360 Total Security is a full featured free antivirus program by Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security company. 360 is available for Windows and Mac computers as well as Android mobile devices.
The antivirus does have some advertisements which includes third party software recommendations as well as some banner ads in the software itself. But so far I have not encountered invasive or annoying pop-up ads or anything resembling that, which makes their ad monetization policy tolerable.
360 Total Security also has a lightweight version which is called 360 Total Security Essentials, but both versions of the software are free.
The program utilizes multiple antivirus engines to protect your computer from viruses. It has two of its own cloud based antivirus engines as well as two third party engines, Avira and Bitdefender, that you download and install once you’ve installed the main antivirus program. These are also automatically updated along with the main program. 360 actively protects your system but you can also run a Quick Scan of the most important locations in your computer, a Full Scan of your entire computer and also a Custom Scan if you only want to scan certain harddrives or folders.
For me, I was able to install the Avira engine, but I’ve had problems with the Bitdefender engine. It simply would not download, and I did try reinstalling the software on my desktop with Windows 7. Then after a couple days it suddenly downloaded and installed itself.
As for the other features, it has a Sandbox feature which allows you to run software in an isolated computer environment to see how it behaves and if it is malicious. 360 also protects you against phising attacks while shopping and other malicious websites, blocks ransomware and keyloggers, prevents unauthorized access of your webcam and scans USB drives for viruses when they are plugged in. 360 also monitors applications that try to access the internet and looks for malicious behavior. You can also adjust the protection level of 360 if you want more security or better performance on your computer, which means less security.
360 Total Security also has some additional features that are not in the Essentials version of the program. These include Patch Up which helps to remind you when the software on your computer is out-of-date, Clean Up which assists you in cleaning up the junk on your computer, I actually ran it while testing and cleared almost 30 gigabytes of junk, then it also has Speed Up which helps to optimize your computers performance and boot time by adjusting startup items, system services and applications that run in the background. It also has a Full Check button which runs multiple scans at the same time.
AV-Test ran some experiments and scored 360 Total Security as 5.5 out of 6 points in all areas which include: Protection, Performance and Usability.
One concern I have with 360 Total Security is the fact that it’s produced and maintained by a Chinese company. There have been some scandals over the years involving Chinese software and hardware companies where they have installed backdoors and bundled malware with their products.
But so far there has not been any credible evidence that Qihoo 360 has been involved in such things, but you never know considering how much control the Chinese government has over domestic companies.
However, overall, 360 Total Security is a fairly good free antivirus program and I’ll give it 8 out of 10 points.
4 antivirus engines
Medium to high usage of computer resources
Occasional install and update issues