Outpost Security Suite Pro is a product developed by the Russian company Agnitum. Even though they are not as big and famous as their compatriots from Kaspersky, they do have plenty of faithful customers who enjoy their products. We reviewed previous versions of Outpost here at 7 Tutorials and we consider it to be a niche product, aimed at very knowledgeable users. Is this new version going to change this verdict? Let’s find out.
The download process is fast and doesn’t require users to share any of their personal data. You download the installer which has a size of 122MB and then you run it. Personal data is not collected even during the installation process. A great approach indeed. Wish more security vendors would do the same.
Another aspect I enjoyed about the installation is that it automatically starts scanning for latest updates. When the installation is finished, you have the latest version possible on your computer. This is a good approach.
The only downside is that the process takes longer than with other security suites and does require a reboot. However, I prefer this approach instead of a quick install which doesn’t provide the latest protection capabilities and is not able to fully secure my computer.
Another refreshing difference is that Outpost Security Suite Pro doesn’t insist on bugging you to buy a license. You are asked once if you want to enter an activation key or continue the trial and that’s it.
You won’t be bothered again when opening the main interface and you won’t see any offers to other products you should buy.
What is likely to happen though, is that as Windows services start and connect to the network, Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 will ask you about certain processes needing permission to continue.
The trouble is that some of these prompts are hard to understand, especially for a novice user. So... making a correct decision is pretty hard.
Once these prompts are out of the way and you start the security suite, you are welcomed by a simple interface, which presents a quick overview of the enabled protection modules and the status of your license and malware database.
Except for some prompts I did not fully understand, I can say my first impression was reasonably positive and made me want to know more about this product. Therefore, let’s see how well it is integrated with Windows and Internet browsers.
Integration with Windows
When it comes to the integration with Windows, the picture is mixed. Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 disables the Windows Firewall but does not disable Windows Defender. This means that your computer’s performance will suffer a bit from running two security products in parallel.
Then, if you look through the Start Menu, you immediately notice that Outpost Security Suite Pro does not have smooth scaling icons, implemented by Microsoft since the launch of Windows Vista. Even though this has nothing to do with the protection being offered, it’s simply doesn’t look great and gives the impression of a dated product. I hope Agnitum will take this small design aspect into consideration when launching future updates.
Now there are also good aspects. For example, the suite integrates well with all Windows networking features, including the Homegroup. Therefore you won’t have problems sharing files and devices over the network.
Its protection processes consume a total of 149MB of RAM, which is higher than other products but not really a problem. Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 does a good job at protecting its services and they cannot be easily disabled by malware, not even the main user interface.
When I tested the integration with Internet browsers the results were again mixed. This security suite promises web protection but it doesn’t seem to work well. I visited plenty of malicious websites in all major browsers and I never got any warnings from Outpost. However, the browsers themselves warned me of a few of these malicious websites. I looked through the suite’s settings and Web Control was enabled. Also, the ad blocking feature does not always work well. For example, some websites have ads that roll over their content for a few seconds, blocking access to a portion of the content while they are displayed. Then, they get minimized, letting the user view the content. Outpost Security Suite Pro blocks the frames of these ads and their borders are shown in the browser. When a user tries to click on links found beneath the ads, that lead to a valid page with content, those clicks take the user to the links referred by the blocked ads. Outpost Security Suite Pro blocks showing the ad but not the URL referred by the ad.
This problem can be solved only by adding these websites to the list of trusted websites, which is ironic if you think about it.
Ease of Use & Configuration
When it comes to ease of use and configuration, not much has changed since our previous review. Outpost Security Suite Pro offers everything you need in terms of configuration options: scanning options for malware (quick, full, custom), settings exclusions for certain files, folders or websites, default scheduled scans and the possibility to add your own, etc.
Where Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 shines is the plethora of customization options, that will make any advanced user happy. There is not one aspect of this suite that cannot be configured to your liking.
