360 Total Security is a freeware antimalware solution produced by Qihoo 360, a Chinese software company. This free Internet Security suite uses multiple engines to provide the best protection against viruses, trojans, worms and rootkits.
Qihoo claims that 360 Total Security solution is powered by Bitdefender and Avira’s engines.
1. System requirements and installation
The latest version of 360 Total Security is compatible with all versions of Windows, from Windows XP and Vista to Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10. The suite is also compatible with Android, and with Mac OS X 10.7 or later computers. The Android version is called 360 Total Security Lite and comes as a .apk file, available for free download on Google Play.
We’ve installed it on multiple machines running 32-bit and 64-bit Windows OS to see if we find any compatibility issues. Everything went smoothly, but the installation took some time. This is because the installation kit of 360 Total Security is small, and the remaining essential files are downloaded when the software is installed.
This feature is similar to Bitdefender’s and Norton’s installations when the package downloaded is small, but the remaining required data is retrieved later.
An offline installer is also available for download and use.
The installation interface is simple, without any details revealed to the computer’s owner. We think this could be eventually improved in a future release. Qihoo should understand that users need more details about what they get when the installation package runs on their machines.
Bitdefender’s installation interface should be a good point of start for Qihoo if they decide to change something in the future.
The hardware requirements are similar to the antivirus solutions provided by other producers. We’ve successfully installed 360 Total Security on machines with 512MB of RAM and 1 GHz processor. However, the time required for installation is longer than for Bitdefender’s and Norton’s security solutions.
No restart is required after installation, which is unusual because the leading security software’s applications need a restart when the installation is finished.
The free version of 360 Total Security comes with a series of interesting features. However, we were unpleasantly surprised to see that a few of the presented features are not included in the protection offer provided by this security suite.
The application may be configured in various ways. You have four predefined setting: performance, balanced, security and custom.
The interface is simple to use and nice. 360 Total Security offers protection for three main sections: privacy, Internet browsing and system’s vulnerabilities.
On Privacy protection, you have multiple options to choose from: ransomware and keyloggers blocking and webcam privacy option. The Internet protection offers real-time scanning for the downloaded files, malicious websites blocking and online shopping safeguard.
The System Protection comes with: network threat blocking, registry and file system safeguard. You can also activate the USB drive protection and the automatic scanning of the downloaded files.
The main features of 360 Total Security are:
- Antivirus module;
- Browser protection;
- Registry cleaner;
- Full check module;
- Speedup optimizer;
- WiFi security checker;
The antivirus module is powered by BitDefender and Avira engines. The antivirus has performed relatively well in the tests conducted for this review by our team.
It scans multiple potentially vulnerable areas: system’s settings, the main applications, the running processes, the startup items and the system’s critical files.
If the main AV testing organizations claim that 360 Total Security comes with one of the best-rated antivirus module, our team has found something else. If the detection rate is relatively good, the main problem of this application is the real-time protection.
For example, we’ve started our test with the standard EICAR file, which is used by all antivirus producers to test their applications. We’ve prepared a file and posted it on the computer’s desktop.
We were instantly disappointed because 360 Total Security did not react to the testing file, even we kept it on the desktop for a few minutes. This result is entirely different, compared to the good results provided by other anti-malware applications tested by our team.
When we manually scanned the file, 360 Total Security reacted immediately and the file was detected. We also tested the lite version of 360 Total Security 2017 against of a malware database, to see how effective it is. The results were pretty good, even if a few threats have been ignored.
For antivirus protection 360 Total Security does a decent job but we were concerned about the real-time protection, where the Qihoo 360’s protection suite failed to offer good results.
In tests we found that it was unable to detect threats in a few Office suite hacking tools, even if other security solution identified them as potentially unwanted applications (PUA). Another potential weakness is the update button, relatively difficult to be found.
If you need to scan and remove malware, 360 Total Security is good, but if you need real-time protection, it could fail because, apparently, the module is not really optimized for this purpose.
Browser protection is another feature offered by 360 Total Security suite. The module is pretty decent, with a good effectiveness in real time malware detection. We used it against a lot of infected sites, to see how many of them are detected as threats.
