In a nutshell
It might not be the fastest virus-scanner on the market, but the 2012 edition of Kaspersky Internet Security is worth a look all the same, because as well as showing off a successful update to its user interface, this new edition packs in an updated protection system that detects and thwarts most threats using both local and cloud-based systems. Check out our detailed review to find out all about it, and if you like what you see then why not pick up a discounted copy for yourself, here .
With this 2012 edition, as with previous versions, Kaspersky Internet Security offers not only industry-leading malware protection but also a set of functions and tools that few other security software packages offer. And while the release of this edition isn’t going to go down as a game-changing moment in the history of antivirus software, it’s worth paying attention to any program which has been propelled to the upper reaches of the sales charts by a combination of features and effectiveness.
Setting up last year’s edition of Kaspersky was, not to put too fine a point on it, a pain, because the installer refused to proceed if it detected even the smallest trace of the presence of alternative anti-malware suites. That seems to have been addressed in this version and the 2012 suite installed painlessly (barring an annoying – and unavoidable – requirement to reboot once you’ve installed in order to be able to register the program).
Design, organisation and use
It’s no secret that most antimalware suites tend to look quite alike, with the best features and approaches being adopted across the board in no time. So it’s quite a surprise to see Kaspersy coming in with a definitively novel approach in this edition of its Internet Security suite. In fact pretty much all it has in common with the look of the previous edition is its calm green, white and grey colour scheme.
So what’s new? Well, the suite has clearly taken inspiration from the app-drawer approach now ubiquitous in smartphone UI design to highlight the most important information, while discreetly organising the rest of the suite’s tools so you’re not bothered by them until you need them. At the top of the screen is a big box showing your security status, and along the bottom are the suite’s main functions (scan, update, parental controls, and other tools).
If you want to see more options, just slide the options around, or pull up the complete list of options by clicking on the arrow at the bottom. You can access program settings and scan reports in the top right of the screen.
If you don’t like the default layout, though, you’re out of luck. Unlike some of its competitors (Bitdefender springs to mind), you can’t rearrange it. Another downside is that while the designers have clearly made an effort to ensure that technical terms are used consistently across the various parts of the program (a benefit for novices and more sophisticated users alike), the settings you can control in the Settings pane are, oddly, left unlabeled – leaving you to work things out for yourself based on the slightly cryptic icons. (In case you’re still puzzling, the tabs relate to Protection centre, Scan, Update, and Advanced settings.)
At the top of the main screen you can find out more about Kaspersky’s crowd-sourcing detection technology. You’re opted into this by default, which means sharing data anonymously with Kaspersky to help it identify the latest threats as they emerge, but you can opt out without reducing your protection (the same approach seems to have been taken by most antimalware programs). Opting out is a bit of a process though – you have to click first on Settings, then on the Advanced settings icon (as above, the last icon on the list), then on Feedback, before unchecking the relevant box.
Apart from this labelling issue, you’ll find it easy to get around all the options, including those under the advanced tab. The program runs snappily too, and you can switch screens and tools with no discernible delay.
Program features and support services
The biggest development to hit the 2012 edition of the Kaspersky Internet Security suite is the use of a cloud-based malware detection system. This harvests information from all users of the suite, combing through it to identify potential threats. The approach has a dual benefit, in that it not only reduces the impact of virus detection on your own machine’s resources and performance, but also ensures quicker reaction times when it does spot something untoward. Tests do seem to bear this out, as you’ll see below.
Another development is the Safe Run sandbox, which can now protect you right across your system by running on the desktop, and can also handle both local applications and websites. When you use it from within the Kaspersky window, files you create are funnelled into a special folder so you can move them later, but not before they’ve been fully scanned and interrogated. The feature is nicely designed to mimic the remote access tool that is bundled with Windows, so it all looks and feels very ‘native’ and familiar. It’s also a very smooth process to switch into and out of sandboxed mode. You can tell when Safe Run is enabled by the green border which appears.
Another neat addition is the File Advisor, which adds a new option to the Windows Explorer context (right click) menu which lets you inspect a file without having to fire up Kaspersky just to do it. To do this, File Advisor creates a tunnel between the Kaspersky Security Network and your files, and in our tests it all seemed to work pretty swiftly – though this is of course dependent on the quality of your own internet connection.
