When we reviewed Kaspersky’s security suite last year (September 2006, page 55), we admired its antivirus component but questioned whether it was worth paying for over a free product. This month, we have our answer: freeware champion AntiVir achieved an impressive 92% detection rate, but Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 managed to find and remove an incredible 98% of the malware in our test. Of 126 malicious executables, Kaspersky Anti-Virus identified and removed all but two, missing only a Legendmir password stealer and a generic backdoor that only three other packages noticed.
The developer credits this performance to a combination of the software’s heuristic scanning and uncompromising approach to database updates. While many packages check for new virus signatures on a daily basis, Kaspersky runs to an hourly schedule, improving your PC’s chances of being immunised before an infection reaches it.
Not only is Kaspersky effective, it’s efficient, too: during the email scan test, total system RAM usage was close to the lowest of the group. It’s refreshing to find an antivirus package that’s so respectful of resources. As we noted before, “all email, files and downloaded web content are scanned in real-time, yet the impact upon system resources is negligible thanks to the ability to suspend scanning operations during resource-intensive user operations. This resource throttling ... lifts Kaspersky above most of the competition.”
And the software doesn’t skimp on features. Few of Kaspersky’s capabilities are actually unique, but no other package combines such a range of useful functions. When malware is found, an “apply to all” option makes it effortless to set up default behaviours. When access to a web object is blocked, your browser is redirected to an explanation rather than a plaintive error message – a problem with many other applications. Email folders can be scanned with a single click as easily as file folders. When you disable virus protection, the program offers to automatically restore it after a given period, and laptop users will appreciate the option to disable scheduled scans when running on battery power.
In short, Kaspersky towers over the competition. The annual subscription may rankle when Avira gives you so much protection for free, but for $4 a month you won’t find a more deserving winner.To learn more about the up-and-coming Kaspersky company, read our exclusive Interview with Eugene Kaspersky
, the Russian CEO of this security firm about cutting-edge programming, cyber criminals, pinball, and life in Moscow.
Read now: PC Authority Interview: The Tsar of Anti-Virus