2015 Top List for Best Internet Security Software

 
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Kaspersky Internet Security PDF Print E-mail

Kaspersky Internet SecurityPros

1. Kaspersky earned an elusive 6 out of 6 in protection by detecting all zero-day malicious software threats, according to the most recent AV-Test.

2. It's one of the few security programs to include three licences for the price of one.

3. It protects home networks, business (small and medium) and corporate systems.

4. It includes powerful features that are now necessary like parental controls, identity theft protection, Geo filtering, a game mode and many more.

5. Kaspersky has the ability to run low-profile scans and smart updates to prevent interruptions and PC slowdown.

6. It has an online banking mode which protects your bank details and ensures they don't fall into the hands of criminals.

7. They have one of the best customer support team that includes worldwide support that spans all continents. And for their North American customers they provide complete phone, e-mail and chat support.

Cons

1. Kaspersky is more expensive than most other programs except Symantec

2. The initial scan takes long, but subsequent scans are swift and trouble-free.

Summary

Overall, Kaspersky Internet Security is an impressive program and we recommended it for both online and off-line protection. It also provides good protection for external media like USB drives.

Kaspersky Internet Security Review

Kaspersky Internet Security is a computer security software program that provides antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, anti-spam, anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. It has stand-alone programs for all the protection tools listed above and provides them for both home and business use.

Kaspersky Internet security works with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems. And it has a Macintosh version which provides robust protection against viruses and malicious software threats that are targeted at this operating system.

We've put Kaspersky through its paces in our targeted antivirus tests at Best Buy Antivirus. And it has shown impressive results and removed over 90% of the threats we installed on our test machine. Kaspersky has also been tested by the leading test labs like AV-Test, AV-Comparatives and Virus Bulletin. Overall, the tests show that Kaspersky is second only to BitDefender Internet Security. And its best feat was a 98.2% protection score on an AV-Comparatives test and was awarded the Advanced+ award.

There are also many customer reviews on Kaspersky Internet security and the vast majority are positive. They reveal that many users are happy with its virus detection and removal rates. Top Ten reviews, one of the leading antivirus and Internet security companies has awarded it the silver rating for its features and performance. So it beats over 25 programs and is only surpassed by BitDefender.

Malware writers are constantly developing new attack techniques, and their counterparts working for good likewise develop countermeasures to match them. To reflect this constant evolution, the designers at Kaspersky Lab have decided to stop labeling their security suite with year or version numbers. If you go to the store to buy Kaspersky Internet Security ($79.95 direct for three licenses) you won't see the date labeled on the boxes (though the year still appears in the program's title bar).

Those already using the latest edition will get the update automatically, and probably won't notice a lot of changes. The designers have worked to streamline program usage, cutting down on alerts and popups and eliminating unnecessary options, and the installation process requires fewer steps, but there are no sweeping changes.

You will notice the new Safe Money feature, an evolution of the previous edition's SafeRun for websites. But your only hint that the antispam and antiphishing engines are new will be enhanced accuracy. The brand-new automatic exploit protection and process-execution control likewise stay below the radar. These features definitely showed their merit in my hands-on testing.

Lengthy, Effective Malware Cleanup

The suite's antivirus protection is exactly the same as what's found in Kaspersky Anti-Virus, so I'll simply summarize that review here.

To supplement its traditional signature-based malware detection, the antivirus relies on real-time cloud-based detection by the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN). The KSN database of known good and bad files helps speed scanning; the antivirus submits unknown files to KSN for analysis.

For full protection KSN must be turned on, but there's a catch in regard to my testing. During my earlier testing of Kaspersky PURE 2.0 Total Security, KSN received all of my malware samples for analysis. It's had a couple months to chew on those, giving it a possible unfair advantage in this new test. There's nothing to be done about that, except keep it in mind when considering the current tests.

Kaspersky installed without incident on ten malware-infested systems, and a quick scan by Kaspersky's standalone Virus Removal Tool solved minor startup problems on the other two. Cleanup took quite a while, with most systems requiring at least one "special disinfection" and many needing more than one full scan.

Kaspersky detected 89 percent of threats and scored 6.5 points for malware cleanup. It detected 100 percent of rootkits and scored 9.4 points against those. All of these are top scores among products tested with my current sample set. As you can see in the chart below, Kaspersky PURE didn't score nearly as well.

Good Malware Blocking

Kaspersky's Web Anti-Virus did a good job blocking download of malicious files either at the URL level or during the download process. It wiped out many pre-downloaded samples on sight; I launched the few remaining samples and notes its reaction.

