Kaspersky Anti-Virus Review & Rating

Editors’ Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Lab’s inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven, and continue to recommend Kaspersky’s security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.

When you’re looking to purchase antivirus software, how do you know which is best? One help for your search comes from the independent antivirus testing labs, which evaluate and rate dozens of antivirus solutions. On that basis, Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a winner; it earned the top score in every test by every lab that we follow. The core protection is the same as what you get with Kaspersky’s free product, but the paid edition includes bonus security scans and full access to tech support.

You pay $59.99 per year for a three-license Kaspersky subscription, discounted to $29.99 for new customers. That’s pretty good. Bitdefender, Webroot, and ZoneAlarm, among others, charge $39.99 for a single license. On the other hand, F-Secure gives you three licenses for $39.99. While McAfee AntiVirus Plus matches Kaspersky’s $59.99 price, that subscription lets you install McAfee on every Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS device in your household.

Kaspersky’s main window features all the same components as in last year’s edition. There’s a status panel at the top, a More Tools button at the bottom, and button-panels for Scan, Database Update, Reports, and On-Screen Keyboard. The color scheme has changed a bit; the status panel is now white with a slight pattern rather than green, and the button-panels are more defined. But if you’re accustomed to the previous edition you’ll find the current appearance familiar.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus Main Window

Interestingly, the interface for Kaspersky’s free antivirus is not based on that of the premium edition. Rather, the free antivirus matches Kaspersky Internet Security, with many features marked as requiring upgrade.

Shared With Free Edition

Now that Kaspersky Free includes the behavior-based System Watcher, it has all the antivirus protection that you get in the premium antivirus. I’ll summarize those shared features here, and you can get more information from my review of the free product.

The four independent testing labs I follow all include Kaspersky in their regular test reports. Kaspersky earned the highest possible score in every test by every one of the labs. I don’t remember ever seeing that before. Bitdefender came very, very close, with just one score slightly below the very best.

Kaspersky didn’t fare as well in my hands-on malware protection test, but when results don’t jibe, I defer to the labs and their dozens of researchers. At 8.5 of 10 available points, Kaspersky’s score is OK. The best score against my current malware collection is 9.3 points, shared by Cylance Smart Antivirus and F-Secure.

One way to fend off malware attack is to make sure the malicious software never reaches your computer. In my malicious URL blocking test, Kaspersky prevented the browser from even visiting over half the dangerous URLs. It wiped out roughly another 40 percent during the download phase, almost all just as the download began. Kaspersky’s score of 92 percent is quite good, but a few competitors have done even better. Bitdefender recently earned a near-perfect 99 percent in this test, and Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic managed 98 percent.

SecurityWatch

Phishing websites don’t host malware; they just trick users into giving away their login credentials. When I tested Kaspersky’s ability to detect these frauds, it initially earned a truly dismal score, 44 percent. I have since learned that the developers had been working on the antiphishing servers at that time. When I ran the test again, Kaspersky proved extremely effective, using heuristic detection to foil frauds too new to be blacklisted. With 100 percent protection, Kaspersky beat out the built-in protection in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. It also beat the competition. Bitdefender was at the top here, with 99 percent, while Trend Micro and Check Point ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

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