PROS / Kaspersky Anti-Virus includes antiphishing.
CONS / Although support is available by email, telephone and online chat for 18 hours every day, it is not available 24 hours per day.
VERDICT / Kaspersky Anti-Virus is among the very best choices for Windows antimalware.
Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. The developer lists the new version as offering the following features: improved multi-device management. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Best Antivirus Software reviews. When AV-Test releases its next round of test results, we will evaluate that information as well.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus outshines so many of its competitors that it wins our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best virus protection. It is inferior to no competitor when it comes to its ability to seek and destroy malware – whether the malware is known or freshly hatched. It does not slow a computer to any measurable degree. Furthermore it does not make mistakes when it decides which files are safe and which are malicious. Although it is the entry-level Kaspersky security product, it includes more features than some others in its product category. For example, some of Kaspersky’s competitors lack antiphishing and automatic detection of removable media.
Performance comprises three measurable attributes: protection against infections, performance in terms of the product’s influence on computer speed, and usability, which measures the accuracy with which a virus scanner labels a threat. When it comes to protection, performance and usability, there is no antivirus software that exceeds Kaspersky’s performance, according to results from tests conducted by AV-Test, a reliable and objective source of software test results. During March and April of 2014, AV-Test subjected 25 of the best antivirus products to continuous testing on Windows 8.1 (64-bit) platforms. Kaspersky’s results were astounding.
AV-Test Protection testing subjected Kaspersky to widespread and prevalent malware that it had discovered during the four weeks prior to testing. Kaspersky detected every one of the 20,646 samples. By way of contrast, the industry average was 98 percent detection. The Protection tests also exposed Kaspersky to 138 samples of brand new, so-called zero-day malware, which it identified with 100 percent accuracy. The industry average for detection of zero-day malware was 94 percent. The Performance portion of the test suite measured average influence on system performance. Although the industry average was a three-second slowdown on computer speed during web surfing, file downloading, copying data, and installing and running programs, AV-Test measured zero Kaspersky influence on computer speed whatsoever. The third part of the testing measured Usability in terms of whether the products gave false warnings about safe websites or files. None of the 25 top antivirus products in the test – including Kaspersky – made any false warning.
The most important feature of Kaspersky Anti-Virus is its ability to detect, prevent and remove viruses, which it does so well that no competing virus protection does better. However, it goes beyond antivirus to include protection from all malware, including spyware, rootkits, security exploits and screen lockers. A brief definition of terms might be in order. A virus is a computer program that, when invoked, copies itself onto data files or any location from which it can continue to spawn clones or modified versions of itself. Spyware is not necessarily illegal, but it is annoying in that it gathers information about you and sends it to someone else without your knowledge, let alone your consent. Rootkits dig deeply into the operating system areas that only administrators can access and use this privileged position to gain control over the system. Security exploits take advantage of vulnerabilities in software applications or data. Screen lockers let hackers scam you with ransomware that locks your screen and usually accuses you of having illegal pornography on your computer. The scam tells you where to send money in order to have the screen unlocked so that you can continue to access your files. Along these lines, new in the 2015 version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus is that it makes backup copies of files before malicious encryption, which means that even if you are attacked by ransomware, you can restore all of the files held hostage without sending money to the bad guys.
Kaspersky includes a virtual keyboard in order to prevent another form of malware called a keylogger. Since keyloggers monitor the keys you physically press on your keyboard, they can infer your logins and passwords and credit card numbers. Kaspersky’s virtual keyboard lets you enter information into an onscreen keyboard, which bypasses the physical keyboard and prevents keylogging. In addition to its antimalware features, Kaspersky Anti-Virus provides antiphishing, which means that it warns you about the safety of sites that show up when you conduct an online search, and it blocks your access if you try to go to a site known to be malicious.
Help & Support
Licensed users of Kaspersky Anti-Virus receive standard support consisting of help with errors involving installation, configuration and product functionality. If you require a deeper level of assistance, premium support is available where for additional fees, Kaspersky will assist with networking, product installation, virus and spyware removal, and PC tuneup. You can reach standard support by telephone, email or online chat. If you cannot find an answer to a question by searching answers to frequently asked questions, using the online knowledgebase or querying the virtual agent, you can reach support in a few ways. If you are not in an emergency, you can submit a support case using a web form or from within your online account using Kaspersky’s self-service portal. You can also telephone for technical support every day of the week. Furthermore, you have the option to chat with technical support, a service available 12 hours per day on weekdays. Kaspersky’s online support page also contains application configuration tips and a user forum where you can discuss issues and learn tips from more experienced users. The level of support that Kaspersky extends to customers is well above the industry norm. The only thing you might wish for in addition to the excellent standard of support that Kaspersky already provides would be 24/7 access to telephone or online chat support.
The support page provides tools so that you can prepare your support technician to better help you. For example, you can run traces that capture the status of your antivirus protection so that your technician can see any objects or activities that seem malicious along with any actions that you or the software took in response to threats. Another support tool allows you to create a system state report, which includes analysis of all running processes, loaded modules, system services and drivers, as well as autorun applications. The scan exposes vulnerable applications and saves the results as a log that you send to Kaspersky technical support. By preparing the reports in advance to enable a support technician to diagnose a fix for your situation, you spend less time on the phone or in online chat than you would if you were receiving help from many of Kaspersky’s competitors.
With one license you can protect three Windows machines for one year. The protection consists of real-time protection against malware, safety from identity theft and phishing, and secure online financial transactions. The software updates itself automatically with small updates that don’t bog your computer down. As soon as any PC in the Kaspersky network of users encounters a never-seen-before threat, the information goes to Kaspersky Lab, which places a signature of the threat into a cloud service that your installed copy of Kaspersky uses to identify what’s safe and what’s threatening. Unless you require 24/7 telephone or online chat access to technical support, there is no better antivirus for PC in terms of threat prevention, impact on system resources and usability.