The module also comes with its own protection. This is useful because it prevents any unauthorized changes, which could eventually generate data loss. Imagine an infected browser, with your browsing data sent to a hacker. 360 Total Security helps you lock browser capabilities and settings, keeping the computer clean and safe against unauthorized changes.
A registry cleaner is also included in this free internet security suite provided by Qihoo 360. We tested it on our machines, to see how effective it is.
Compared to other dedicated registry cleaners, 360 Total Security offers decent results. However, we advise you not to use it for this purpose unless you generate a backup first. Your machine could be eventually affected if it deletes some essential registries by mistake. If you need to clean up your registry, use a dedicated tool instead, like CCleaner, for example.
The full check option is a good solution for the people that don’t have much time available for computer problems related to scanning. This capability sums up some features provided by 360 Total Security in a single task: speedup the computer, perform a virus scan, junk files cleanup and finally, check the WiFi security.
The speedup optimizer
In the tests performed, this feature worked decently. However, it’s a good idea to limit the capabilities of 360 Total Security and manually choose which changes you want to make. For example, it’s better to check yourself what apps you want to keep active at startup.
This feature is very useful for beginners because a lot of them don’t not know about the applications running in the background. You have multiple options to choose from: leave it as it is, recommend off, or recommend on. Based on their importance, you can choose how to manage the startup processes.
WiFi security checker
360 Total Security comes with a tool which detects if WiFi network is secure. Unfortunately, in the tests performed we were unable to get a positive result. We used about five routers, none of them recognized by 360 Total Security, even if all of them were produced by well-known brands. In tests, we received a “Router not supported” message, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Compared to Bitdefender Antivirus 2017, for example, this anti-malware suite is very weak from this point of view.
3. Other functionalities
The primary interface of 360 Total Security also comes with an attractive series of features.
- Tasks scheduler;
- System cleanup manager;
- GlassWire firewall (free, but not included in its core);
- Virtual Sandbox;
- System Backup cleaner;
- Patch-up (vulnerability finder) module;
- 360 Turbo VPN;
- Instant setup module;
- Game booster;
- Ransomware decryption tool;
The tasks scheduler introduced by 360 Total Security allows you to manage various tasks and is available in Easy setup tab. The scheduler displays different recommendations, depending on the importance of the task.
The system cleanup manager is an additional functionality which offers full cleanup for your browsing history and your online activity.
The Windows junk files, the cache files and the game and applications remaining traces are also removed. The computer will be healthier after performing a full system cleanup. We’ve tested it for this review and we were pleasantly impressed by its effectiveness against unwanted junk data.
The GlassWire firewall is the first big disappointment. Are you asking why? The answer is simple, the firewall comes as a separator application and is not integrated into the latest version of 360 Total Security, even if it is available in its Toolbox menu.
Because the firewall is not an integrating part of the reviewed application, we didn’t test it. If someone from Qihoo 360 eventually reads this article, it’s a good idea to integrate this feature directly in the central core of the application. Users do not like to install multiple applications for computer’s security.
The upside is that the GlassWire firewall is entirely free and can be installed separately.
Virtual sandbox is an interesting tool which allows users to run dangerous or potentially malicious software, without the risk of infection. We’ve tested it with a few dangerous applications downloaded from torrents, and we were pleased to see that offers excellent protection. If you’re planning to run malicious software, you can trust 360 Total Security.
The System Backup cleaner is used to identify and remove unused, and junk files remained from previous installations of some applications. Older versions of drivers or packages of useless files are found and marked for deletion.
Make sure you know what you’re doing if you decide to remove the junk files suggested. Sometimes the installation packages are kept by the operating system and used for various temporary rollbacks.
The patch-up module helps to find system vulnerabilities. It works in a similar way with Bitdefender’s vulnerabilities checker. The computer is scanned for missing critical updates, and the user is warned about the problems. It’s a nice feature because the majority of computer users forget about a lot of essential updates, making their computers easy to hack.
360 Total Security uses this technology to add an additional layer of security represented by the patches released by other software companies. However, the tested app failed to offer the same vulnerabilities as Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017. It only finds the missing updates.
360 Turbo VPN is apparently integrated with the main application, reviewed today. When we saw the VPN included in the main menu of 360 Total Security, we were excited and eager to see how it works. When we tried to run it, we discovered that the button from the suite interface only opens a download installation kit and the VPN is not included in its core.
