Windows edition[ edit ] Version 6. KIS detected percent of threats on a subset of the January wild-list, a list of prevalent threats. The suite detected almost KIS has the ability to scan within compressed or packed files, detecting
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During installation, you create or log into your My Kaspersky account for full activation. The product also installs a toolbar for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, providing markup for dangerous links in search results and access to the on-screen keyboard. Kaspersky Free automatically updates its antivirus database signatures in the background, but it couldn’t hurt to manually call for an update right after installation. View All 9 Photos in Gallery You might expect that this product would look a lot like its premium antivirus cousin, but in fact the main window looks just like that of the full Kaspersky Internet Security suite, with one significant difference.
It displays the same six icons as the suite does: Dimmed-out icons with a shield overlay indicate that access to these features requires a premium upgrade.
Settings and Scans Kaspersky’s settings are simpler than in my earlier review. The Protection tab lists six types of protection, including scanning for malware in files, on the web, and in mail and instant messages.
There’s also the System Watcher component, a behavior-based system that can detect even zero-day malware. Note that the first release of Kaspersky Free didn’t include System Watcher. And the Network Attack Blocker aims to prevent dangerous network activity.
All six features are enabled, and you can’t disable them. Normally I would test System Watcher by disabling real-time malware protection and trying out some ransomware samples. However, the free edition doesn’t let users change the state of malware protection, so that test will have to wait for my review of the non-free Kaspersky Anti-Virus. A full scan with Kaspersky Free ran in 36 minutes, which is good given that the current average is almost 50 minutes.
Like many antivirus products, Kaspersky can perform optimization during the initial scan to speed subsequent scans. When I tested this feature last time, the second scan finished in a speedy four minutes. This time around, after a short while it alarmingly displayed “About 3 hours left. I had to dig several levels deep in Advanced Settings to find that indeed, “Scan only new and changed files” is turned off by default. With that feature enabled, a repeat scan finished in just two minutes.
In any case, once you perform that initial full scan, the real-time protection and System Watch components should take care of any new attempts to subvert your computer. If you wish, you can set a schedule to run a full scan every so often. Perfect Lab Scores Independent antivirus testing labs devote tremendous resources to evaluating antivirus products.
I follow four labs that release regular reports on their findings. Kaspersky earned the best possible score in the latest results from all four labs—a clean sweep!
I should point out that the labs didn’t specifically test the free edition, but given that free users now get all antivirus features, including System Watch, results should be comparable. The experts at AV-Test Institute rate antivirus products on three criteria, powerful malware protection, low performance impact, and small number of false positives valid files or URLs identified as dangerous.
A product can earn six points in each category, for a maximum possible score of That’s just what Kaspersky did. Tests by SE Labs simulate the actual user experience as closely as possible. Researchers capture real-world malicious websites and use a replay system to hit every product with the same attack. This lab offers certification at five levels: Kaspersky took AAA in the latest test, along with quite a few others. Of the many tests regularly reported by AV-Comparatives , I follow four.
Kaspersky was among the minority that passed this lab’s banking Trojans test. Another test aims to measure protection against all kinds of malware. Level 1 certification identifies a product that directly prevents all malware infestations, while Level 2 goes to antivirus utilities that remediate all attacks within a day. Kaspersky earned Level 1 certification.
I use a formula to come up with an aggregate lab score, up to a maximum of 10 points. With perfect scores across the board, Kaspersky naturally has 10 points.
Bitdefender is very close, with perfect scores in almost all the tests, A tiny slipup involving false positives brought it down to 9. Our Editors’ Choice free antivirus products, Avast and AVG, also get results from all four labs, and their scores are quite good, 9. Avira, too, earned 9. Hands-On Malware Protection Testing When the labs unanimously praise an antivirus, you know it’s very good indeed. Even so, I always run my own hands-on malware protection tests, to get a feel for each program’s style.
For most products, the test starts when I open a folder containing my current collection of malware samples. Kaspersky got ahead of me on this one, working to remove malware even before I opened the folder. When the flurry of popup notifications ended, Kaspersky had eliminated 79 percent of the samples on sight. In a couple cases, it disinfected a file to remove a virus. It identified a few others as “legitimate program that can be used by criminals to damage your computer.
