Is HitmanPro a good antivirus? How effective is it at protecting against malware threats?
HitmanPro was developed by Mark Loman and his company Surfright in the Netherlands, and the brand was first launched in 2006. SurfRight was acquired in December 2015 by Sophos, a major antivirus brand for home and corporate cyber security.
It is my goal in this review to reveal how well I believe HitmanPro will operate for the ordinary home PC user, as well as how well I believe it will protect them against malware and virus infections. Is HitmanPro a viable alternative to other leading options available on the market?
The programs’ overall performance, features, customer service, user interface, and pricing will all be taken into consideration.
This HitmanPro review answers the following questions:
- What features are included with HitmanPro?
- How successful is HitmanPro when it comes to malware protection?
- What effect does it have on the performance of your computer?
- How straightforward is the process of installing and getting support?
- How much does HitmanPro cost?
Before I go into detail about my results, I want to provide a brief overview of what I discovered regarding HitmanPro antivirus solutions.
HitmanPro doesn’t slow your PC down and it has a really user-friendly interface, but, unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets. The on-demand scan failed to detect malware files, which is alarming considering it is the primary reason for using an antivirus.
There are other options on the market that provide better value for money, and are better capable of combating malware threats. Keep reading for the full testing data and information about how I came to this conclusion.
TRY OUR TOP-RATED ANTIVIRUS RISK-FREE
- Unique features
- Easy to use interface
- Light impact on PC performance
- Poor detection results in my own testing
- Limited independent testing
- Limited additional features
What’s new in the latest version of HitmanPro?
In the most recent version of HitmanPro released in January 2022, a couple of improvements have been made. The updates include:
- FIXED: Detection and removal of Chrome cookies
- FIXED: Windows XP Updater
- CHANGED: Terms and Conditions when using HitmanPro for the first time
In the previous update released at the end of December 2021 a few improvements were added, as listed below:
- ADDED: Detection of Turla malware
- IMPROVED: Scan speed in certain scenarios
- CHANGED: Cloud components
In addition to the above updates Hitman Pro also constantly updates its malware and virus signature databases.
How to get the latest version of HitmanPro
The latest version can be downloaded from the HitmanPro website. It’s worth mentioning that from here the website redirects you to pay for and download the software from its reseller, partner Cleverbridge AV.
What versions of the software are available?
HitmanPro is labeled as an advanced malware removal program. This means that it is only used for removing existing infections on your Windows machine. It is designed to scan your files and programs to find and remove all traces of known and new malware hidden on your computer.
HitmanPro examines behavior while searching for trojans and other malware. Malicious conduct can be detected even when a malware signature isn’t present.
HitmanPro uses malware databases from four security laboratories, including SophosLabs, to be very comprehensive when searching for and wiping up spyware and malware. More research implies more powerful cleaning.
Resistant malware may also influence vital system files and boot records, allowing it to control the Windows operating system and installed antivirus software. This is even before the operating system boots. HitmanPro can eliminate these persistent threats from the running operating system and its boot records.
It also includes PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application) removal to target apps that appear benign but are actually used to mask spyware, adware, trojans and other malicious programs.
HitmanPro.Alert includes everything found in HitmanPro but it also adds in quite a few features to deliver continuous protection.
This includes advanced real-time protection to protect against new and developing malware, PUAs, and program exploits to prevent infection from the latest threats. Advanced ransomware protection stops all types of ransomware from encrypting your files and boot drive.
Advanced web protection blocks phishing attacks and compromised websites for safe browsing and shopping. Online banking protection secures online banking and shopping on web browsers. Advanced exploit prevention prevents vulnerable programs from being hacked to allow attackers to gain access to your system. Privacy protection monitors access to your webcam and blocks attempts to record your keystrokes.
Is HitmanPro antivirus effective against malware?
Malware, viruses, trojans, and worms, spyware, and trackers are just some of the risks that users face today from malicious files and programs. It’s important to choose an antivirus tool that can stop any of these assaults swiftly and efficiently.
