Heimdal Security’s marketing team likes to brag that their software is the “most powerful, most advanced security suite” ever to be built. Most of the time, I find such claims to be exaggerated.
The next generation Thor Vigilance suite offers some of the most advanced malware detection abilities of any product on the market. I was immediately impressed that it intercepted all of the samples I tested, including macro viruses, malware pieces, and a trojan. The on-demand scanning tool allows users to choose from seven unique scanning methods—which is the most comprehensive range of options to date. The list includes a quick scan, which scanned my directories in under five minutes, and an active processes scan which checks all running processes for threats.
Real-Time, Deep Level Packet Inspection
The “DarkLayer Guard” feature was equally outstanding. This features a real-time, two-way traffic scanning engine which monitors all DNS, HTTP, and HTTPS packets. The tool is able to stop suspicious packets from transmitting as soon as they are detected. I had barely installed Premium Home when it blocked an outbound connection within Google Chrome to dailyuploads.net, a known malware source.
The X-Ploit Resilience feature ensures there are no potentially unpatched vulnerabilities. Users can tag any programs that require a constant internet connection such as a web browser and remote support tools like TeamViewer. Active monitoring can be configured on a per-application basis, and the auto-update feature can also be manually toggled on and off. The TTPC (Threat To Process Correlation) tool allows users to inspect processes that Thor blocked and release them if appropriate.
The virus scanning tool includes an infections area where files are divided into definitely infected files and suspicious files. Users then manually inspect them and determine what action they would like to take.
Finally, the scanning section produces activity reports with a timestamped list of previous scans. I would have liked a little more detail about each scan (such as how many directions were scanned, how long the scan took, and what was found), but it did allow me to see how up-to-date my system was.
Thor Premium Home has a couple of add-on components that substantially improve the overall product.
This utility keeps track of device-to-infrastructure communications, which are deep level processes within the system (like viruses attempting to corrupt the system firmware). This “second-generation detection” layer promises to weed out malware strains that other products miss by scanning for threats to the system’s hardware.
To keep users up-to-speed on cybersecurity news, Heimdal has included an educational module in the product. The resource divides itself into several useful learning tracks, such as “Cybersecurity for Beginners” and the “Windows 10 Security Guide”. I found the Cybersecurity Glossary particularly helpful as it explained some of the proprietary terminology that Premium Home features throughout the program.
Ease of Use
Installing Thor requires downloading an installation file from the website and allowing it to begin a definitions update. Once installed, a tool called “Heimdal Agent” launches the main dashboard. The program is well-designed and the dashboard puts common features like the “Quick Scan” tool available at the click of a mouse. Users are also able to choose between three skins for the user interface (UI).
Unfortunately, Heimdal hasn’t put their support resources directly within the app, but clicking “FAQ” and “Support” link to well-developed resources on the company’s website. The comprehensive documentation provides an in-depth explanation of every feature. Heimdal also maintains “Known Issues” and “Announcements” sections to keep users up-to-date with any bugs in the product.
Support is delivered through an email ticketing system. The representative I dealt with (Ciprian) was extremely helpful, and even joined a remote TeamViewer session to help me resolve an installation difficulty (full disclosure: I was searching for “Thor” rather than “Heimdal” in the menu; the program had already successfully installed).
Although live chat and telephone support are missing, the company has committed itself to ambitious service level agreements (SLAs) for its customers, and I received responses well within those timeframes.
Thor Premium Home is available for one to three years and one to ten PCs can be covered. As usual, the value increases substantially as you extend the purchasing period and buy more licenses. Given the fact that Thor packs some very comprehensive protection into this product, I think the tool represents good value for money.