Back when the idea of a computer virus was brand new, antivirus software simply scanned documents for known infections and fixed them whenever they could. Malware techniques and types have developed exponentially since that time, as have techniques for combating these new attacks. Heuristic detection, behavioral analysis, sandboxing, and many other advanced features go into many modern antivirus programs. And Cylance Smart Antivirus uses none of these recognizable practices. Rather, this security program relies completely on artificial intelligence and machine learning on how to differentiate malware from legitimate programs. According to our hands-on evaluations and some commissioned laboratory tests, it appears to work.
Cylance has existed since 2012, but the company originally focused on business- and enterprise-level endpoint protection. Cylance Smart Antivirus brings the same technology to customers, and it is relatively inexpensive. A single license costs $29 per year, whereas popular products such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Webroot go for $39.99. Cylance’s $69 household package lets you set up security on five machines, Windows or macOS. And for $99 you get the 10-device family package. If even that is not enough permits, you may consider McAfee; for $59.99 annually you can install McAfee AntiVirus Plus protection on all devices in your home, Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS.
Limited Independent Lab Testing
Cylance is a famous title in business endpoint security, but this item is the business’s first consumer-level product. Because it is so new, the independent testing labs that I follow have not had an opportunity to incorporate it into their testing.
Additionally, this product’s unusual detection methodology makes it somewhat hard to test. The firm did commission a test with AV-Test Institute that shows the product to work, but the other vendors involved objected to the methodology.
Getting Started With Cylance
Like many products, you handle your Cylance account online, beginning by enrolling in your purchase. Log into your account on a PC or Mac to download and run the appropriate installer. The website provides an installation token which activates the solution and associates it with your accounts. There’s no lengthy preliminary signature update as if you encounter F-Secure and various other competitors since there are no signatures. You do not have to make any configuration tweaks since there are not any settings to talk about.
As well as installing the product in your devices, you can send an email with a download link and setup token to anybody you like–possibly a parent or another relative.
The product does not have the main window, as such. By clicking its notification area icon, you can see its record of events, and another list of threats. In my testing, I saw lots of events, but nothing at all the dangers list.
Machine-Learning Malware Protection
Without direct laboratory results to report, my hands-on malware protection testing becomes particularly important. With many products, this evaluation begins the minute I open the folder containing my collection of malware samples. The minimum file access that happens when Windows Explorer displays a file’s information is sufficient to activate many real-time scans.
Cylance does not bother with scanning files that are static; it only happens when a document is about to start. That being true, I just went down the list launch one sample after another, reverting to a clean virtual machine condition every so often.
In virtually every instance, the samples failed to launch. Windows exhibited an error message, the document disappeared, and a new line appeared in Cylance’s Events list, reporting that it quarantined a threat. If I did not have the events list available, all I saw was that the Windows error message. My company contact was amazed, as Cylance is supposed to pop up a notification when it finds a threat, and when it moves the danger to quarantine. I confirmed that the menu option titled Show notifications was turned on, but I saw no alarms.
I did provide Cylance’s technicians with advanced logs, but they could not find a reason for the missing popups, and could not replicate my experience. Considering that the merchandise did the task, quarantining malware, and logged its activities, the absence of the pop-up notifications is not such a big deal, however.
The sole samples Cylance missed in my testing were the kind that some companies call potentially unwanted software or PUAs. A PUA is not as actively malicious as a ransomware assault, or a data-stealing Trojan, but most individuals do not want them around. Apparently, these did not fit the Cylance AI’s definition of malware. It matched the best score among goods analyzed with my existing malware collection. Cylance and F-Secure Anti-Virus are connected with 9.3 of 10 possible points.
It is worth noting that Norton and Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus both attained a perfect 10 in this evaluation when challenged with my previous group of samples. Results are not directly comparable since the samples are distinct, but 10 points are striking nonetheless.