scan, Speedup, WiFi Security, and Cleanup. All these scans finish within 3 minutes because they are all quick scans. The full anti-malware scan can take up to to 2 hours the first time because it checks the system settings, running processes, common programs, and startup items before it scans all the files. A repeat scan will be around 30 minutes (more than half the time is cut off), which shows that the first scan performs system optimization to render faster future scans.
A large icon is displayed in the top-left corner called legend Protection when everything is configured correctly. The icon reveals three models of protections for the product: Performance, Balanced, and Security. By default the software is set to Balanced, but I would suggest changing it to Security mode for extra protection, if your hardware can handle the extra load.
360 Total Security is one of the only products that checks files with the scanner only when they are about to execute. If you change the protection mode from Balanced to Security, then the software will scan a file any time it is saved. When the software detects a malicious program that is trying to launch, there will be a big display warning message with a 30 second countdown for automatic removal.
There are a few settings that every user should change from the default values, for example: the Avira antivirus engine is absent by default and users should then download it in order to enable it. Users should also turn on the PUPs detection, as well as install the Qihoo add-ons for Firefox and Chrome (Internet Explorer gets installed automatically).
The system requirements are for Windows XP / Vista / 7-10 on a CPU of 1.6 GHz with 512 MB of RAM and 1 GB of free disk space.
Installation is quick and simple. There is a mini-installer which downloads and executes the latest version of the 360 Total Security full install program. I recommend that users check the box that enables the Bitdefender antivirus engine.
Users can even go online and vote for features and tools they think Qihoo needs to add, such as parental control, a network monitor, and a file shredder.
360 Connect is a the company's smartphone app that enables users to connect with family and friends from a remote location in order to give or receive help to navigate the product. This makes life easier for Android and iPhone users. All a user has to do is scan a QR code on the smartphone to install the application from the app store. The download will require the phone number and the verification code, and there is an optional link to Facebook. Then the user needs to pair with another member's Qihoo installation with the 360 Connect account by entering the phone number and accepting the connection. This user needs to approve the system check. Pairing allows the user to check the system status and run a full system check.
The anti-phishing protection is not the greatest and malware and malicious URL blocking is average. The add-ons don't prevent access to some malicious URLs.
There is no built-in firewall, but the user can click the Firewall setting and it brings up an installation offer for the free GlassWire Firewall.
There are lots of bonus features and tools besides for the core antivirus, such as: the System Backup and Tuneup cleaner, a Vulnerability Scanner, an Easy Speedup scanner, a Patch Up Scanner, a Registry Cleaner, Keylogger Protection, Data Hijacking Protection to fight ransomware, My Boot Time tab graphs, the History Tab, and the Beta Tool to gain more disk space. This is a lot for a free antivirus provider!
360 Total Security has a full suite of modules for an Internet Security suite, but it is not traditional in the sense that there is no online storage and anti-spam features. However, in saying that, there is a sandbox to try out new applications, a cleanup tool, as well as protection against browser scams and someone who wants to hack your webcam.
There is no doubt that for a free Internet Security suite, 360 Total Security impresses, but I expected a lot more when it comes to the core antivirus functions, which are the most important when selecting an antivirus. I thought that a double-powered engine by Bitdefender and Avira, both top antivirus providers, would place 360 Total Security right up there with them.
To conclude, I probably wouldn't recommend them over many of the other antivirus vendors, but you can give it a try if you desire.
Not many Internet Security packages are free, especially when it comes with tons of bonus sophisticated features and a scanner powered by two of the top antivirus providers, Bitdefender and Avira. This review will discuss whether 360 Total Security by Qihoo is worth a try and if the core antivirus functions live up to all the hype of the bonus features, seeing that the former is more important.
360 Total Security
Date published:March 11, 2018
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