AntiSpy Pro is a new tool from software makers Ashampoo, its main focus being helping to protect and enhance the privacy of PC users and, in-turn, help decrease the risk of personal data being stolen or shared with parties it shouldn’t be.
Whilst measures can be taken manually by PC users to help protect their privacy further, the key selling point of such a tool is that it automatically applies a good set of default privacy settings with a single click, great for anyone who doesn’t have the time or understanding to confidently do this in a more manual way.
Even if you are more tech savvy, a tool such as AntiSpy Pro can be very useful in that it will ensure your privacy setting are automatically maintained (reducing the need to keep checking manually) and also potentially help to highlight areas relating to privacy in which might have been previously overlooked.
So far this sounds like a great tool from Ashampoo and one have have been looking forwards to testing, let’s go!
- 1 Click immunisation against tracking and privacy threats
- Easy to use software making privacy enhancements quick and easy
- Many Windows services and 3rd party applications covered
- Helps prevent tracking by 3rd parties (search engines, anti-virus companies etc.)
- Easy to undo any changes (should it be needed)
- Windows start-up auto immunization option
- Great value licence covering up to 10 PCs!
Why use a Privacy Tool?
I don’t normally write sections on reviews such as this one, the main reason being that software for most tasks including backing up, password management and disk cloning (amongst other things) all have a fairly easy to understand purposes, e.g. backing up your files to the cloud or keeping your passwords safe.
With privacy tools things are a little different, privacy isn’t a “task” to be completed per se, rather a state of being which can (and should) be constantly refined and improved upon to help ensure the safety and security of your personal data as much as is possible.
In reality this means configuring both your device and the software which runs upon it in a certain way as to help minimise any risks of your data being stolen or simply falling into the hands of those you don’t want to have access to it. Furthermore, this also means maintaining such configurations and being aware that updates and new software can also introduce new privacy issues to your PC!
Software such as Ashampoo AntiSpy Pro can assist in keeping the settings on your device and the software installed on it in check, this means privacy is maintained at a much higher level than it might otherwise be. A cast iron guarantee your data wont be misused, it is not! But combining other tools such as a good antivirus and password manager alongside a tool such as AntiSpy Pro can assist in helping to keep your PC and personal data as safe as is reasonably possible.
AntiSpy Pro Usability
In this section of the review I will be looking at Ashampoo AntiSpy Pro in more detail, I will start off looking at the installation process and then move on to the core privacy features which make up the application itself. Finally, towards the end of this section, I will cover the advanced application settings which are available within this tool.
Installing AntiSpy Pro
Installing AntiSpy Pro begins at the Ashampoo website where a 30 day free trial version of the software can be downloaded. At just over 22MB this was a quick download and I had the installer up and running on my PC after just a few seconds.
The whole installation, as with all Ashampoo software, was quick and easy and once the software is launched for the first time we need to enter our license code or, if necessary, make use of the free trial (which is 10 days by default and automatically extended to 30 days when registering for a free Ashampoo account).
With registration completed we get taken to the main dashboard of the application, this gives us a quick overview of our PCs current privacy status alongside an easy-to-use button for quickly improving our privacy settings to a default level with a single click.
Quickly Maintaining Privacy
Once AntiSpy Pro is installed, licenced and running we will be taken to the main dashboard where can be seen a graphic representation of our current privacy settings.
Naturally, pre-optimisation (as above), this will most likely read a low value. Despite this, Ashampoo have made the process of applying a good initial privacy configuration as simple as clicking the “Protect” button in the middle of the graphic (as is pointed out above).
This initial run of the tool took only a few seconds on my test system, once it was finished my privacy rating graphic was then more than half-way into the orange and reading that my system was now 61% protected, not bad for a single click so far!
Whilst this new privacy state will be a big improvement for many PCs (and probably enough for many PC users) we can dig deeper into the applications settings and maintain even more privacy should we wish to, more on this in the next section!
Advanced Privacy Configuration
As per the last section it was great to see that AntiSpy Pro makes boosting the privacy of a PC and its users very quick and easy, a single click after installation will go a long way by configuring a good set of default privacy settings recommended by Ashampoo themselves. Should we want to get the maximum benefit from this tool, however, we can optionally delve into the advanced privacy screen and configure some additional settings further.
Let’s start by clicking on the “Customize” button at the bottom right of the main dashboard, this will take us into the advanced settings screen where we can see what individual customisations have been applied by the software already and which ones are left for us to configure further.