Last year’s edition added the so-called ‘System Watcher’ function. To all intents and purposes, this is just an exciting sounding name for a system log. However, in this year’s edition the Roll Back function has gained a bit of oomph, and rolling back the problems caused by any malware that somehow sneaks its way onto your machine is now a much simpler affair. A Network Monitor can show you all the data traffic between your computer and the wider network, if you’re interested in that.
Although many people now use alternative browsers, the Internet Explorer security tool might be of use to those still using earlier versions of Windows or Internet Explorer. And while keylogging threats are probably a thing of the past anyway these days, given how much the effectiveness of antimalware programs has increased over the years, some might still draw comfort from the option to launch a virtual keyboard to evade them.
Some care has been taken to ensure that the look and feel of the useful desktop gadget, which gives you access to the program’s tools, is now consistent with that of the main program interface. You can open the Kaspersky interface by tapping in the middle of the widget, and you can initiate an Update, access the Task Manager or Reports (for a log of the program’s activities), or switch into Safe Run mode by clicking on the relevant button on the bottom of the gadget. There was no appreciable difference in performance whether we ran the tools from within the main window or from the gadget.
While most security programs give you the option of performing a Quick Scan, Kaspersky did away with this in 2010, replacing it with options to initiate a Critical Areas scan or a Vulnerability scan. A cynic might suggest that Kaspersky wouldn’t want to label any of its scans as a ‘Quick Scan’ because ‘quick’ isn’t really a word you’d associate with Kaspersky – but it does have the benefit of forcing you to think about what exactly it is that you want to scan for. As ever, once the scan is completed, you’ll be presented with a log of results and the program will recommend actions to take, as well as telling you whether the issue requires urgent attention or is just something to add to your to-do list.
Kaspersky still provides a good level of support online, through forums, articles in its knowledge base, live chat and telephone support. Live chat is only available between 9am and 9pm EST, Monday to Friday though, and while there is telephone support, you can only take advantage of it between 8am and 9pm, Monday to Friday. As with many programs, the number for telephone support is pretty well hidden – you can reach them on 781-503-1820 or 1-866-525-9094.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is more about quality than speed. The main scan took just over 8 minutes on average, over three attempts (although the suite initially offered an optimistic estimate of under 3 minutes). Full scanning was more in line with industry averages, clocking in at 1 hour 32 mins.
Although things have improved significantly since the 2011 edition of Kaspersky Internet Security notched up a scan time of 1,750 seconds, the 1,320 seconds that its updated sibling managed was still among the slowest this year. (It should also be noted that since last year our test machine has been updated from Windows 7 64-bit edition to Windows 7 64-bit SP1, so the two tests are not strictly comparable.)
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 slowed our boot time down considerably – adding a full 21.3 seconds – and added a fair chunk of time to shutdown too, at 12 seconds. The program’s impact on other programs was about average. As we noted earlier though, the software felt nice and responsive in use.
Kaspersky continues to score well in tests of both detection and removal of malware. AV-Test.org, an independent testing agency, divides its tests into three areas: ‘Protection’, which covers static and dynamic malware detection, including real-world zero-day attack testing; ‘Repair,’ which focuses in depth on system disinfection and rootkit removal; and ‘Usability’, which includes both system slowdown and the number of false positives. AV-Test has given Kaspersky Internet Security good scores in both its Q1 and Q2 tests. In Q1, on a Win 7 machine, Kaspersky bagged a total of 14 points out of a possible 18, dropping a mere half point on Protection, one and a half points on Repair and two points on Usability. This is still well above the 11 point threshold for AV-Test.org certification.
In the Q2 test, on a Windows XP machine, Kaspersky Internet Security came off much better, scoring 5.5 out of 6 on both Protection and Repair, and only dropping one point on Usability, to rack up a total of 16 out of 18 (though it was still pipped to the number one spot by Bitdefender, which managed an impressive 17 out of 18).
Early results suggest that Kaspersky has continued its good run in AV-Test.org’s latest tests. In May this year it achieved a 99.4% detection rate for malware, comfortably above the industry average of 98.5% used in certification testing, and only just below the 99.53% that Bitdefender managed. Like most other suites, Kaspersky Internet Security also managed to clean up all the active malware infections it was given, and it saw off 94.4% of the rootkit infections it was tested on, easily outperforming the industry average (44.4%). Kaspersky also repelled 94.6% of attacks it was subjected to in AV-Test.org’s zero-day test (again, well above the average May 2011 results of 80.5%), and all without throwing up any false positive results. So in summary, AV-Test.org’s testing finds Kaspersky Internet Security to be a very effective antimalware solution.
