Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 Review: Targeting Web Worries

by Reads (19,197)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 9
      • Performance
      • 10
      • Total Score:
      • 9.50
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Pro-active
    • Very good parental controls
    • Good user interface (UI)

     

  • Cons

    • Parental controls not quite as good as Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2012, for example.

In a new series of comparative security software reviews, we’ll look at Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) 2012 first, followed by Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2012 and other competing Internet security suites.

Product Overview

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (KIS 2012) is a fully-featured consumer security suite. Compared to the company’s standard Anti-Virus 2012 suite, KIS 2012 additionally features a two-way firewall (inbound and outbound protection) and parental controls. I consider the latter essential to any suite more expensive than basic anti-virus.

KIS 2012 uses a “hybrid protection” system to keep your computer safe from threats. The program relies on its malicious software detection engine on the computer as well as data stored on the company’s servers in the cloud. A threat detected by any PC on Kaspersky’s network is automatically flagged and all other computers connected will also “know” about it.

Kaspersky additionally offers its PURE Total Security product which is one rung above KIS 2012 and offers some small software and management tools over the product we’re reviewing.

Download and Installation

We’re using the retail version of KIS 2012 installed from the CD. It took a touch under five minutes to finish the install after inserting the disc. Updating the product post-install took longer than expected. It downloaded over 40MB of updates and took about seven minutes to finish.

User Interface (UI)

KIS 2012 has a brand new interface compared to the 2011 version. I liked the previous interface and I like this one even more. It retains Kaspersky’s traditional aqua color yet is much more streamlined. One glance is enough to figure out whether the computer is protected and if any particular component needs attention. License information is prominently displayed, so there’s no more looking for receipts to figure out how much time you have left.

Adjusting the settings is easy. You simply click the link in the top right of the main window. I experienced no issues with the default settings. Navigation is handled along the bottom. Click the left and right arrows to scroll though more items or the up arrow in the center to show all.

The virtual keyboard is a nice-to-have extra. It’s a good idea to use this when entering sensitive information in web pages as keylogging software is not able to detect which keys are being pressed. One other feature I like is “Safe Run,” which launches Internet Explorer with extra security built-in.

Parental Controls

The biggest (and sometimes the only) reason to upgrade to an Internet Security suite like KIS 2012 over a standard anti-virus suite is the inclusion of parental controls. Kaspersky has historically done a respectable job in this area and the controls included in KIS 2012 are no exception.

The parental controls in KIS 2012 allow you to restrict user accounts on the computer where KIS 2012 is installed. You can also control when the computer and the Internet will be accessible. The parental controls are also set up to block inappropriate websites and to restrict various types of file downloads (videos, music, and so on).

Statistics are collected for the user account as well, which is a great tool for parents.  Overall KIS 2012 includes a very usable and effective set of parental controls. They are not quite as comprehensive as those included in Norton, for example.

Internet Security 2012. Note that Kaspersky’s PURE Total Security product includes additional parental control management features.

Real-World Security Testing

We perform a series of extra tests on Internet security suites compared to basic anti-virus suites.

Firewall

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.

Our test system with KIS 2012 installed successfully defended itself from the simulated attacks.

Anti-Virus

To test the effectiveness of KIS 2012 I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security Web site.

Kaspersky’s security software has a history of being proactive and KIS 2012 is no exception. It did not even give me an option to download the malicious files, blocking the attempt immediately. This is exactly what we want to see in an Internet Security suite. Some other solutions allow the files to download and then only detect them in a scan. This indicates that they are not as pro-active as a solution like Kaspersky.

Anti-Spyware

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.

KIS 2012 protested every step of the way in this test. All of the files and simulated attacks were effectively blocked.

Performance Impact

We measure the performance impact of security software using Futuremark PCMark.

My test notebook shows a less than five percent performance decrease after installing KIS 2012. This is great, and it shows that the software uses system resources responsibly.

Conclusion

Kaspersky continues to produce an excellent home security suite and remains one of our top choices. KIS 2012 has a friendly user interface, low performance impact, and most importantly, passed all our simulated attack tests. It’s a good value at $64.95 for three licenses (a two-year version of the same license is slightly less per PC at $199.95).

The parental controls are very good but not quite a match for Norton’s Online Solution, which is included in Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2012, the security suite that we will review next. Nonetheless, it’s hard to complain about what is included in Kaspersky.

Pros:

  • Pro-active
  • Very good parental controls
  • Good user interface (UI)

Cons:

  • Parental controls not quite as good as Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2012, for example.


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