Security Task Manager is a shareware program for Microsoft Windows devices that ranks running processes based on an algorithm that determines the security risk of each process.
You can download a 30-day trial from the developer site; it is enough to run the program to check out all processes on a Windows machine to find out whether malicious or dangerous processes slipped past the system's defenses.
The program is compatible with Windows XP and newer versions of Windows. While you may install the program on a device, you may download a portable version that is provided on the developer's site as well.
The application displays the list of non-system processes on start. Check the "show system processes" box to add them to the listing.
Ratings are assigned to each process and the processes with the highest security threat ratings are listed at the top of the table.
A high rating does not necessarily mean that a program is malicious but you may want to check them out to make sure they are not.
The screenshot above shows several false positives like F.Lux, QuiteRSS, or the Microsoft Store or Skype.
The hint text in the bottom toolbar informs users that a high rating does not necessarily mean that a program is a thread but that characteristics are typically found in spyware.
The developers suggest that customers to research of their own to find out more about processes. The built-in option to scan any running process on Virustotal helps when it comes to that.
You may select any process to display details about it in the bottom toolbar. There you find information about factors that determined a processes's rating and text that the task manager found in the process.
Factors that may play a role include whether the app is a Windows Store app, if its window is visible, if it communicates with remote servers, or if it is a Windows system file.
You can start a search for user comments from within Security Task Manager, and use the "remove" button to end a running process.
Searches open the Neuber website (the developer of Security Task Manager) and the user comments that users left so far for the particular process.
A right-click on a process displays a context menu with additional options; you may use it to open the folder the process' file is stored in, open the file properties or add a comment to the file.
A click on the Security Tips button displays tips that point to potential security or privacy related issues on the system.
Security Task Manager may highlight that potentially unwanted add-ons are installed in Google Chrome, that super cookies exist on the system, or that Do Not Track is not enabled.
If you run the program with elevated rights, you will get additional hints, for instance, that system restore is not enabled on the device.
Some differences exist between the trial version and full version of Security Task Manager. The full version supports drivers and services as well, and will scan the system to highlight non-system drivers and services to you.
The full version comes with an extra program called SpyProtector which prevents the monitoring of mouse and keyboard activity, the recording of user activity, warns if changes are noticed in the Registry, and can be used to delete traces on the system.
Security Task Manager assists users and administrators in detecting threats that run on Windows PCs. It is not a set and forget kind of program though as it is necessary to review the threat ratings of processes to make sure they are not false positives.
In fact, the majority of processes that you may find listed with high threat ratings may be completely harmless; this may confuse less-experienced computer users as they may act on the information provided alone without verifying the findings.
It would be better, in my opinion, if the program would use hashes to exclude safe programs by default as this would reduce the list of processes significantly that users would have to look at.
Is it worth the price? That depends; you get the full version of the software which analyzes drivers and services next to processes, and an anti-spyware tool. That's good value considering that you pay $29 for all of that.
Now You: which programs do you use to check processes?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.