In order to find out how well HitmanPro performs against a number of attacks, I will run a few tests. This includes a real-time scanning test to see if the program can stop a variety of dangers. After testing the real-time scanning function of HitmanPro.Alert I will also check how well its on demand scanner works by finding malware that already exists on the local disk.
For the avoidance of doubt, the software I will use in my tests is the HitmanPro.Alert version, as it includes the on-demand scanning function of HitmanPro plus it has real-time scanning which I also want to test and compare against other antivirus programs.
Real-time scanning tests
HitmanPro.Alert will be put to the test first by seeing how it handles a small number of malware sample files from the European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research (EICAR) in real-time.
In order to pass this test, the real-time scanner must detect the files as malicious upon download and immediately stop them. There are four of these sample files, each of which is intended to replicate a different kind of viral assault that may be experienced when using the internet.
The first is an eicar.com file which has an ASCII character string. In the second file, eicar.com.txt, I have copied the string from the first file and pasted it into Wordpad on my computer to see whether the malware scanner picks it up when I save the file. The third test file is included inside a zip folder, which adds an additional layer of complexity for the antivirus scanner, but it is also a condition that it should be able to handle in the real world. A good anti-virus scanner will be able to identify a virus that has been hidden inside an archive. The final Eicar test file is a zip bundle that contains the virus sample file archived more than one folder deep. This file will be used to detect whether the virus scanner examines file archive folders that are more than one level deep in the directory structure.
I’m interested in seeing whether the software detects and blocks the samples, and if so, how it performs that task. The following table contains the results of the HitmanPro.Alert program:
|Test File||Eicar Sample 1||Eicar Sample 2||Eicar Sample 3||Eicar Sample 4|
What this table means is that HitmanPro.Alert failed to detect the files at the point of download and allowed all four EICAR files including the saved .txt file and the archived files to be downloaded even with its real-time scanner active. Not good.
Next I tested the software’s real-time scanner against some live malware files, to see how it performed. Unlike the sample files from EICAR that replicate a virus, these live samples include harmful programs such as trojans and adware.
Again, I found that in my tests HitmanPro failed to stop the download or immediately quarantine the live samples that I downloaded. Upon attempting to extract the zipped files from the live sample archives, it did detect the samples.
This table breaks down its success against the different types of malware that were downloaded:
|Test File||Live Sample 1 (Adware)||Live Sample 2 (Trojan)||Live Sample 3 (Trojan)|
Overall I was pretty disappointed with the performance of the live scanning ability and lack of effectiveness from the HitmanPro.Alert real-time scanner.
HitmanPro.Alert does offer some strong real-time exploit defenses, which can identify and stop malware and exploits that are targeting background processes in the program. The ability to block malware that is already running on your system is a useful feature, but I’d prefer a real-time protection feature that could more accurately prevent malware from being downloaded and running in the first place, such as the real-time protection offered by most leading antivirus brands.
On-demand scanning tests
Next, I wanted to test how well the on-demand scanner included with the HitmanPro.Alert suite dealt with the virus and malware files. To do this I turned off the live scanning function from the dashboard. I then downloaded all four EICAR files and the three live samples without the program blocking the downloads.
Now with them on my local drive, I was able to run a scan to see how many it would find.
There’s no option for a quick scan (At least in the HitmanPro.Active software I used) though I did notice in the website product literature a quick scan function was mentioned.
Instead, I only had a ‘Run scan’ button available with no setting options. I clicked the button to start the scan and monitored the results as well as how long the scan took and how many files it checked in that time.
The full scan was fairly short and took just 5 minutes to complete on my PC. Unfortunately HitmanPro.Alert once again failed to find any of the files in my on-demand scan. The program did find and alert me to tracking cookies on my device which is something, but not really what I was looking for.
I had to install another antivirus software to pick up the malware files that were left behind and clean them from my device.
HitmanPro.Alert also didn’t provide any data on how many files it checked during its scan which makes it harder to understand how far into the system it checked for malware.