Proceeding with the test, I launched the surviving samples. Kaspersky caught some of those as they tried to install, but let other pass by unmolested.
It scored 8. Cylance Smart Antivirus and F-Secure both managed 9. However, as I mentioned, when the labs unanimously praise a program I defer to their judgment. Since they’re different samples, results aren’t directly comparable, but 10 is surely a good score. Malware Protection Results Chart It takes a substantial investment of time and effort to prepare a set of malware samples for my detailed analysis, so I don’t change that collection often.
The test itself is simple. I launch each URL, discarding any that are already defunct, or that don’t truly point to malware. I note whether the antivirus blocks all access to the URL, eliminated the downloaded malware, or fails utterly. When I have data points, I run the numbers. Kaspersky blocked all access to more than half of the URLs, It kicked in at the beginning of the download process for almost another 40 percent. In just two cases, it analyzed the file after download and eliminated it.
Its overall score of 92 percent protection is very good. However, Bitdefender recently owned this test, with a near-perfect 99 percent protection. Perfect Phishing Protection Score Where malware seeks to sneak past your computer’s security, phishing attacks aim to sneak past your own common sense and awareness.
The fraudsters prepare websites that look exactly like PayPal, or eBay, or your bank. Sometimes the URLs are even close, like pyapal. If you miss the warning signs and log in with your username and password, you’ve just given away your account to the bad guys. Modern browsers have phishing detection built in, but the best security products outperform the browsers in my antiphishing test.
To prepare for this test, I scour the web for the newest reported phishing URLs, preferably those so new they haven’t hit the blacklists. Phishing Protection Results Chart In the past, Kaspersky has earned good-not-great scores in this test.
Last year, for example, it detected and blocked 89 percent of the phishing sites, a better score than any of the three browsers. When I first tested the latest edition of Kaspersky Free, the results were shocking. It only detected 44 percent of verified fraudulent websites, and all three browsers did better. My Kaspersky contact explained that the developers were working on the phishing servers during that test. When I ran the test again, Kaspersky achieved something I haven’t seen before— percent detection.
And of course it beat all three browsers. Until Kaspersky’s triumph, Bitdefender had the top spot in this test, with 99 percent detection. Trend Micro and ZoneAlarm are right up there, with 98 percent. And the free Avast Free Antivirus antivirus managed 90 percent. But for phishing protection, Kaspersky beats them all, free and paid. Please read our review of the VPN for full details. Bitdefender’s product line now offers a very similar VPN arrangement, with MB and no server choice for free, or unlimited bandwidth and choice of servers for a premium.
It’s no surprise that the two are similar, since both are backed by the server network of AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite. We have dinged Hotspot Shield in recent reviews for some iffy privacy policies. Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky put severe limits on the user info they share with AnchorFree.
Few Frills Since my last review, Kaspersky has added System Watch to the free edition, so its basic antivirus capabilities are equal to those of the premium antivirus. But if you run across a pernicious and malicious program that resists removal, or that prevents installation of the antivirus, you don’t get the bootable Rescue Disk feature that comes with the full Kaspersky Anti-Virus.
Several other useful but not antivirus-central features show up in the premium edition. These include: Vulnerability Scan, to find missing security patches; Browser Configuration check, in case your browsers aren’t secured; Privacy Cleaner, to wipe away traces of your computing and browsing activity; and Microsoft Windows Troubleshooting. You also gain the ability to turn protection components on and off.
If you need help using Kaspersky Free, you can poke around in the FAQs and online documentation, or ask around in the forums. Those using the paid edition can get support via phone or online live chat, which can be very helpful. What’s Not Here You might expect purveyors of free antivirus products to reserve the best features for paying customers, but some competing products offer quite a lot at the free level. AVG comes with the Zen remote management tool, a secure deletion shredder, and a web protection component that marks up dangerous search results and actively foils trackers.
With Avira, the bonus features come as separate installations, including a free, bandwidth-limited edition of Avira’s Phantom VPN , a privacy-centered browser, a vulnerability scanner, and a price comparison tool. Avast Free Antivirus really piles on the bonuses, at no charge.
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