As can be seen above, on my test PC there are currently 78 additional privacy related modifications which can be made, clicking on any of these will allow us to see more details (along with a description) of what the modification will do and how it will help enhance privacy.
As can be seen above, one of the options we have is that of being able to disable any attached cameras / webcams whenever the Windows PC is locked. Also note (above) how the tool also goes into detail telling us how it will enable this measure, in this example via the modification of a Windows registry key.
Moving on, let’s look at an entry for some third party software, in this case the Google Chrome browser and its ability to send back anonymous usage data and user statistics.
Naturally Google is a trustworthy company and all user data sent back to them from the Chrome browser will be handled professionally, even so, we might not want to have this data sharing set-up for many reasons and thanks to AntiSpy Pro we can easily turn this feature off.
As can be seen above, disabling this feature is as simple as sliding the toggle from “permit” to “block”, once this is done any future running of the privacy tool will ensure this sharing is now disabled.
Finally in this section, before re-running the tool, we can easily see all available privacy settings for many other aspects of our PC whilst still in the customisation screen. These options are conveniently grouped together by software type (e.g. operating system, pre-installed manufacturer software, anti-virus etc.) and quickly permitting or blocking multiple entries is as simple as scrolling down this page, clicking the toggle buttons for each one and then clicking on “apply” to save the settings.
Running the AntiSpy software again (using the “protect” button on the dashboard) will now apply our recently updated settings to the system thus actually implementing the new privacy level. The graphic in the middle of the dashboard will move further around to the right to indicate that the system is now more privacy focused than before (and in my case changed from orange to blue to indicate a more private system at a glance).
Of course, there are many other Windows settings and third-party software configurations covered by AntiSpy Pro in addition to those I have highlighted above. By taking the time to review them all carefully and apply any which are relevant to your own individual privacy preferences, I am confident that almost all PC users could achieve a more privacy focused PC with very little extra work required.
With the actual privacy configuration settings aside, we also have the ability to configure how the AntiSpy Pro app itself works on our PC, the main settings button being found at the top right of the main dashboard (as is highlighted below).
Also note, when in the main app settings screen, one of the first (and most important settings) is visible, that of having the tool automatically apply the immunisation configuration whenever Windows is started up. Thankfully, this is turned on by default and, as such, will help ensure our privacy settings are maintained should they otherwise be altered for any reason (such as a piece of third-party software updating itself etc.).
After this we also have some other options such as enabling a dark theme, controlling app notifications and showing debug information should we ever need to. Seemingly not much to configure at first glance, but then again this is perhaps testament to this tool been very “down to business” and easy to use!
AntiSpy Pro Security
The key security benefits arising form the use of AntiSpy Pro are, of course, the numerous privacy enhancements which will be made to the PC throughout its use!
Even if you don’t delve into the more advanced configurations of AntiSpy Pro, the default set of modifications which can be applied with a single click will help enhance the privacy of the PC itself, its users and potentially be a very big help in also securing the PC further as well.
Ashampoo have a great website and provide a comprehensive Q&A section which handles most problems you might encounter. Should you still need to get in touch with a support representative you can submit support tickets online.
AntiSpy Pro Pricing
Ashampoo AntoSpy Pro is priced at $39.99 / year with a single licence covering up to 10 PCs within a household. A 30 day free trial is available by clicking here.
AntiSpy Pro Review Summary
With privacy becoming an ever more important part of life in the 21st century it is great to see tools such as AntiSpy Pro come along and help PC users fix issues which could otherwise lead to breeches in their own personal privacy.
The most appealing aspect to this tool, in my opinion at least, is how easy it makes the process of enchaining the privacy based configuration of any PC. This can be done in as little as a single click if you are happy to apply the recommended defaults, the tool also has a great interface for digging deeper and allowing many other privacy customisations to be applied to Windows itself alongside many popular third party apps. Even if you are a fairly privacy conscious user, AntiSpy Pro can still be a very useful addition given that it can be set to automatically re-apply any privacy settings at start-up which could otherwise have been altered (via software updates etc.).
I think the price is very fair at only $39.99 / year given the piece of mind such a tool can provide, add into the mix that a single licence will cover up to 10 devices in the same household and this starts to look like a very good value security based addition to anyone’s PC, even for those who work across multiple devices!
Overall a great tool which makes improving privacy quick and easy for everyone, a great job Ashampoo!