You need to run the installer and make an account to be able to use the VPN. You receive 500 MB of free traffic, and then you need to pay about $6 / month. What a disappointment!
The instant setup module is a kind of feature for beginners. It comes with a few install recommendation packages. Opera browser, Adobe Flash, Skype, and Line are suggested. You can install them in bulk or you can choose a custom installation.
We saw that Opera is also recommended in the ads displayed in the app’s main interface. We suspect Qihoo has a kind of deal with Opera, maybe to promote this Internet browser in the free version of the app.
Game Booster is a feature which could eventually help the game addicted users. A friendly interface is displayed, and you can identify the applications that consume most of computer resources. Based on these values, users decide what app can be terminated to boost the computer’s speed.
We tested the Game booster’s capabilities, and we can say it’s useful if you’re not a computer geek. If you know more about Windows-based computers, you probably know that the same processes can be stopped directly from tasks manager’s interface.
Ransomware decryption tool (called Tesla Decryptor) is also not a included feature. You need to download and install this tool separately.
Because it is not included in the 360 Total Security’s main core and is a separated tool, we didn’t test for this review. We only know that it offers support for a few type of encrypted files, like TeslaCrypt and CrySiS.
4. Loaded resources
Compared to the top rated tested applications, 360 Total Security needs more resources. This is visible especially when you want to perform a complete scan and work, at the same time. You need at least 1.5GB of memory to run an antivirus scan without apparent computer slowness.
When it works in the background (no manual scan) the effect on the computer’s resources is not so visible, and you can use it without any interruptions.
Qihoo 360 offers full support for their main application. We tested the support team, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that they are kind and ready to solve your problems. Not all the consultants are security experts, and we found that some answers are not very elaborate and leave way to misinterpretations.
Overall, the support is fast, and you’ll find a solution to your issues. You also benefit from a lite and well organized FAQ page, so you can investigate some things by yourself if you need help.
6. Value for money
360 Total Security is entirely free in its two first versions, which come with ads included. You can also choose the Premium paid version which costs only $10.99 per year and offers protection for up to three computers.
However, you need to read our analysis carefully before you decide to choose this free Internet Security suite as your primary protection software. The antivirus module is weaker than other tested tools, and a lot of features (VPN, firewall) are not available in the suite. For the VPN you’ll have to pay separately.
We also found something unpleasant when we performed the uninstallation. An ad with BitDefender Antivirus was displayed on their site. It was the first time when saw see such an unusual thing.
360 Total Security has received overall good recognition from the main independent AV testing websites. The false warnings and the impact on computer resources are the downsides mentioned by these organizations. These results are somehow similar to what we’ve mentioned during our review.
8. Associated products
Qihoo offers multiple protection packages, free or paid, with different features. 360 Total Security Essential provides basic support and does not include patch up, junk cleaner, speed up and WiFi security check. 360 Total Security is the app described in our analysis. Both lite versions are free.
360 Premium Membership offers an additional lively theme and is free of ads, but costs $10.99 per year.
Our rating: 7.6 /10
Compatibility: Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10.
9. Pros and cons
These are the main pros and cons received by 360 Total Security after our analysis:
- It’s free
- Nice interface
- Easy to use
- Weak real time protection
- Noticeable impact on computer’s resources
- Both free editions are coming with ads
- Features available in the menu are not available in the main core
10. Review conclusions
360 Total Security offers medium protection against viruses and malware. Unfortunately, the real-time protection and the impact on computer’s resources on scan are its significant downsides. We were also disappointed because its interface tries to make you purchase other features, as additional applications.
If you need real-time protection against threats, it’s best to choose another application. We recommend you one of these top rated antimalware solutions: BitDefender, Kaspersky Antivirus or Norton Security.
360 Total Security 2017 offers basic protection against malware, but fails to provide the best real time detection against threats.
360 Total Security is entirely free, but this comes with a downside: the ads running in the app. You can also choose the Premium version, which comes with a price of $13.19 for one year and offers protection to up to three devices.
It’s up to you to decide if you need a better protection or if you chose Qihoo’s solution to keep your computer free of threats. The best top rated alternatives are BitDefender, Kaspersky Antivirus and Norton Security 2017.
Updated: June 20, 2017