Basic, easy-to-use security to pair with other antivirus products
360 Total Security has been on the scene since 2014 when it was introduced by Qihoo 360, an internet security company based in China. Since then, the application has seen steady improvements and now includes a variety of antivirus, anti-ransomware, and anti-malware protection capabilities.
360 Total Security(opens in new tab) is a security and PC maintenance suite from the Chinese developer Qihoo 360 Software.
The free version includes most of the key features: antivirus, anti-ransomware, malicious website filtering, a sandbox, ad blocking, browser settings protection, Windows cleanup and optimization tools, and more.
This isn’t as powerful as it used to be. In particular, when we reviewed 360 Total Security a couple of years ago, it included the excellent Bitdefender and Avira engines – they seem to have been dropped.
In testing 360 Total Security, we found that it also includes a computer maintenance suite that does an excellent job of helping your computer run more efficiently. However, the antivirus application itself, which uses definition engines from Bitdefender and Avira, doesn’t perform as well as the free versions of those applications. What it does do well, however, is work with other antivirus applications. And the paid version of 360 Total Security includes some premium features you might not find, even with other paid antivirus subscriptions. Read on to see what else we thought about the antivirus software during our time testing it.
Pros and Cons
- Available in two free versions
- Does not install bloatware on your system
- Comes with a number of configurable, pre-loaded design themes
- Has not been recently tested by third-parties
- Questionable corporate commitment to data security/privacy
- Looks cheap
Protecting your PC is a day-to-day essential, as it’s becoming ever more important to have complete protection in order to keep your computer running well.
360 Total Security is a complete tool made up of five different engines that make this antivirus program incomparable with the competition. Concretely, it includes the Qihoo cloud tools, Qihoo system repair, and the QVM-II AI engine as well as Bitdefender and Avira.
Combining these five elements gives you 360 Total Security, the ultimate weapon for you to avoid malware infection to any part of your system.
It also comes with a memory booster that gets rid of any junk files taking up space on your computer and making it run slower.
Despite coming with so many blocks and protection levels, the tool is not hard to use as it comes with a simple and easy-to-understand interface.
Again, in spite of coming with five engines, it’s still lightweight and takes up hardly any space on your PC, although its scan is rather slower than others because of the simultaneous malware scanning process.
Installation & Usage
Installing 360 Total Security took around seven minutes during our last assessment, however, this time, we needed little more than a minute to get up and running. Importantly, no bloatware is loaded on your computer during this process, however, you will be asked whether you would like to install any additional software that comes with 360 Total Security. This is a significant improvement over other antivirus developers who smuggle programs onto your PC without your knowledge.
The browser extension, 360 Internet Protection, is installed automatically, however, you can delete this immediately if desired.
Type of Protection/Security: Both Definitions & Behavior Monitoring
Definition-based antivirus scans are mostly industry standard for antivirus applications, and 360 Total Security takes definitions seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the 360 Total Security product works from five different antivirus engines, including the Bitdefender and Avira antivirus definition engines. But 360 Total Security also includes a machine learning AI engine that monitors activity to ensure that threats are captured even before a common definition is established.
Unfortunately, in industry testing through AV TEST, 360 Total Security was found to be less effective at catching and removing viruses than its industry peers. 360 Total Security scored only 91.7 percent on detections, compared to most other antivirus products that average in the 98-99 percent range.
360 Total Security also includes a machine learning AI engine that monitors activity to ensure that threats are captured.
Scan Locations: Scan Anything, Everything, or Just the Basics
However, you’re not limited to the quick scan. A Full Scan will examine system settings, common apps, running processes, startup items, and files to ensure you have no existing malware likely to cause trouble with your system. You can schedule this (or any other scan) to take place at regular intervals (daily, weekly, etc.) or during overnight hours so there is no concern with your system bogging down while the scan is taking place.
You can also conduct a custom scan of any connected external hard drive or storage device. Those scans are not quite as fast. During our test, we scanned a portable hard drive with more than 60,000 files (184 GB used space) and the scan took less than an hour and caught five potentially threatening files. Of those, three were actually legitimate files that posed no threat to our system. The other two were questionable and a good catch by the software. What we found is that 360 Total Security doesn’t like .htm and .html files, and flags them as potential security threats, even if they’re saved and you want them saved to your computer.
Types of Malware: Claims Differ from Reality
Like most other types of antivirus applications, 360 Total Security claims to protect your computer from most of the threats it will encounter, including viruses, ransomware, malware, keyloggers, Trojans and other types of threats. In reality, however, 360 Total Security doesn’t perform well in industry lab tests.
During the tests on our system, 360 Total Security performed well. It caught all the threats we released, but the poor industry testing scores make us wary of trusting this application too far.
Another frustration for some users may be the fact that some features, such as the data shredder, driver updater, and firewall, are only included with the premium version of the service.
Ease of Use: Clean, Easy-to-Navigate Interface
From the moment of installation through selecting a custom scan and using the additional tools that are included with 360 Total Security, users will find this is a relatively easy-to-use application. The most used functions are on the dashboard of application, which opens when you click the icon in the taskbar. There are a few functions (like the different scanning capabilities) that are buried in options menus, but once you’ve been through the menus one time, it’s not hard to find whatever feature of capability it is that you need.
Update Frequency: A Little Murky Unless You’re a Premium Subscriber
According to industry statistics, there are thousands of new virus signatures defined each day. 360 Total Security claims to update virus definitions once a day, but premium subscribers are promised “First Priority Update” which leaves the question, what about everyone else? And does that mean those definitions are still only updated once a day for premium subscribers? The company claims to protect in real-time, so there is some inconsistency in messaging there that could leave users unsure if they are protected from the latest threats or not.
