A Real World Review of Kaspersky Anti-Virus
I’ve used several different anti-virus programs, both free and paid, including those from Computer Associates, McAfee, Norton, and BitDefender.
After losing hundreds of dollars worth of data and programs due to these anti-virus programs failing, I finally found good Computer Techs to work with that test many different anti-virus programs, and they recommended Kaspersky.
A recommendation from a computer tech is a solid endorsement, and I’ve used Kaspersky for several years now, with no viruses getting in.
A review of my past experiences:
The Computer Associates (CA) program was used by my ISP (Internet Service Provider). CA is primarily involved with mainframe computers, but sells anti-virus programs for personal computers.
My ISP provided the CA program free, so I started using it. It didn’t stop viruses from coming in. During the second year the program was “updated”, adding a “Firewall” feature that blocked everything coming into the computer, including every harmless cookie, and required you to constantly click a button to allow any webpage to be viewed.
McAfee also failed to stop viruses, and cost me an expensive computer technician bill.
Not wanting to spend any more on Anti-Virus software, I then used a free AVG program, but after awhile I noticed my computer acting strangely and when I had it checked, it was found to be full of viruses. I wouldn’t recommend using free Anti-Virus software, because you’ll probably find that eventually there will be loopholes that allow viruses to get in.
Thinking I was getting a better program, I installed Norton Anti Virus (Symantec Corporation), because they have had a reputation as having one of the better anti-virus programs. However, Norton still allowed viruses in. It also really slowed my computer down.
Norton has been criticized because their programs have a tendency not to uninstall completely. Traces of the program and unnecessary files are left behind, and I’ve actually seen signs of that on my computer.
BitDefender (a Romania based software company) was showing high ratings on a lot of review sites, so I tried it. I have to say it was the worst program I have ever owned. I definitely would recommend you stay away from it. It slowed down my computer almost to the point of being completely unusable.
It also failed to stop viruses, and cost me hundreds in technician bills. I had to have a hard drive replaced. I lost all my data, which couldn’t be backed up due to the corrupted hard drive – again, hundreds of dollars worth of programs were lost.
Wikipedia.org has a lot of information about the history of the above companies, problems with their anti-virus software, etc.
Independent Tests of Anti-Virus Software
To be fair, there are several very good anti-virus programs besides Kaspersky. Some brands do rate higher than Kaspersky in some tests.
Some of the top labs that test Kaspersky and other anti-virus software are AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, Virus Bulletin, ICSA Labs, and West Coast Labs.
Security Watch at PCmag says “Asked to rate the various independent testing labs, most respondents rated AV-Comparatives highest“.
Austrian lab AV-Comparatives.org regularly tests security products to see how well they scan and clean up viruses, and how well they detect new, unknown threats.
They regularly conduct Real World Protection Tests.
The AV-Comparatives Summary Report for 2012 states “..both Kaspersky Lab’s and Bitdefender’s products were equally good, and both worthy of the Product of the Year award.”
In their latest test, conducted in April 2013, Kaspersky blocked 100% of malware presented in the test, as can be seen in the graph in this PDF.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus Features:
Kaspersky Anti-Virus specializes in detection and removal of Rootkits, which are one of the worst types of malware. Rootkits can gain access to your computer as an “administrator” and change how your operating system functions. Sometimes they also interfere with your anti-virus program, so they can be difficult to detect and/or remove.
Kaspersky has a URL Advisor feature that warns users if links on search engine listings lead to suspicious or phishing web addresses.
This means you can identify the possible dangers of a website or page before you even click on the link.
Color-Coded Tags ( Kaspersky Icons slightly smaller than those shown above) are added to most of the web links within search results, that advise you of the danger level of the link:
GREEN for “Safe Web Page”
GRAY for “Unknown Web Page”
RED for “Dangerous Web Page”
Many listings that are safe will still show the GRAY icon – this is just because Kaspersky doesn’t have information about that particular page.
You mostly should be concerned if you see a RED Icon, and be sure NOT to click on that listing.
When you Hover over the Icons, you will see a square window that has a link to get additional information:
Anti-Virus Program Comparisons
Above is a graph showing the percentages of viruses different Anti-Virus programs detected (provided by usenix.org). Notice Kaspersky showing at the top of the graph (Gold color).
You can run 3 different types of scans:
Full Scan - should be run after installing your anti-virus program. After this you can run a scan as often as you want – once a week, two weeks, etc. This scan may take some time – 20 minutes to an hour or more.
Special Note: Faster isn’t always better. Some reviewers (and sites) that do testing may report other anti-virus brands having faster scan times than Kaspersky. A “full scan” with Kaspersky may be longer because Kaspersky goes deeper than other brands and checks more individual items. Also, different factors affect scan times, such as the size of your hard drive, number of files on your computer, how often scans are done, etc.
Vulnerability Scan - shows systems and applications on you computer that may allow for malicious attacks.
Critical Areas Scan - a quick scan of objects that are loaded with the computer operating system at startup.
Once Kaspersky is installed, you really don’t need to run scans every day, because the Kaspersky Cloud System constantly looks for new threats and blocks malicious sites and pages from coming into your computer.
I have been very pleased with Kaspersky. Once your Anti-Virus program is installed, updates will come in automatically throughout the day. You may see some slowing of your computer while this is happening, but the updates take no more than 5-10 minutes to come in.
There have been several times when Kaspersky Anti-Virus blocked something from coming into my computer. When this happens you will see a box in the lower right corner telling you that a threat was blocked.
I would probably give Kaspersky the lowest marks for “support”. Although their support has improved over the years, this is where they get the most criticism.
However, Kaspersky has many different web pages that explain different aspects of their programs.
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