SteelSecurity is a suite of applications put together into a single interface. It is aimed at the hardcore gamer who wants his/her computer secure while not having it eat away precious resources while gaming, either offline or online. In fact, I’m the type of gamer that has eschewed antivirus software for years entirely because I got tired of forgetting to shut down the program before I start a game.
Everytime I got infected, I’d just reformat and reinstall Windows all over again. It was a complicated solution to the problem, but I had to have my gaming. With SteelSecurity, it looks to provide the solution that I’ve been looking for as a gamer, and I know many other gamers out there too would find it incredibly useful.
What does SteelSecurity do that other, more well-known, security suites doesn’t? The main draw is that it has built-in game profiles (and you can add your own, if needed.) These game profiles detect if a supported game is launched, and if detected then the firewall will open the ports that game needs, then switch the antivirus scanning to use minimal resources.
Then there’s the biggest offender when gaming with security software running: popup notifications. This was the #1 reason why I never had a security software installed on my computer. Ever been in an intense firefight and suddenly a popup notifies that you that your antivirus program just updated, or it discovered an infected file, or some other such nonsense? At best, it disrupts your concentration, and sometimes it minimizes the game, and at worst it crashes the game. The game profiles prevent this from happening when it detects you’re gaming. In a nutshell, it lets you get your game on while not fully compromising your computer’s security, nor your sanity.
- Game profiles settings (General)
- Game profiles settings (Antivirus)
- Game profiles settings (Firewall)
While in use, SteelSecurity registers a small footprint. As you can see below, it took up only 31MB of my memory, which fluctuates between 30-35MB at any given time. When a game profile is activated, it’s even lower, and varies depending on the profile settings.
The antivirus is powered by BullGuard, a veteran in the antivirus industry. I had planned on doing a controlled test to evaluate the capability of the antivirus protection within SteelSecurity, but when the 3DGPU forums became infected via a forum exploit, I ended up with viruses, trojans, and malware wanting to infect my computer when I tried to figure out how to get rid of the malicious code infecting visitors to the forums using Internet Explorer.
I had both AVG and SteelSecurity installed, and when the viruses and trojans wanted to infect my computer, SteelSecurity notified me that it had stopped the infection from taking place. AVG notified me a few minutes later of the same thing. However, some of the viruses got through, as apparently they were new and unidentified. SteelSecurity had me send the data to their servers when it discovered it couldn’t delete nor quarantine the malicious files, while AVG did nothing of the sort. A reformat and reinstall of WindowsXP later saw me reinstalling SteelSecurity and avoiding AVG.
The firewall is powerful and flexible, allowing for both beginners and advanced users to control the firewall and control what data leaves your computer and what is allowed in. The firewall engine is powered by Sygate/Symantec, respected names in firewall technology. This is especially handy to have in case a trojan got on your system and wants to send personal and private data to some punk elsewhere. Additionally it has phishing/pharming protection, so if you visited a known scam site, it’ll keep you from unwittingly giving away sensitive data. There are some proxies out there that does this, but it’s nice to have it already in SteelSecurity.
In addition to a software-based firewall, and comprehensive virus protection, it will also protect you from spam by filtering them out of your email client. It uses the collective input from SteelSecurity users to help stop spam from reaching your inbox. It works a lot like Cloudmark’s antispam database, wherein if User A reports a particular email as spam, it uploads that data to the database and if that same email reaches User B, it flags it as spam and keeps it from your inbox. It is effective and simple. Unfortunately the only email clients supported, as of this writing, are Outlook Express and Microsoft’s Outlook (the full featured version of Outlook Express.)
Although one point to take note is that SpamFilter uses up a decent amount of memory, so if you don’t intend to use this feature, it’ll be a good idea to disable this. SteelSeries plans on making the next version allow disabling of the SpamFilter when a game profile is loaded while gaming.
Finally, there’s a backup solution that allows you to backup any file you want, to a secure server online. All subscribers get 1GB of space to upload to, and you can upgrade to 5GB or more as needed (which costs extra, although I couldn’t find out how much at the time of this writing.) During the upload, the files are encrypted for maximum security, and once uploaded, you can then access the files anywhere, on any computer. You don’t even need SteelSecurity installed to access the backed up files, you can simply visit Steelseries.com and login to access the files.
This is great to be able to backup your custom game configurations, replays you’ve saved, or anything else you want. Additional features are smart transferring of files, meaning that if you already have the file uploaded, it won’t upload it again. You can also schedule a time to do automatic backups.
There’s a lot of other little touches that goes a long way with this program. Such as the recommended actions, where it gives you advice on what you should do to keep your computer secure, with a button right next to it that says “Do it!” to perform the advice right there. The main screen also lists other important information on each function, plus gives you an easy way to grab the latest update. On top of it is a functional, eye-pleasing interface that gets the job done.
After using SteelSecurity for over a week, I’ve made it my dedicated security software of choice. After over 5 years of never using one, it’s nice to know that I can get my game on and not worry about leaving my system open to malicious attacks and disruption. It leaves me wondering why it took this long for such an obvious solution to come into fruition. The only negative I could find was that the program has crashed on me while uploading via the backup function. It gave me a Microsoft C++ runtime error. It was the only error I experienced, and hopefully that is the only time.
If you’re interested in trying SteelSecurity for two months free, visit this SteelSeries page. If after that period you want to continue using SteelSecurity, you can subscribe for $70 for 12 months.
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