Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (6,888)

TG Rating

Rating 1 to 10, top score 10.
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9.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great user interface (UI)
    • Fast virus scanning
    • Minimal performance impact
  • Cons

    • Not free
    • No built-in firewall

Now refreshed in a 2014 edition, Kaspersky Anti-Virus (KAV) for PCs continues to compete very successfully with other top names, thanks to an excellent user interface (UI), minimal impact on system performance, and bundled extras such as a privacy cleaner, virtual keyboard, rescue disk creator and vulnerability scanner. 

Overview

Kaspersky’s user interface (UI) is even cleaner than before; just the right amount of information is displayed to the end user. Protection status is indicated in the middle of the window; it takes but a glance to determine whether your computer is “OK.” It’s also handy that the license information is displayed, letting you know how many days of protection you have remaining.

You can click or touch the large tiles to access different sections of the program. The scanning section has clearly defined options; descriptions are easy to understand.

Click the arrow on the right side of the main interface to expand the available categories.

Included Extras

Kaspersky includes several extra features with its anti-virus software for Microsoft Windows PCs. It’s common for security software vendors to include utilities like these; it’s not required to use them to keep the system safe, but they are included for a reason. We recommend making use of all of Kaspersky’s extras. Here’s what you get:

The vulnerability scanner searches your system for common applications and settings that may be security vulnerabilities.

Kaspersky Rescue Disk is a very useful feature that allows users to burn a rescue CD/DVD or create a flash drive that can be used to boot and rescue the system, should it become infected beyond normal repair.

Microsoft Windows Troubleshooting scans your Windows installation for failures and otherwise. This is probably the least useful of all the included utilities.

The privacy cleaner removes data from the system that potentially contains sensitive data including cookies and log files. This can be useful if you share a computer with multiple users.

The browser configuration tool analyzes your Internet Explorer installation for security vulnerabilities. It’s worthwhile to run this even if you don’t use Internet Explorer; many Windows programs will use it as a default browser.

Another feature is a virtual keyboard; programs designed to pick up keystrokes (called keyloggers) aren’t able to do so without access to a physical keyboard; this feature is especially useful when accessing or entering financial information online. The virtual keyboard is easily accessible right from Kaspersky’s main screen.

Performance

System Impact

Our test system showed no ill effects after installing Kaspersky; startup times weren’t noticeably different before and after. We used Futuremark’s PCMark 7 benchmark — the same one we use to measure a system’s performance in our notebook PC reviews — to quantify the actual performance difference. Before and after numbers differed by less than 5%; that’s small enough to attribute to benchmarking error. Security software makers have become much better at optimizing their software (or perhaps computers have just become that much more powerful); it’s exceptional if we see a security software affect a computer’s performance more than 10%.

Kaspersky is whisper quiet once installed; it doesn’t nag or bother you with seemingly pointless questions. It’s easy to forget that security software is installed at all.

We used test virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website, to test Kaspersky’s effectiveness at detecting malicious files. Kaspersky passed the test with flying colors, detecting all of the virus files before the download initiated; it even went a step further and prevented the files from getting on my computer.

Time it Took to Perform a Full System Scan

We scanned 301GB of data on our test system in just 34 minutes, a respectable time and well within the acceptable timeframe for such a large amount of data. A quick scan of the system took just one minute, although — granted — a quick scan only goes through the most vulnerable areas of the computer.

Download and Installation

Kaspersky is the only AV software we’ve tested that matches Norton in terms of ease of installation; there’s literally one button to click. Advanced users can of course change installation settings, such as the directory where the software will be installed and whether desktop icons and start menu shortcuts will be created.

Conclusion

We’re again pleased to recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus, now updated for 2014. The user interface is the cleanest yet; usability is excellent and system performance is generally unaffected.

The included utilities — such as a vulnerability scanner and privacy cleaner — are well worth using. Lastly, we appreciate the non-intrusive nature of the software; it doesn’t annoy you during every day activities.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 retails for $39.99/year for one PC or $59.99/year for three PCs (a much better value). Multi-year packages are also available, and these further reduce the per year price. Shop around online before you buy, as you can often buy security software on sale for a fraction of its MSRP.

Pros:

  • Great user interface (UI)
  • Fast virus scanning
  • Minimal performance impact

Cons:

  • Not free
  • No built-in firewall


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