Cylance Smart Antivirus is an endpoint security tool for the home user that can protect even one device. It claims to bring the power of enterprise virus scanning to the personal computing market, so I tested it to discover the truth behind the hype: whether its “AI based advanced threat prevention” could really do more than other solutions.
Smart Antivirus’s only tool is its scanning engine which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to find threats to your system. I used a mixture of malware, rootkits, and the test EICAR file on my Windows testing virtual machine. As soon as I had added the directories, they were detected in Smart Antivirus’ online dashboard.
But what about zero-day threats? I used a simulated piece of malware that gave itself root-level permissions. Again, the AI-component noticed the suspicious activity and successfully blocked the process from running.
The endpoint-oriented nature of Cylance Smart Antivirus might surprise users who are familiar with traditional antivirus programs. There’s no traditional user interface, and after clicking the program’s icon to open it, I realized it was already running. The program lives as a background process in the notification icon and can be undocked by right-clicking the icon and selecting an item from the context menu.
The popup client provides basic information about how many files the tool has analyzed and whether any detection events have been logged. Regardless of whether you’re using Windows or MacOS, the information is easily accessed through the online dashboard.
As part of its endpoint scanning agent, Cylance Smart Antivirus features an online dashboard where users interact with and control the product.
This displays a list of all devices associated with the account as well as their online or offline status. By navigating into individual devices, users can access basic technical information such as the computer’s MAC and IP addresses and a list of detected threats.
To release files from the quarantine folder, users can navigate to a system path, undo the .quarantine file extension, and move the files back to their original location on the filesystem.
Ease of use
All updates to the scanning agent happen silently and seamlessly in the background without generating so much as a popup box.
In fact, many users wouldn’t even notice that the program is installed and scanning their system in real-time. This makes it ideal for use within a multi-user environment, such as a household or family setting.
Cylance’s support resources were exceptionally helpful after I opened a support ticket on real-time detection of my system. I received a response within two hours.
Cylance also offers a very complete online knowledge-base filled with helpful information to resolve common and advanced problems. There’s also telephone support and a community forum where users can help one another out.
Cylance Smart Antivirus can be bought to protect a single device, a household plan of five devices, or a family plan of ten. All plans are available for one- or two-year subscriptions and include free support and a thirty-day money-back guarantee.
The product is priced on a sliding scale. For value and functionality, I recommend subscribing at the multi-device level.