Like other full security suites, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 includes additional extras over the base antivirus package.
Safe Run lets you surf the Internet with a higher level of security. It only works with 32-bit operating systems, which should not be a problem for most folks however nearly all newer consumer computers are coming with 64-bit versions of Windows 7. The Safe Run feature launches Internet Explorer with extra security measures, which enhances protection on confidential websites like online banking.
Safe Run also includes a virtual keyboard, which hides your keystrokes. Again, this is useful for passing confidential information into a web page; it is one extra layer of security.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 includes a number of tools, as shown above-right. The rescue disc function can help clean an infected computer and restore your computer should it get infected; the privacy cleaner wipes out temporary Internet files, accessed files, cookies, cache, and other information you might not want someone else to access; the vulnerability scan examines your system’s programs and finds other vulnerabilities in your system that might pose a security risk (such as if you are not keeping current with Windows Updates); lastly, the browser configuration tool analyzes your installed browsers for security problems. The vulnerability scan turned up a number of problems with my notebook, such as the fact that I had autorun enabled for external devices.
One last feature I liked was the Anti-banner, which blocks ads in web pages; it worked quite well and blocked the flash ads on websites I usually visit. This feature needs to be enabled manually.
The variety of included tools is impressive and more than I am used to seeing.
One of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011’s selling points is the included parental controls. The controls are extensive; they allow parents to exercise a considerable level of control over other users on their computer. Parents can limit how much time users spend logged on, surfing the Internet, what times they can log on, what times they use the Internet, and more — even blocking them from entering individual words/phrases. The controls are second only to Norton 360 and its Online Family feature, which allows for remote administration of the parental controls.
The parental controls are easy to set up and apply to user accounts on the computer. In addition to controlling Internet usage, the controls can also block specific applications on the computer and monitor instant messaging. Reports on the user’s activity are readily available and give an overview of their usage.
All in all, this is a very nice set of controls and Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 wins major points here. Some suites I test do not even include parental controls, and others include them as only as a passing thought.
Real-World Security Testing
This section is broken up into four parts: Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and Anti-Spam. We use Internet Explorer for all testing.
We use PCFlank’s Exploits Test to test the firewall component; detailed test information can be found here. The tests essentially bombard your system and test its reaction to various types of attacks and unexpected packets.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 successfully defended our test computer from the simulated attacks.
To test the effectiveness of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 has a component called Web Anti-Virus that monitors HTTP/FTP traffic and prevents dangerous items from reaching the computer. It worked remarkably well in the anti-virus test. What I look for in this test is the program’s ability to identify the downloads as malicious and respond. Kaspersky tied as one of the most proactive suites I tested — it would not even let me click “download” and promptly denied the transfer. Some antivirus suites allow the files to download and only find them after a scan.
We use Spycar.org to test the anti-spyware module. It mimics spyware behavior on a computer, detecting whether the anti-spyware component can block or detect it. We run all available tests.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 again put up an impressive performance in this test; as a matter of fact it gave me numerous warnings just trying to reach the web page containing the malicious links I needed to click. After clicking on the links, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 produced a system tray pop-up message telling me it blocked the files and redirected my browser off the site.
Kaspersky includes an anti-spam add-on for Mozilla Thunderbird, our test email client. Unfortunately it performed dismally. While it has the ability to “learn” what is and is not spam based on what is already in your email folders, I apparently did not have enough email to properly train it — as a result, it failed to block simulated spam messages. It also did not block email addresses I blacklisted. It is disappointing that only a handful of security suites I test have a competent anti-spam component — Kaspersky Internet Security 2011’s is not one of them.