Due to its short scan time and the fact it didn’t find any of the sample malware files on my device, I don’t have confidence that it checked as many files as other programs I’ve tested. The table below shows examples of comparable scans by other providers.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan # Items Scanned|
As the table shows other providers’ full scans took much longer than HitmanPro.Alert.
Independent lab testing results
In this part of the review, I would usually provide an overview of the latest results from leading independent test labs AV-Comparatives and AV-Test.
The idea is that the labs provide large scale tests against hundreds of samples including zero-day threats, so they give a good indication of how good the software is.
In this case, I am unable to find any testing data from the two labs, so I can’t assess how HitmanPro performs against a broader set of data or against zero-day threats as found in the test run by AV-Test.
HitmanPro comes with a number of different features. Here’s an overview of some of the main ones.
Protection for vulnerable programs
HitmanPro.Alert claims it can protect vulnerable programs by fighting against backdoor attacks.
Using a backdoor, an individual may get access to a computer system or encrypted data by circumventing the system’s normal security safeguards. For debugging or other reasons, a developer may include a backdoor in a program or operating system that may be accessed by other developers.
As a consequence, remote access to resources inside an application, such as databases and file servers, is allowed, allowing offenders the ability to remotely issue system instructions and update malware without being physically present.
Even very popular standard applications such as Microsoft Word and Office might be the weakest link. Their capabilities may be used against you, allowing for the creation of an open backdoor to your files and sensitive information. Additional protection layers are placed around these susceptible apps, and compromised Windows resources are replaced with secure, original versions as part of the HitmanPro.Alert process.
Deceive malware to “self-destruct”
HitmanPro uses an interesting feature that it says can deceive malware into being deactivated. According to the company, the idea behind the feature is that hackers don’t want their malware to be studied by security experts because then it becomes well known and easy to stop.
To prevent this many malware programs have a built-in ‘self-destruction’ mode when the software recognizes behavior like that of an antivirus researcher. To take advantage of this HitmanPro.Alert has a built in feature to make it look as though everyone who uses the antivirus looks like a researcher to the malware. It claims that this results in a lot of terminated malware.
Secure browser and webcam protection
HitmanPro.Alert encrypts the information you enter on the internet, rendering keyloggers ineffective at acquiring critical information such as credit card numbers and login passwords, or personal details like your date of birth and address. Additionally, HitmanPro.Alert improves the security of your browser, preventing hacker vulnerabilities.
The software also has a webcam protection feature to keep access to your camera secure. Should any software on your device activate your camera, you’ll get a notification to alert you so you can take action and approve and reject access.
Stop zero-day ransomware
CryptoGuard is a feature in HitmanPro.Alert that monitors all encryption activity and provides recommendations. When HitmanPro.Alert detects unlawful encryption, it responds immediately. It first makes backups of the data, then disables and eliminates the ransomware from the system. Finally, it enables the data to be restored to its original format when necessary. There is no need for user input, and no ransomware signatures are required. HitmanPro claims the tool can stop zero-day ransomware attacks.
What is HitmanPro’s impact on performance?
How much impact does HitmanPro.Does Alert have on PC Performance? Most antivirus scanners have some impact on PC speed and system resources. No one wants an antivirus that will slow down their PC too much so I ran a few tests to see how HitmanPro performs.
The quickscan feature doesn’t seem to be available on the HitmanPro.Alert version I was using for testing, so I can’t look at its impact, but I was able to run a full scan.
I logged the percentage of my CPU that was being utilized just before I ran the scan, as a checkpoint for comparison.
Then, while the scan was running, I noted how long it took and how much it impacted the computer’s resources compared to the control numbers. This allowed me to determine how much the antivirus application affected PC performance when the scan is running. The performance impact of the full scan is shown below.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization, MBs per second (no scan)||Full Scan CPU Utilization %||Full Scan Disk Utilization MB/s||Full Scan Time (minutes)|
As can be observed, there is some impact on the performance numbers. CPU utilization increased by 35 percent and disk utilization increased from 34 MB/s to 519 MB/s. Overall the impact is fairly minimal and I found I was still able to easily perform tasks such as launching apps while the scan was running. I also quickly launched a game and video stream and both ran smoothly even while the antivirus app was running in the background.