Kaspersky detected 89 percent of the samples, the same as Kaspersky PURE, but earned 8.7 points for malware blocking, beating PURE's 8.4 points. Daily Safety Check Home Edition and SecureIT Plus detected 97 percent of these samples; SecureIT tops the list with 9.7 points.

Other Shared Features

Kaspersky generously includes quite a few features in the standalone antivirus that many vendors reserve for full-scale security suites. Phishing protection is one such. In my testing, Kaspersky's detection was a fraction of a percent better than that of consistent antiphishing champ Norton, and 22 percent better than Internet Explorer's built-in protection.

The new automatic exploit protection also appears in the antivirus; I'll discuss this feature in connection with the suite's firewall. Both the suite and antivirus will scan and fix security problems in Windows and in Internet Explorer. They can also protect your privacy by cleaning up traces of your browser and computer use. Using a built-in wizard, you can create a rescue CD that will fix problems even when malware has rendered the computer unbootable.

Intelligent Firewall

Years ago, installing a personal firewall guaranteed you a blizzard of unintelligible popup queries. Should such-a-process be allowed to communicate with such-an-address over such-a-port? Users quickly learned to just click "allow," thereby rendering the firewall's program control useless.

Kaspersky's firewall puts decisions about what permissions each program should have where it belongs, with the security suite. Every program gets assigned a security level; the lower the level, the less the program is allowed to do. Your local suite consults Kaspersky Security Network to get the security level for known program. For unknowns, it makes a decision by observing program behavior.

This trust system doesn't only manage Internet permissions. Programs with a low trust level can't access sensitive file and Registry areas, for example. Those at the lowest level can't even run.

For testing purposes, I temporarily turned off automatic trust-level assignment and tried to launch a collection of leak-test programs. These programs demonstrate sneaky tricks that malware can use to subvert normal program control. Kaspersky visibly caught almost all of the leak tests. Of course, in its default mode it would have done the same, but silently.

Most firewalls also put all of your system's ports in stealth mode, making them invisible to outside attack. Every year I have to be reminded that Kaspersky takes a different approach. They ensure that all ports are closed to outside attack, but not stealthed, because "to enable Stealth mode... essentially slows down the operation." During testing, I observed the suite's network attack monitor blocking several random real-world attacks; apparently it works!

As noted, both the suite and the standalone antivirus include new protection against exploits. When I attacked a test system using exploits generated by the Core IMPACT penetration tool, none of the attacks succeeded in breaching security. Kaspersky actively blocked about two-thirds of the exploits and identified most of them by name.

For years, Kaspersky's firewall has stood up to all my direct-attack attempts. The latest edition was no exception. I tried to tweak its Registry settings, kill its essential processes, and disable its critical services. It shot me down in every case with "Access Denied."

Kaspersky's firewall doesn't follow the standard model, and that's not a bad thing. It totally handles program control, and moves protection against outside attack to a higher level than merely stealthing ports. You'll get all the protection you need, and no confusing popups.

Improved Antispam

With many email accounts spam-filtered by servers or webmail providers, not everyone needs antispam protection. On the other hand, if you do need it you want it to be accurate. Kaspersky's spam filter managed both POP3 and IMAP email accounts and integrates with Microsoft Outlook, The Bat!, and Windows Mail.

If you wish, you can configure the spam filter to always block specific email addresses, or always block mail containing specific phrases. In a similar fashion you can whitelist email addresses that should never be blocked. It's even possible to whitelist messages containing specific phrases, though I'm not sure what purpose that would serve. I didn't change any default settings for testing, figuring most users would leave them alone.

In the supported email clients, Kaspersky's toolbar offers buttons to flag messages erroneously marked as spam or not spam. This should help train the antispam engine. You can also choose to automatically whitelist the sender when you mark a message as not spam, or blacklist the sender when you mark it as spam. For testing, I used the product out of the box, without training.

I let Kaspersky's anti-spam process thousands of messages from a real-world spam-infested email account. It didn't slow the download process appreciably. However, I noticed that messages kept moving from the Inbox to the spam folder for quite some time after the download finished. I waited for the antispam to finish completely before checking results.

After discarding messages older than 30 days, I still had over 5,000 left to analyze. I sorted the Inbox into valid personal mail, valid bulk mail (newsletters and such), and undeniable spam, discarding any messages that didn't clearly match one of these three categories. Next I did the same for the Spam folder.

I was pleased to find that Kaspersky didn't discard a single valid personal or bulk message. I hate losing valid mail to a spam filter. Kaspersky did let over 17 percent of undeniable spam into the Inbox, but that's not so bad. In theory, if you use the "Not spam" button to correct any errors it will learn and become more accurate.