Less positive news came from Dennis Technology Labs, which saw Kaspersky take only seventh place out of the 11 suites they assessed, notching up a Total Accuracy score of 101.75 out of a possible 150.
Meanwhile, AV-Comparatives.org’s Whole Product test (which examines antivirus programs’ performance in on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and real-world guards including cloud-based protection) found Kaspersky to be a solid performer, though far from a front-runner. In its June 2011 test, Kaspersky blocked 98.3% of all threats and attacks it was subjected to, coming in sixth behind F-Secure, Panda, Trend Micro, Bitdefender and GData. Totting up the scores from all of AV-Comparatives’ Whole Product tests between Jan 2010 and June 2011, Kaspersky ends up in eighth position (having blocked 97.7% of all threats thrown at it).
Overall then, while it’s hard to fault Kaspersky’s performance, it’s equally hard to overlook the downsides of slow scanning, impact on system resources, and the fact that it’s outperformed by many of its competitors in the all-important detection and removal tests. This leads to a feeling that, while they’ve pushed out a decent update of their program, Kaspersky’s engineers nonetheless ought to be thinking about how to up their game.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 provides decent malware protection, but is slower than some of its rivals and – while a solid performer – isn’t the best-scoring antivirus system on the market. Nonetheless some novel features might make it a worthwhile purchase for the right consumer. If you want to pick up a copy for yourself, you can do so here.
There are many Kaspersky vs BitDefender comparisons conducted by reviewers from IT magazines and websites.
Developed by the Romanian-based company, SOFTWIN, BitDefender is a comprehensive anti-virus and anti-spyware software suite that prevents viruses, adware, rootkits, phishing and other types of malware. Since its creation in 2001, BitDefender has received awards and recognition from respected IT publications and institutions. BitDefender has gone through performance tests by independent third-party research laboratories with high ratings in malware detection. BitDefender uses advanced heuristics that can detect even the unknown viruses.
Founded in 1997, the Russian-made Kaspersky also offers award-winning security software that protects computers from malware. Both BitDefender and Kaspersky offer useful and important features such as parental control and firewall protection. They also provide features that block unauthorized access to network connection.
Both anti-virus software suites provide impressive features that protect your computer from the dangers of the Web. That is why people often compare these products, and the Kaspersky vs BitDefender battle wages on.
In online forums, the Kaspersky vs BitDefender battle is indeed a hot topic. There are many people inquiring which brand is better and more effective. Based on the comments in online forums, many people favor BitDefender because it uses minimal system resources.
Most people have concerns about anti-virus programs and security software affecting the computer’s performance and speed. While performing scans, some people say that BitDefender does not cause their computers to bog down, unlike Kaspersky and other anti-virus programs. Some users in online forums also experienced cases where BitDefender detected viruses that Kaspersky did not.
BitDefender also offers affordable prices. Kaspersky is pricey. BitDefender can offer you top-notch security and other impressive features at an inexpensive price. When it comes to the factor of cost-effectiveness in the Kaspersky vs BitDefender battle, BitDefender comes out on top.
The battle of Kaspersky vs BitDefender goes on in numerous online reviews and magazine publications. In many online reviews, BitDefender has higher rankings compared to Kaspersky. BitDefender ranked first in the Anti-Virus Review 2009 conducted by TopTenREVIEWS.com, earning the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. Kaspersky came in second.
In a recent 2009 review called Top Internet Security Suites: Paying for Protection by PC World, BitDefender got an impressive standing. PC World collaborated with AV-Test.org to test and evaluate nine anti-virus software suites. Each suite battled against a slew of backdoor programs, Trojans, worms, password stealers and other online threats. The BitDefender Internet Security 2009 took second place while the Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 ranked at the sixth spot. The review pointed out BitDefender’s great value for money and BitDefender’s high ratings in threat detection.
With cases of virus attacks escalating, people look for the best ant-virus software they can find. People increasingly use the computer for personal and business activities. An anti-virus program with solid protection eases people’s worries of virus infections and its potential damages.
For those planning to buy an anti-virus program, it is advisable to visit the products’ websites and explore their features. If they offer a trial version, it is good to test it out to determine the software’s efficiency and check for compatibility issues.
In many consumer reviews that touch on Kaspersky vs BitDefender, BitDefender soars high in ratings.