Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (40,797)

by Charles P. Jefferies

Kaspersky Labs offers a variety of computer security solutions, from Anti-Virus to anti-spyware. Today we will be looking at the Russian company’s bread-and-butter Anti-Virus 2009 software suite, which promises protection against a variety of Internet threats and low resource utilization. Does it deliver? Read on the find out.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW
Kaspersky Labs Anti-Virus 2009 is a comprehensive anti-virus security solution. It is advertised to protect against threats including but not limited to viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and unknown threats. It actively protects the end user online by disabling links to malware and phishing websites. Anti-Virus 2009 scans Internet traffic, files on the computer, and email. Database definitions are updated hourly, which means the system will always be up-to-date on the latest threats. Anti-Virus 2009 is connected to the Kaspersky Security Network, which allows any computer connected to the network to alert Kaspersky of the threat and thus benefits all users. Kaspersky has a huge network of over 250 million users.

Anti-Virus 2009 lacks a personal firewall, which is included in the more expensive Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 suite. Anti-spam protection is also not included, but comes with the Internet Security suite.

INSTALLATION AND ACTIVATION

The installation of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 is relatively simple, and no different than installing most types of software with a wizard interface. It takes less than ten clicks to go through the install using the Express setup, which is what most users will want to do.

Product setup is also simple though with one confusing step. Once the license agreements are accepted, the user is prompted to enter their activation code. Once entered, I clicked next but was prompted by a message that my computer’s time did not match the server’s time; I was instructed to reset my computer’s time to the server’s time, which was displayed on the error message shown below:

I came to the conclusion it probably wants the times to be the same so it can determine the exact time your license expires, however I did find the process to be trivial. No instructions are given on how to change the computer’s time – I know how to do it, but the average Joe may not.

PROGRAM INTERFACE

Once activated, the product can be used. Opening the program’s interface for the first time, I noticed the interface was clean and clearly laid out. Protection, Scan, Update, and License categories line the left, with the selected option displayed on the right side of the window. At the very top of the interface, a prominent bar is displayed that indicates whether the program needs attention or not.

When attention is required, the bar is yellow and a “Fix it Now” button appears. Clicking this fixed whatever needed attention and I did not have to take further action.

Updates to the database and the program itself are done automatically; I updated once manually to see the process in action. It is a simple procedure, which only requires to user to go to the Update category and click “Start Update.”

For more major updates, a computer restart is required to finish. Since installing Anti-Virus 2009, I only had to do this once.

IN USE AND EFFECTIVENESS
Kaspersky did not interfere with my Internet browsing and other tasks. It remained in the background, with the “K” system tray icon serving as only indication it was even running. Updates are silent and automatic, requiring no user interaction with the software.

To test the effectiveness of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009, I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. The four files provided for download, which have different extensions including .com, .zip, and .txt, contain viruses. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests. Good Anti-Virus software should detect the files as threats. I am pleased to report that Kaspersky identified all four as viruses – as a matter of fact, it would not even let me download them.

Users can see what threats were blocked from the program interface:

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 is indeed a pro-active security solution.

PERFORMANCE IMPACT
We evaluate the performance impact and system resource usage of using Anti-Virus software in three ways:

  1. Overall system performance measured before and after installation using PCMark05, a system benchmark suite
  2. Memory footprint
  3. Time it took to perform a full system scan

Our test system is an Acer Aspire 5735-4744; it has the following specifications:

  • Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3200 (2.0GHz/1MB L2/667MHz FSB)
  • 2GB DDR2-667 RAM
  • 160GB 5400RPM Fujitsu hard drive
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, stock install with all updates and Search disabled
  • Atheros 802.11 Draft-N wireless

Overall System Performance Impact measured with PCMark05
Prior to installing Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009, the notebook had the following performance numbers:

After installing Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009, I ran the benchmark again:

System performance before and after installing Kaspersky is virtually identical, which is extremely impressive; many Anti-Virus solutions in the past were known to drag down system performance, and Kaspersky clearly bucks this trend.

Memory Footprint

Memory usage is minimal; out of the 2GB available memory in our test notebook, Kaspersky uses slightly over 35MB, or 1.7%. The program is compact and must be coded well to use such a small amount of resources.

Time it took to perform a full system scan


A full scan of our test system’s hard drive containing 37GB of data took 15 minutes and 40 seconds.

CONCLUSION
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 is a well-rounded and comprehensive system security solution. It actively protects the user’s computer and responds to threats on the Internet. The virus definitions are updated hourly, so users can rest assured they are protected against the latest threats. Kaspersky guards a user’s computer by monitoring instant messaging, internet traffic, email, internet browsing, and other sources of threats. Our testing revealed Anti-Virus 2009 successfully protects against online threats. In addition, Anti-Virus 2009 had virtually no impact on system performance, using a very minimal amount of memory.

We give Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 our recommendation to those looking for one of the best and fully-featured Anti-Virus security solutions on the market.

PROS:

  • Successfully detects viruses and threats
  • Interface is easy to navigate
  • Simple installation
  • Automatic database and program updates
  • Does not interfere with productivity
  • Internet-wide alert network strengthens protection

CONS:

  • Minor activation issues


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