360 Total Security was initially launched in 2014 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.
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 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.
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 integrates with multiple antivirus engines, including award-winning antivirus engines from 360 Cloud Scan Engine, 360 QVMII AI Engine, QEX, and Kunpeng. The 360 Total Security machine learning AI engine monitors activity to capture threats even before a common definition is established.
Unfortunately, in industry testing through AV-TEST, we found 360 Total Security to be less effective at catching and removing viruses than its industry peers. However, the last independent industry tests had dated back to 2017 and 2018—not all that recent in the IT security world. 360 Total Security has since recalibrated its antivirus engines; it may be more effective, but without independent verification, it’s tough to say.
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.).
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, 360 Total Security hasn’t performed in any recognized industry lab tests since 2018, so it’s hard to verify.
During the tests on our system, 360 Total Security performed well. It caught all the threats we released, but the lack of comparable industry testing scores makes us wary of fully trusting this application.
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 the 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.1 360 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 some customer reviews 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.
Additional Tools: Helpful & Efficient
There is only one free version of 360 Total Security, and it’s for personal use. It was less than stellar for us. It performed well, but there was nothing exciting about what is protected or how it’s protected. Instead, the additional tools that are provided with the antivirus application were worthwhile.
360 Business Essentials is a basic antivirus application designed for businesses for a small annual fee per device. It offers virus and malware scans, anti-ransomware, advanced privacy protection, cloud-based security engines, and a data shredder.
Above 360 Business Essentials and 360 Business Advanced is 360 Total Security Premium. This package includes a privacy antitracker, a data shredder, privacy cleaner to erase your digital footprints, a firewall, and a disk analyzer with scheduled cleanup to rid your computer of junk files and other elements that bog down your computer’s performance. The added utilities help your computer run more efficiently, and we found them 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.
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, which means you’ll be relegated to a ticket or email 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.
Price: Very Affordable, Even for a Premium Subscription
360 Total Security is 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 version, we saw only a bare minimum of ads.
If you opt to subscribe to the paid version of Total Security Premium, you can buy a one-year, two-year, or three-year plan, covering up to three devices. It costs about $36 for one year, around $65 for two years, and almost $70 total for three years. If you get 360 Business Essential it costs approximately $15 per year per device, and 360 Business Advanced is nearly $20 per device, annually.
Competition: 360 Total Security vs. Avira and Bitdefender
It’s tough to give an apples-to-apples comparison of 360 Total Security with any other antivirus engines because 360 Total Security has not participated in any industry tests since 2018. 360 Total Security had formerly used the Avira and Bitdefender virus definition engines, so you might expect similar protection to those applications. Unfortunately, we can’t verify it. We do know that Avira and Bitdefender both consistently score near perfect on lab tests from AV-Test.
Still, we like the additional tools that come with the free version of 360 Total Security. These additional tools can help increase computer security and improve computer performance when paired with better antivirus protection.