Kaspersky has been toying with a free version of its widely respected antivirus solution for a while now on the company's own Dev Builds server.
Recently, the company released Kaspersky Free to the public. While not the first free product that Kaspersky has released, it is the first free full-blown antivirus solution the company has released.
The main caveat at this time is that the product has only been released official in Russia and the Ukraine.
While that is the case, downloads don't seem to be geo-restricted at this point in time. Please note though that the interface is mostly in Russian which is problematic if you don't speak the language considering that it is usually a good thing to understand what a security message means before reacting to it.
Also, you may run into activation issues if you run the program in a region that is not Russia or Ukraine. If that is the case, features are limited until those issues are resolved (for instance by using a VPN).
Kaspersky Free is limited when compared to the commercial Kaspersky Internet Security, but that is the case for all free offerings regardless of company.
The free version of the security program protects users against malicious software and websites but lacks advanced features such as parental controls, mobile application support or Internet payment protection.
Download of the 159 Megabyte file (most of it during installation as you download a web installer only on the Kaspersky website) and installation should not pose issues. The Russian installer displays Terms of Service though which you need to accept which you may not want to do if you don't read Russian.
As you can see on the screenshot, the whole interface is in Russian. I checked the settings but there is no option to switch to another language. This means, basically, that the software is of little use to you if you don't understand Russian.
Please note that you can navigate the software using the Google Translate apps' realtime image translation feature as it translates text that the camera picks up automatically in another desired language.
The four main menu entries displayed by the app are scan, update, payments and parental controls. The last two are not available in the free version but advertised in it, the other two are available even if the software is not activated.
Kaspersky plans to make the software available in other regions and for other languages, according to a post on the official company blog (if Google Translate got that one right, that is).
It is interesting to note that Kaspersky Free is the second new free antivirus solution that is been released in 2016 (Sophos Home was the first).
It is too early to say how it stacks up against popular free antivirus solutions such as BitDefender Antivirus Free even though it is fair to assume that Kaspersky Free uses the same detection engine as its commercial counterpart.
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