Kaspersky security software has always taken top place in our comparison reviews. Today, we take an in-depth look at the new Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 suite. Is it better or worse than older counterparts?
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 provides protection against essential Internet threats including viruses, spyware, and malware. A license priced at $59.99 covers up to three users. The software features an "Urgent Detection System" with real-time threat analysis. To support this, the company has rolled out a new updating system which delivers small, frequent security database updates.
Kaspersky integrates with web browsers and provides anti-phishing protection, analyzing links on web pages for malicious intent. On top of all this, Anti-Virus 2011 is designed to use a very small amount of resources so it will not affect computer performance. For example, background activities are reduced to a minimum when users are stressing their systems.
One thing Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 does not have is a two-way firewall. Step up to either the Internet Security 2011 or PURE Total Security suite to get that. To be fair, most other anti-virus suites don't include a two-way firewall, either.
Download and Installation
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 is a 110MB download, amounting to quite a large package. The installation is a simple process, requiring four clicks and five minutes. You must uninstall your old anti-virus protection suite prior to installing this software; Kaspersky's installer detects whether any other suites are running and will not move forward until they are removed (it is just as well that the installer is like this. Running two independent security suites at once is a recipe for system instability.)
User Interface (UI)
Kaspersky has revised the user interface (UI) for Anti-Virus 2011 to offer improved organization in comparison to the 2010 suite. The UI certainly looks cleaner and more modern with its calming green background. Navigation, handled on the left, is simple. I like how large, easy-to-read text is now used for category headings.
The Scan section provides two options. You can perform either a full system scan or "Critical Areas" scan, which scans areas most frequently targeted by malicious software. A neat feature in this section is the “Drag and Drop" scan. You can simply drag and drop any files you want to be scanned, and Kaspersky will scan them immediately. This is much more intuitive than the alternative method of browsing for files to scan.
The last navigation section, Upgrade, gives users an opportunity to purchase an upgrade to one of the company's higher-end security suites. These kinds of upsells are not exactly features I like to see in a user interface, but at least the software does not nag you with pop-ups.
Use and Effectiveness
In use and effectivenss, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 generally keeps to itself. During regular computer usage, it's difficult to tell that a security suite is installed at all.
To test the effectiveness of Kaspersky, I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security Web site. The four files provided for download -- with extensions including .com, .zip, and .txt -- all contain viruses. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests. Antivirus software should detect the files as threats.
Kaspersky did an A+ job of detecting and neutralizing the threats. It immediately blocked the standard downloads. The HTTPS downloads slipped through. However, barely 15 seconds passed before Kaspersky detected and neutralized them.
We evaluate the performance impact of security software using PCMark05, a full system test suite. It's an older test suite and all modern computers can run it easily, making any performance differences stand out.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
Kaspersky took 37 minutes to scan the 128GB hard drive on our test system. That's a very respectable time. Anything under one hour is considered fast. Betweeen 1 and 1.5 hours is acceptable. Above 1.5 hours is a long time.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 offers impressive value and is easy to recommend for home users. It provides proactive protection and has no noticeable impact on system performance. A three-user license for $59.95 makes it hard to beat.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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