When you purchase F-Secure SAFE, you get a link to download a just-for-you installer with your license key embedded. You create an F-Secure SAFE account and proceed to make your first installation. You can choose to download and install on the machine you're using, send an email link to another device, or send the link via SMS.
Installation is quick and simple. Any time you want to use another of your licenses, you simply log in to the F-Secure SAFE online console and repeat the process—either download locally or send a link via email or SMS.
Installed on a PC, F-Secure SAFE is precisely F-Secure Internet Security 2015, with the tiny addition of a tray menu item that links to the F-Secure SAFE online console. Read my review of the suite for full details.
Very briefly, this suite offers good detection of malware-hosting URLs, but isn't as good at detecting fraudulent (phishing) sites. It earned good scores in independent lab tests and in my own hands-on tests. However, its parental control system is limited, and it lacks features found in other suites, including one found in its own previous edition.
F-Secure SAFE for Android has a slick, spacious appearance. A row of icons across the bottom lets you flip between feature pages, or you can just swipe left or right. The antivirus component offers on-demand scanning, real-time protection, and scheduled scanning. You can also configure it to scan when the device boots up.
In addition to scanning for malware, F-Secure SAFE checks your apps for privacy issues. The Application Privacy page lists the number of apps with many, some, few, or no privacy issues. Tapping a summary line gets you a list; tapping an app in the list gets you full details.
F-Secure's Safe Browser steers you away from dangerous websites. For additional browsing protection, you can enable the parental control system. You can choose from three predefined roles, Child, Teen, or Adult, to pre-select which content categories are permitted. Naturally, all categories, including uncategorized sites, are accessible to an adult. If needed, you can tweak the configuration for the three roles. There's also an option to limit which apps can be used.
Banking protection in the PC edition actively prevents new network connections when you're using a known financial website. That keeps banking Trojans and such from interfering with the transaction. Banking protection for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone simply adds a banner pointing out that you're visiting a trusted site. If you go to your bank's site and don't see the banner, beware; you may have been diverted to a fraudulent website.
Theft or loss is a bigger danger to Android devices than malware. Once you enable the anti-theft component on your device, you can use the online console to locate, lock, or wipe the device. If you've just misplaced the device around the house, you can trigger a loud alarm to locate it.
Norton Security goes a bit farther in the anti-theft realm. Once locked, a missing device will transmit its location every five minutes and snap a surreptitious camera image every ten minutes. You can also manually check location or trigger a Sneak Peek photo. And you have the option to control anti-theft from the Web console or by sending SMS messages. McAfee also offers both options to control anti-theft features of its Android edition.
Good, not Great
F-Secure SAFE has a greater range than most cross-platform multi-device suites, with support for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. However, it doesn't offer much on some of those platforms, and its Windows suite isn't as feature-complete as many.
If you're looking for a single product to protect all your Windows, Mac, and Android devices, you'll be better off with one of our Editors' Choice products. Whether you choose Symantec Norton Security or McAfee LiveSafe, you'll be well cared for.