Reason Antivirus: When privacy is your priority [Review]

When was the last time you shopped around for a new antivirus? If you're a Windows user and using its latest iteration, you might be quite satisfied with how Windows Defender works. Besides, it comes as default with the operating system and runs unobtrusively in the background, no added setup required.

However, cyberattacks are only growing more rampant and hackers are finding new ways to victimize computer users. And for ordinary users, it's our privacy that's under threat. Hackers look to gain access to our devices to steal data. It's not just our personal and financial information they're after. Hackers are also trying to hack into webcams and microphones hoping to capture anything sensitive and incriminating in order to extort victims.

These new types of attacks can be beyond the defense capabilities of normal antiviruses. Not all solutions have built-in privacy features or offer protection for communication peripherals. Techopedia recently wrote a camera malware removal guide using Reason Security -- an antivirus specialized in privacy protection. Let’s dive deeper to see if a specialized antivirus is really required, and analyze its pros and cons.

Features

As an antivirus, Reason offers virus detection and removal. Its various scan methods allow users to check for the presence of malware and potentially malicious files. The Quick Scan option checks the common locations that viruses inhabit including system memory and application folders. The Full Scan checks the whole computer including document folders and other drives. Users can also conveniently scan specific locations using Custom Scan or through the context menu. Reason also offers real-time protection that automatically detects threats.

But aside from these standard antivirus functionalities, Reason packs several privacy protection features. To start, it offers a means to safeguard your communication peripherals -- something that most antiviruses have yet to offer. Webcam and microphone hacking have become quite popular ever since computers, particularly laptops, started to come integrated with these devices from the factory. Hackers can easily take a peek into users' personal lives by hijacking these devices, so having a security solution that protects against these attacks is worth considering.

Reason’s protection works by detecting and notifying you of all attempts by applications to access your webcam or microphone. By default, it only allows known communication apps to tap into these devices, but it can also be set to block or allow all access. Since it notifies you immediately if your devices are in use, you can readily know if hackers are spying on your personal and intimate moments.

Reason also protects your personal files against ransomware. These malware are designed to encrypt documents and hold them for ransom. For ordinary users, this could mean that personal documents, records, and photographs could be rendered inaccessible. The ransomware protection mechanism monitors and prevents these encryption processes from executing successfully.

Though not exactly caused by hackers, users' privacy can also be breached by unscrupulous third parties that use cookies and scripts to track browsing activities. Typically, tracking data is used by advertisers to build profiles so that they can serve you with targeted advertisements. Reason looks for these scripts and cookies and prevents them from tracking your activities by removing them from your system.

The company also offers an optional Chrome browser plug-in that you can use which checks links if they lead to bogus or malicious websites. This way, you can readily avoid visiting sites that can compromise your security.

Pros

There's much to like about Reason's offering. The solution uses an accurate detection engine that relies on a malware library with over a million samples. Users can even send samples of quarantined threats for analysis online, which only enhances the engine's capability to accurately detect threats. Windows Defender scans, for instance, often result in false positives. Reason’s detection database allows for more accurate scans.

Reason is also one of the select security solutions that currently provide webcam and microphone protection. Its ransomware and tracking protection also come as welcome features considering how these can compromise any user's privacy. Having these features built in as part of the solution simplifies matters since you only have to install one solution to get access to all of them.

Other popular antiviruses and security solutions that offer similar features are typically priced around twice what Reason costs, which is only $29.99 a year.

Cons

Free users only get access to detection and removal and real-time protection. So, to get access to its key features such as webcam, microphone, and ransomware protection, you must subscribe to get the paid Premium version.

One quirk that we’ve observed while testing is that it doesn’t automatically disable Windows Defender upon installation. Having both security solutions running can eat up processing power and memory especially when both run real-time protection processes simultaneously. This, however, can easily be fixed by disabling Defender after Reason finishes installing.

In addition, if you’re a fan of standalone or offline installers that you can download on one computer to install on an air gapped computer, then you might be disappointed that Reason is only available using a lightweight online installer that requires an internet connection to run.

Reason is also only currently teasing upcoming functionalities such as internet-of-things (IoT) vulnerability scanning and they aren't available as of this writing. So if you're looking for a solution that includes these pending features, then you might be better off looking elsewhere for now.

Verdict

Sticking with basic antiviruses may not offer you the comprehensive protection needed to prevent modern threats.

By being lax in protecting your privacy, you may risk falling victim to identity theft, extortion, and ransomware. Any one of these attacks can cause major headaches for victims. Reason comes with a privacy-oriented feature set. The Premium version's price is quite reasonable too, given the range of protection it offers.

Peter Davidson works as a senior business associate helping brands and start ups to make efficient business decisions and plan proper business strategies. He is a big gadget freak who loves to share his views on latest technologies and applications.

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