Unfortunately though, many options will intimidate novice users. If you are not very technical, there will be plenty of things you will have no idea how to configure, without reading the documentation provided with the suite or online. And even then, some things will be too much for you to handle.
This is also valid for the reporting done by Outpost. Some security suites show nice looking reports that anyone can understand with the status of their system’s security. They might not provide much in terms of detailed information but you can easily understand what is being presented. Outpost Security Suite Pro chooses to favor detailed logs instead and its shows everything it does in a very detailed way. Advanced users will be happy with this choice but novice users will have a hard time understanding what is with all the logs and what is documented in them.
When it comes to prompts and alerts Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 has again a different approach than other suites. For example, it is the only suite I used that warns users that an application is attempting to enter full-screen mode. Even though it helps provide more protection, this prompt is more annoying than useful to a normal user.
The good thing though, is that this warning can be easily disabled from the Settings window.
Another problem is that some alerts are really hard to understand and they don’t really help in making good decisions. Let’s take the screenshot below as an example: Outpost tells me that the application I am trying to run is "rated as moderate in attempting to intercept user keystrokes". Is it really intercepting user keystrokes or not? Should I block it or not?
The "Show details" button doesn’t help either, as it doesn’t display any useful information in my decision making.
When it comes to support options, Outpost Security Suite Pro takes you to their website, where you can view the official product documentation, use their online forums or contact their support service via a web-form. Not spectacular but better than what other vendors offer.
Agnitum was always famous for the quality of their firewall protection and I can testify that it continues to be a strong product. The scans I made using Nmap and Nessus revealed little information. When network sharing was allowed by Outpost, only 10 ports where found open (all with a low impact on security) and the MAC address was identified. When network sharing was blocked, no ports were found open and only the MAC address was identified. The operating system could not be correctly identified in both cases. A pretty good result, making Outpost one of the top firewalls on the market.
The downside though is about the ease of use for novice users. By default, Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 marks network sharing as allowed, which is good for trusted networks.
However, if you connect to a public, unsecured network, it is not enough to change the network location in Windows to public because Outpost does not monitor your Windows network location settings. You must edit also the LAN Settings in Outpost and stop allowing NetBIOS communications for that network.
Novice users will have a hard time figuring this out. Even some advanced users won’t appreciate having to make additional settings in Outpost.
Antivirus and Antispyware Features
One of the tests I make is to visit malicious websites and download infected files. As I mentioned before, Outpost did not block access to those websites and I could download the files. Also, they were not immediately removed when the download finished. They were blocked only when I tried to run them. It is OK that I did not get my system infected but I was expecting Outpost to detect and remove those files as soon as they were downloaded.
Another test I make is to insert a memory stick with plenty of infected files on it. I enjoyed the fact that Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 immediately prompted for a scan.
What surprised me though is that it did not remove all the infected files. Some of them were still left on the memory stick. Only when I tried to run them, Outpost blocked them from running. Again, I did not infect my system but it took longer for Outpost to react than for other security suites.
Last, but not least, I also test the scanning speed of a security suite. I asked Outpost to scan the standard 30GB system partition I use for testing (which generally has between 24 and 26 GB of used space) and it took a very long 28 minutes for it finish. This makes the Outpost scanning engine one of the slowest I tested so far.
Since I do not have the necessary environment to make really complete virus detection and removal tests, I like to see what other independent organizations have to say about the effectiveness of each suite I am testing. Unfortunately there is little information about Outpost Security Suite Pro. Only Virus Bulletin has tested it and it awarded average ratings of approximately 80% for its reactive detection rate and 70%+ for its proactive detection rate. This places Outpost in the second half of the list with top security suites available of the market.
Unfortunately the verdict remains unchanged. Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 is a suite dedicated to advanced users, who can take advantage of its detailed configuration options. Novice users should definitely look elsewhere.
Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 can be purchased only from the official website and not from Amazon. The trial version of the product can be found here.