The HitmanPro app is pretty lightweight and that’s what I expected to see; the installer file itself was only around 10MB.
Is the interface easy to use?
HitmanPro.Alert has a nice layout and the design looks modern. Its black interface with bright colors is eye catching.
The features themselves are very clearly laid out and easy to navigate. You can easily launch a scan from the top of the interface, run product updates, and check that you have the latest available version of the software.
The UI will also provide a clear notice informing you if your system is safe or not, and whether you need to take action to secure it. You may also immediately visit the safety notice to get a history of what actions or recommendations the program has performed.
HitmanPro customer support
HitmanPro and HitManPro.Alert have separate support pages on the company website, so make sure you navigate to the correct page for the version of the software you are using.
For a paid product, the support from HitmanPro is sadly lacking. There’s a short FAQ answering a few basic questions, but there’s no knowledgebase, live chat, video tutorials, or phone support.
HitmanPro does offer a support email where you can get help from the team if the FAQ does not solve your problem.
Most paid antivirus products I’ve tested provide much more in depth support than what I’ve found with HitmanPro.
Currently, HitmanPro is a Windows computer and tablet only product, so Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android users will need to look elsewhere for antivirus protection. The minimum system requirements to run HitmanPro are listed below.
- Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (32- and 64-bit), Windows 10 and Windows 11
- 400Mhz or faster Processor
- At least 512 MB RAM
- Internet connection
The software is also available to download in multiple languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Brazil, Russian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean.
Hitman Pro price
HitmanPro costs £19.95 to protect one device for one year. There are no first year discounts available at the time of writing, but users can extend the cover to up to three PCs and for up to three years.
To extend the cover of one PC to three years will cost £39.95. (The checkout states that the third year is free in this deal.)
The option to cover three PCs for a year increases the cost to £25.95 per year. The checkout states that, in this deal, the third PC is protected for free.
And finally, if you want to cover three PCs for three years, the cost is £59.90.
HitmanPro.Alert costs £29.95 to cover one PC for one year. Like the standard HitmanPro version it is also available to protect up to three Windows devices and can be extended to cover up to three years.
To cover one PC for three years increases the price to £59.95.
To cover three PCs for one year costs £49.95, and to cover three PCs for three years costs £92.95.
Best HitmanPro alternatives
It’s always worth researching and considering the best antivirus for you. During my testing of various AV programs I have found which programs have the best test results, and the best all round package for security and privacy. Here are a few of my recommendations.
AVG: A solid all-around antivirus with a 100 per cent protection rating in the most recent lab testing. A data shredder and camera protection are among the handy utilities included in the package.
ESET: Strong malware detection ratings combined with a fair price range make ESET a viable option. Because of the way ESET pricing is structured, it might provide value if you just need to protect one or two devices.
Bitdefender: Bitdefender augments its antivirus scanning with privacy technologies to provide an all-around protection solution. It will assist to safeguard your personal data while having a little influence on the functionality of your PC.
HitmanPro review verdict
In this review, I have found that in my own tests HitmanPro.Alert failed to live up to its promises. While my testing is limited in scope and the program may well perform better in larger data set testing, there is little available in independent research to verify the program’s efficacy.
I found that its on demand scans failed to detect malware samples, and another program had to be installed to pick this up.
The plus points for HitmanPro.Alert is that it has some interesting features, a lightweight impact on PC resources, and a pretty good interface. However, there are much better antivirus solutions on the market that offer better value for money with better records of efficacy against malware.
Antivirus testing methodology
We’ve structured our antivirus testing methodology to provide reliable data on how effective the software is at malware protection and performance.
Our testing process includes:
- Using malware test samples from EICAR
- Testing live malware samples including Adware and Trojans
- Comparing our own tests with independent antivirus lab test results
- Measuring impact on PC performance
In addition, we measure a number of PC performance metrics and analyze pricing, ease of use, compatibility, and additional features.
If you’d like to know more about how we analyze antivirus software, we have a dedicated post on our antivirus research and testing methodology.