- Some cutting-edge technology may be risky to use
- The disk-cloning feature didn’t work in our tests
- Performance issues with the upload speed and mobile apps
- Poor phishing and middling malware-blocking results
If you make a list of features in both Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office and Arcserve’s ShadowProtect SPX, ShadowProtect looks less impressive. ShadowProtect does only one thing—create and restore images of one or more partitions on your disk—but it does it reliably and consistently.
ShadowProtect has never failed our testers. Its interface isn’t beginner-friendly, but it’s a powerful tool designed for experienced users and IT managers who care about their data.
Many years ago, one of us (Ed Mendelson) was testing an old version of Acronis True Image Crack on a complex multi-boot system. Acronis’ restore feature failed badly, but he was able to recover the system using a backup he had made previously using ShadowProtect.
That’s an experience you won’t forget in the software-reviewing business, even when a newer version offers all the goodies that Cyber Protect Home Office offers.
Speaking of goodies, Acronis Cyber Protect offers a whole host of them for security protection.
Our testing of the security features in Acronis True Image Crack + Fix was done in September 2021.
Some high-end security suite products such as Norton 360 Deluxe include online backup as one of their components. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office comes from the other direction, adding full-scale malware protection to its spectrum of backup and sync capabilities. While malware protection isn’t this product’s primary focus, it does promise real-time protection against malware, including “never-seen-before threats.” We put it through our hands-on tests just as we would a dedicated security product.
You access all the security features through the Protection section from the left-rail menu. This page offers some quick stats on recent antivirus activity and lets you verify which protection components are active. You can launch a full antivirus scan or just a quick scan with the click of a button. The vulnerability assessment helps you avoid exposure due to missing security patches.
Mixed Malware Protection
Our basic malware protection test starts when we open a folder containing a collection of malware samples that we’ve carefully curated and analyzed. For many products, the minimal file access that occurs when Windows Explorer lists a file is sufficient to trigger a real-time scan. Others wait for more serious access such as copying the file. Still others simply check each program before it executes. Acronis takes the “shoot on sight” approach. It started wiping out samples the moment we opened the folder.
The cleanup process was slow because Acronis displayed each found threat in a transient popup window. In the real world, you’re not likely to expose your PC to multiple malicious programs at once, though. We did observe that quarantined files didn’t vanish from the folder, but their size went to zero, rendering them harmless.
Acronis True Image + Fix wiped out 85% of the samples on sight, the same as F-Secure and TotalAV. That’s better than most, though Sophos caught 93% at this stage and G Data Antivirus managed 98%.
To finish the test, we launched each surviving sample. Acronis missed almost all of them, which, admittedly, were low-risk threats such as adware. One way or another, Acronis detected 87% of the samples and scored 8.7 of 10 possible points. On one hand, that’s not a great score. On the other hand, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus scored just slightly lower, also based on ignoring lower-risk samples. A set of extremely high scores from independent testing labs redeems Bitdefender, however.
Acronis True Image + Fix doesn’t appear in the public lab test reports from the independent labs that we follow, but the company did commission a private test from AV-Test Institute. It showed that Acronis would have earned top scores for Protection and Usability (meaning minimal false positives). The private test didn’t include the usual third component, Performance.
The basic hands-on test described above gives us a good look at how any security product handles known malicious programs. To look at how a product deals with the latest real-world attacks, we start with a sample of malware-hosting URLs supplied by London-based test lab MRG-Effitas.
These samples are typically no more than a few days old. We try to launch each URL and note whether the security product diverts the browser away from the dangerous page, eliminates the malware payload during or just after download, or sits idly by without doing anything.
According to our Acronis contact, if the product blocked access to a dangerous website, we would see a popup in the notification area and, for non-HTTPS websites, a warning in the browser. We tested hundreds of URLs and did not see either type of notification at all, though both notifications were evident in the subsequent phishing protection test.
Most antivirus products toot their own horn when they protect you against a malware download. Acronis didn’t do that. Malware downloads simply failed, sometimes resulting in no file and sometimes in a zero-byte file. We had to repeatedly check the Activity log to make sure we were seeing antivirus activity and not actual download errors.
The lack of browser-level URL blocking didn’t matter because Acronis detected and blocked 94% of the malware downloads. That’s a fine score. McAfee AntiVirus Plus earned 100% in its latest test, but only a half-dozen other products have scored higher than Acronis.
Poor Phishing Protection
Phishing websites don’t use fancy malware programs to trick the operating system. Instead, they aim to trick you, the user. A phishing site looks almost exactly like a bank site, a gaming site, or any site that needs a login. If you don’t notice the fakery and log in, you’ve given up your account to the creators of the phishing page. Yes, if you’re well-trained and attentive, you can probably spot phishing scams, but everybody lets down their guard from time to time. Like most antivirus tools, Acronis does its best to identify phishing frauds so you won’t have to.
To test this kind of protection we gather real-world phishing frauds, including some that have been identified and blacklisted, and others that are too new to have gone through analysis. The best phishing defenders handle both the known and the newer unknown frauds.
For testing purposes, we launch each collected URL in four browsers at once. One browser relies on the product under test for protection, while the other three get only the protection built into Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. We discard any test item that doesn’t load properly in all four browsers. We also discard any that don’t attempt to steal login credentials. When the dust has settled, we check the results.
Acronis’ popup and in-browser notifications that never made an appearance in our malicious URL blocking test did turn up in the phishing protection test. A popup identified dangerous pages, though it flagged more as generic malicious websites than as phishing pages. For non-secure HTTP pages, Acronis diverted the browser to a warning page; blocked HTTPS pages simply triggered a browser error.
Acronis detected a disappointing 52% of the verified phishing frauds, a significantly lower rate than any of the three browsers alone. That score puts it in the lower third of tested products. At the top of the pack, F-Secure and McAfee both scored 100%, while Bitdefender and Norton AntiVirus Plus managed 99%. The lesson is clear: If you use Acronis for security, don’t turn off phishing protection in your browser!
See How We Test Security Software
Layers of Protection Against Ransomware
In a very real way, backing up is the ultimate protection against ransomware. Suppose a ransomware attack gets past your antivirus long enough to encrypt some files. Once you’ve dealt with the malware, you just recover those files from your backups.
Even so, Acronis True Image Crack + Fix includes an active protection component that works to protect against any ransomware attack that might get past the basic real-time protection.
By default, the ransomware protection system extends protection to backups and network drives but doesn’t automatically recover files damaged by ransomware. That last setting simply means it asks your permission before performing file recovery.
The real-time protection layer eliminated all our ransomware samples, so we had to turn off that component for testing. With real-time protection, we launched a collection of real-world ransomware samples. Ransomware protection works by detecting ransomware behaviour, which means some files may get encrypted before Acronis halts the attack. After blocking ransomware, Acronis lists any affected files and offers to recover them.
We tested with a dozen ransomware samples, 10 of which were standard file-encrypting ransomware. Two of those didn’t do anything, perhaps scared off by the presence of Acronis. The ransomware protection system caught the other eight. In every case, some files needed recovery, from as few as six to as many as 98.
And in every case, Acronis successfully recovered the files. It also caught a nasty disk-encrypting sample when it tried to modify the Master Boot Record. The only sample it missed was a less harmful screen locker sample.
Acronis True Image 27.3.1 Crack + Fix flexible backup options and useful security extras are excellent. Uploading files in our backup test took a long time, however, and some features may be too risky for cautious users.