Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 Review

by Reads (29,735)
  • Pros

    • Very proactive
    • Sleek interface
    • Extra included utilities
  • Cons

    • Long initial scan time
    • Higher-priced (but includes 3 licenses)
    • Contains upsells for other products

Kaspersky Anti-Virus, our top-rated security product from last year, is back for 2010 with more protection and features. Will Kaspersky continue to outperform its competitors this round? Read on to find out.

Product Overview

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 promises complete PC protection and ease of use for the end user. Kaspersky protects against threats including viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, and bots. Updates are performed hourly. Two new scanning technologies are included for 2010 — iSwift and iChecker. ISwift is designed to adjust scanning depending on the user’s activities, preserving performance. IChecker remembers which files are safe after scanning and will only scan them again if they are modified, meaning quicker scan times.

Other new technologies included for 2010 are Kaspersky Whitelisting and Application Control, which determines application security, and Kaspersky URL Advisor, which keeps users safe by warning them of dangerous links.

Like other antivirus suites Kaspersky lacks a personal firewall, which is included in the more-expensive Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 suite.

Installation and Activation

Kaspersky takes three clicks to install and another two clicks to finish. Not counting download time the process takes just a few minutes and no restart is required. After accepting the license agreement the installer gives users the option to allow Kaspersky to submit anonymous information to the company’s Security Network, which is used to detect new threats. Following the install, users must input their activation code to continue; once doing so the installer contacts the activation server and the license is activated.

We had issues with license activation last year; those problems are absent this time around.

Overall the install process is simple and painless.

Program Interface

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 system at risk

Kaspersky’s sleek and polished interface is easy on the eyes and well laid-out. Navigation is handled on the left through four main categories, support links are at the bottom left, and advanced settings are on the upper right. The layout is similar to last years’ but refined with more convenient access to navigation items.

Protection status is displayed at the very top of the window. Like many antivirus applications Kaspersky uses color coding for status. A green bar means the computer is protected and yellow means at risk as shown at the left. If at risk, a button appears to “Fix it now” — we clicked on the button and the program did so without further prompts.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 protection components

Kaspersky provides a convenient flowchart that details how its various modules protect by clicking on any of the protection items on the main screen. It serves as somewhat of an ad for the more expensive Internet Security suite by showing what is not included in the Anti-Virus suite, but nonetheless we like the feature because it makes protection easier to understand; we have not seen other antivirus applications include something like this.

Kaspersky includes several other items not explicitly advertised. Clicking on the Security tab allows uses to create a rescue disk, use a virtual keyboard, erase activity history, analyze browser security, and troubleshoot Windows.

The browser security advisor identified some vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and fixed them. Small items like this are a nice touch and add value.

In Use and Effectiveness

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 history

Kaspersky was non-intrusive and did not interfere with Internet surfing or office productivity. Its URL Advisor integrated cleanly with Firefox and Internet Explorer. The “K” system tray icon served as only indication the application was running. Updates were completely automatic.

To test the effectiveness of Kaspersky 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. Antivirus software should detect the files as threats.

Kaspersky identified the files as threats before the download initialized and denied the download — this is the most pro-active antivirus application we have tested to date, just as it was last year. All of the other antivirus applications we tested identified these files as threats but often only after the download completed or the hard drive was scanned.

Kaspersky provides a rather comprehensive history of actions, as shown at the left.

Performance Impact

We evaluate the performance impact of antivirus software in three ways:

  1. Overall system performance measured before and after antivirus installation using PCMark
  2. Memory footprint
  3. Full system scan time

Our test system is an HP Pavilion dv5t:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 (2.26GHz/3MB L2/1066MHz FSB)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 500GB 5400RPM hard drive
  • Windows Vista Home Premium x86

Overall System Performance Impact Measured with PCMark Vantage

Below are the before- (left) and after-installation (right) PCMark benchmarks for Kaspersky ANti-Virus 2010 on our test PC:

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 preinstall benchmarks

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 post-install benchmarks

The difference is so small it can be attributed to benchmark error.

Memory Footprint and System Scan Time

The Task Manager shows Kaspersky using less than 10MB of memory, which illustrates the program’s efficiency.

An initial scan of our test system’s hard drive containing 122GB of data took two hours, which is extraordinarily long. Norton Antivirus 2010 took 44 minutes by comparison. A second scan took only 47 minutes, however, since files that were previously scanned were skipped. Something we noticed was how many objects Kaspersky scanned — 728,144 — versus Norton — 304,748. It appears Kaspersky is doing a more thorough scan though I was unable to verify this.

Conclusion

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 remains a class-leading security package for home users. It provides extremely proactive protection and a sleek and polished interface that is easy to navigate. The extra included utilities such as the browser vulnerability scanner are welcome and add value. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 carries a $59.99 MSRP however includes three licenses. We highly recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 for the stated reasons.

Pros:

  • Very proactive
  • Sleek interface
  • Extra included utilities

Cons:

  • Long initial scan time
  • Higher-priced (but includes 3 licenses)
  • Contains upsells for other products


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