Performance: Light System Footprint Means You Can Carry On
Contrary to many reports we’ve seen about 360 Total Security, the application’s performance on our system (a Windows 10 machine) was nearly unnoticeable. Quick, Full, and Custom scans took place in the background while we worked on other things, and we experienced no lag or freezing in those other applications.
We also found the installation process to be light on system resources. A fast download of the installer file and a few clicks later, 360 Total Security was well into the initial scan of the machine without any problems with the system resources.
We also found the installation process to be light on system resources.
360 Total Security Features
We don’t have the space to do justice to Qihoo 360’s vast feature set, but these are some of the items we noticed during the review.
Bonus security features start with the sandbox. This allows you to run dubious programs in an isolated environment where they can’t affect your system. It’s not a substitute for poor malware detection but the sandbox does work; when we ran our custom ransomware in the sandbox, it wasn’t able to encrypt any files.
A Patch Up tool can detect and install patches for Windows. It also seems to work correctly, but we struggled to see why you would trust this ahead of Windows Update.
A webcam protection module warns you about unrecognized apps trying to access your webcam.
The Speed-up module scanned our test system and made 75 recommendations about our startup programs, scheduled tasks, services and network settings. Again, this sounds good in theory, but in practice? Not so much.
The program doesn’t always tell you much about what it has found. One of our startup items had the description: “Adware; this is an ad plugin that it installed in a bundle.” We wanted to know what this was, and to see a path, and/or a filename, but there were no more details – no other way to see what 360 Total Security wanted to remove.
The recommendations were sometimes questionable, too. Our system included 12 items relating to software updates, including Windows Update, and 360 Total Security labelled them all as either ‘recommend off’ or ‘optional off’. Why would a security program which tries to help you download update
Additional Tools: Helpful & Efficient
The 360 Total Security was less than stellar for us. It performed well, but there was nothing exciting about what is protected or how it’s protected. Instead, where we really found the most value in the 360 Total Security Package were the additional tools that are provided with the antivirus application.
It’s worth noting there are two free versions of 360 Total Security, and each offers a different level of tools. 360 Total Security Essentials is your basic antivirus application that offers virus and malware scans, anti-ransomware, a sandbox for opening unknown files, secure online shopping, privacy protection, internet protection, and system protection.
One level above that is 360 Total Security. Although still free, this package includes everything from the Essentials package, plus Patch Up, which monitors and installs system security patches as they come available; a Wi-Fi Security Check, and the Clean Up and Speed Up applications. Both Clean Up and Speed Up are utilities to help your computer run more efficiently and we found them both to be extremely useful. On the first run of these tools, 360 Total Security found and optimized 176 performance issues and cleaned up more than 32 GB of junk files on our system.
Jump up to the premium version of 360 Total Security, which we found to be very affordable, and you can add a host of additional features, including:
- Data Shredder
- Privacy Cleaner
- Disk Analyzer
- Driver Updater
- Scheduled Cleanup
- First Priority Update and Support
The addition of the driver updater and the firewall can greatly improve your security. And having a data shredder is always a good idea to ensure that files you delete can’t be reconstructed by some nefarious troll trying to gain access to your personal data.
Type of Support: Better for Paid Subscribers
If you run into problems with your installation of 360 Total Security, they do offer a knowledge base that answers some basic questions. You won’t find anything more than the basics there, however, which means you’ll be relegated to a ticket or e-mail system. And despite the “First Priority Update and Support” promised for premium subscribers, there doesn’t seem to be a way to contact Support techs by phone. Still, the answers you’ll receive from the ticket support system are generally helpful and usually arrive in a few hours.
Price: Very Affordable, Even for a Premium Subscription
360 Total Security Essentials and 360 Total Security are free but ad-supported. The ads don’t seem to be as intrusive as it has been reported in the past. During the time that we used the free versions, we saw only a bare minimum of ads.
If you opt to subscribe to the paid version of Total Security Premium, there are different tiers, depending on the number of devices you want to cover and the length of time you want your subscription to run. One device will cost between around $20 for one year to around $40 for three years. If you up that to three devices, the cost goes up to around $30/year to $50 for three years. And for users that need to secure five devices, you can expect to pay around $35/year up to $70 for three years.
360 Total Security Essentials and 360 Total Security are free but ad-supported.
Similar Products We’ve Reviewed:
- Product Name360 Total Security
- Platform(s)Windows, Mac, Android
- Type of licenseFree/Annual
- Number of devices protected1/3/5
- System Requirements (Windows)Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP (32-bit and 64-bit); 512 Mb memory; 1.6 GHz CPU; 1Gb free disk space
- System Requirements (Mac)OS X 10.7 or later; 512 Mb memory; 1.6 GHz CPU; 1Gb free disk space
- System Requirements (Android)Android 4.1 or higher
- Control Panel/Administrationyes
- Payment optionsVisa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, PayPal
360 Total Security Premium is absolutely crammed with features, but none of them are good enough to justify handing over your cash.
Useful, but shouldn’t be used as a standalone security product.
360 Total Security is definitely not the cream of the crop when it comes to antivirus protection. Though it has a light system footprint and it’s relatively easy to use, the false positives and poor industry lab test scores are concerning. We wouldn’t recommend 360 Total Security as a standalone security product. However, since it does play well with other antivirus applications, even the free versions of 360 Total Security are a nice addition that can bring some premium features to your protection suite without increasing costs
Either build your own free suite with something like Avast Free and Iolo System Mechanic, or pay for higher quality tools with a do-everything commercial product like Avira Prime.