Safe Money

Safe Money is a big new feature for the current Kaspersky suite, but parts of it will seem familiar. It's built on what previous suites called SafeRun for Websites. In its new role as Safe Money, it works hard to keep you from being scammed by fraudsters when you contact sensitive sites online.

In operation, it's quite simple. The moment you start to connect with a known sensitive site in your ordinary browser, the Safe Money feature offers to connect in a secure browser session instead. Kaspersky identifies the secure session by putting a glowing green border around the browser window. If you leave the "Remember..." box checked, you'll automatically get the safe browser the next time you visit that site. You can also add arbitrary sites to always open in the safe browser.

What exactly does Safe Money do? To start, it verifies the site you're visiting against its list of trusted sites, to ensure it's not a fraud. It also verifies the site's digital certificate. If it detects security vulnerabilities that could expose private data, it insists the user fix them. And it blocks "any attempts to introduce  malicious  code via  the browser,  read  the  memory, display  fake windows,  or  take screenshots."

For a suspenders-and-belt approach to privacy, you can enter your credentials using the floating virtual keyboard. The new secure keyboard feature takes a different approach, using a special driver to protect keyboard input. By default, Kaspersky automatically uses the secure keyboard in Safe Money and for password fields on any site.

Safe Money in Action

So, does it work? In testing, it definitely offered a secure browsing session for all the financial sites I tried. I disabled protection temporarily to install a commercial keylogger. I set it to capture the screen periodically, then ran through a series of tests. I typed text in Google, then typed into a password field for a non-financial site. I opened a secure site and entered data there. Then I checked to see what the keylogger captured.

When I typed the password, I got a popup confirmation of secure keyboard—that was nice! The notification showed up for both username and password within the secure browser session, and for the secret question too.

Looking at the keylogger's log, I clearly saw that it caught my Google entry and the usernames from the non-financial pages (but not the passwords). It didn't capture any keystrokes at all from the secure session.

However, despite Kaspersky's efforts, the keylogger did capture screenshots of the secure session. The only time it came up blank was when the virtual keyboard was on-screen, so I'd recommend activating the virtual keyboard even if you plan to type your password. As promised, the keylogger logged my Internet activity from non-secure browsing sessions, but not from the secure session. When I used the clipboard to copy/paste a password in the secure session, though, the keylogger snagged it.

Safe Money definitely offers layers of protection for your online transactions, but you still need to be a bit careful. Don't copy sensitive data via the clipboard, and always bring up the virtual keyboard to make sure a keylogger can't screen-capture your online activities.

Parental Control

While the parental control system has a new engine that can get URL category updates in tandem with regular database updates, there's no change in the feature set from that of Kaspersky Internet Security.

Briefly, Kaspersky offers a better than usual parental control component, though it doesn't challenge the best stand-alone parental control systems. You can set different configuration options for each Windows account, with the option to block access to websites in 14 categories. Categorization doesn't just rely on a static database; the parental control system analyzes unknown sites in real time.

Parents can set a weekly schedule (with optional daily cap) for each child's use of the computer, the Internet, or any program. A countdown warns when time is almost up. Kaspersky monitors common instant messaging services, allowing parents to block unwanted contacts and filter out specified keywords.

A comprehensive set of reports gives parents a view into all aspects of the child's online life, including websites visited, blocked sites, instant messages, social networking activity, and more. However, it won't remotely notify parents of violations, nor does it permit remote management.

Some Drag on Performance

As in most security companies, Kaspersky's designers have to balance keeping the user secure against the possibility of slowing down day-to-day activities. I run a number of tests measuring simple, common tasks with and without a security suite loaded. I average many runs and evaluate how much of a performance hit the suite causes. Kaspersky's effect was measureable, but probably not noticeable.

A script that moves and copies many files between drives took 23 percent longer with Kaspersky's protection active, a bit above the current average of 17 percent. On the other hand, in another test that zips and unzips those same files Kaspersky's presence added just 13 percent while the average is 16 percent.

Kaspersky's protection kicks in before you even log into Windows, but in testing it added just 12 percent to the time required to boot the system. That's a bit above the current average of 10 percent, but nothing you'd really notice. Finally, a script that times how long it takes to fully load 100 websites took 17 percent longer under Kaspersky; the average is 18 percent.

Conclusion: A Good Choice

The latest edition of Kaspersky Internet Security is a full-powered security suite that will tend to all your protection needs. Antiphishing and antispam in particular have improved over last year's suite. Safe Money, evolved from SafeRun for Websites, protects your sensitive online financial transactions at many different levels.

This suite is definitely a good choice. Its only disadvantage involves going up against even better choices. For my own systems, I use Editors' Choice suites Norton Internet Security or Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete, but you may well prefer Kaspersky.

 

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