Kaspersky Internet Security Review
Kaspersky Internet Security is a long-standing security program for the Windows operating system by Russian security firm Kaspersky.
The program sits functionality-wise between the company's Anti-Virus and Total Security offerings. From a security point of view, it is offering more security features than Anti-Virus, and the same level of protective features as the more expensive Total Security product.
In addition to offering all features of Kaspersky Anti-Virus, it ships with a firewall, host intrusion prevention system and other security features.
Kaspersky Internet Security
You can download the latest version of Kaspersky Internet Security from the company website. It is provided as a free 30-day trial version that you can install on Windows systems for testing.
As far as a purchase of a license is concerned, you may want to buy Kaspersky Internet Security elsewhere as you will pay half or even less for it then.
Amazon.com for instance lists the three device version of the program as a download for $26.94 (subject to change) currently while you'd pay $79.95 for the same version on Kaspersky's website.
Program installation should not pose any problems, a reboot is not required after installation.
The program interface
The interface of Kaspersky Internet Security has not changed much throughout the years. In fact, the latest version still resembles the 2012 version of the program in many regards.
That's however not necessarily a bad thing, considering that it helps users who upgrade as they don't need to spend time using the program.
The program displays whether your PC is protected or not on start, and options to run scans, check for updates, use parental controls, and safe money.
Several types of scans are supported by the application. You can run full or quick scans, scan external devices (there is a prompt whenever one gets connected), or run custom scans.
The program is a bit limited when it comes to custom scans. There is for instance no option to save them to run them again at a later point in time, and custom scans cannot be scheduled on top of that.
You may want to create a rescue disc on first run before you start running scans or make modifications to the application. It enables you to boot the PC using the Rescue Disc to remove malicious software from it which prevents the PC from booting or cannot be removed while Windows is running.
The Tools menu links to the most recent version of the rescue disk on the Kaspersky website.
It displays monitoring information such as current cpu, memory and disk utilization, network information, and a report history that lists blocked applications, neutralized threats and blocked network attacks.
You can click on any of these for additional details. Application control for instance lists then the number of programs that are monitored, and how many of those are actively running. From there, you can go even deeper by displaying the application activity window which highlights all, running, and startup applications.
Kaspersky displays information about each program there, for instance whether it is digitally signed and its popularity.
You can move applications from one group, e.g. trusted, to another, e.g. low or high restricted, which define what a program can do on the system and what it cannot do. High restricted programs are blocked from accessing the webcam video stream for instance.
You find plenty of other applications there as well. You can run a vulnerability scan for instance, which checks for known software and operating system vulnerabilities and suggests fixes for those found in a detailed report.
Here is a quick overview of what the tools menu offers:
- Privacy Protection: configure private browsing and webcam access, and run the privacy cleaner tool to remove traces from the system.
- Trusted Applications mode: enable this mode to allow only trusted applications to run on the system. Kaspersky maintains a database of trusted applications that the program uses for that. Users can however add applications to the trust list so that they run on the system.
- Management Console: is an online service that enables you to manage your devices remotely from the Kaspersky website.
- Cloud Protection: leverages information from Kaspersky users worldwide to provide faster and better protection against threats.
- On-Screen keyboard: adds an on-screen keyboard to the system, requires a restart.
- Quarantine: lists malicious files Kaspersky Internet Security blocked from attacking the system.
- Vulnerability Scan: scans the operating system and applications for vulnerabilities.
- Browser Configuration: performs a security analysis of installed web browsers, and enables you afterwards to resolve security or privacy related issues found.
- Kaspersky Rescue Disk: links to the Kaspersky website where the rescue disk can be downloaded from.
- Microsoft Windows Troubleshooting: scans the system for system settings that have been modified by malware activity, and proposes to restore them to their original values.
The settings allow you to turn features on or off, and to configure them. The program gives you a lot of control over the features that it makes available. This goes as far as allowing you to disable the file anti-virus functionality.
It is recommended to go through the settings on first start and disable any feature that you may not require, and to check out the configuration options for all others.
For instance, if you don't run instant messengers, there is little need to keep the IM Anti-Virus component activated.
Some components, like the System Changes Control feature, are not enabled by default.
Another thing you can do here is disable the automatic mode that Kaspersky Internet Security ships with by default. The program performs recommended actions automatically by default. Great if you don't want to be bothered by prompts all the time, not so great if you prefer to be in full control.
Kaspersky Internet Security vs. Anti-Virus
Kaspersky Internet Security and Anti-Virus share many features. The former supports all features of the Anti-Virus product, and on top of that, the following features:
- Advanced Anti-Phishing Protection
- HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System)
- Parental Controls
- Private Browsing
- Safe Money
- Secure Keyboard
- Webcam Protection
Kaspersky Internet Security vs. Total Security
Kaspersky Total Security offers all features of Internet Security, and then some. The following features are only supported by it and not by Internet Security:
- Backup, encryption and file shredder. Plus, online backup.
- Kaspersky Password Manager Premium
- Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium
How good is Kaspersky Internet Security?
Kaspersky has received high ratings for its products in the past years. Internet Security got the product of the year award for instance over at AV Comparatives.
Kaspersky Lab is this year’s Product of the Year, having received Advanced+ awards in all of the year’s tests. It also wins the Gold Award in the Malware Removal Test, and joint Gold in the RealWorld Protection and File Detection Tests. Additional wins this year are the Silver Award in the Proactive Protection Test, and joint Bronze in Performance. We liked the real-time progress displays in its refreshed user interface, and the extensive and excellent documentation.
AV Test gave Kaspersky a 15 out of 15 rating.
Kaspersky Internet Security is a long standing security program for Windows that receives high protection ratings year after year.
The sheer functionality that it provides may overwhelm some users, especially since it may not always clear how one of the protective modules the program offers work.
Windows users who don't need the extra features that Internet Security offers could consider getting the Anti-Virus version instead which lacks firewall and some other features but is usually cheaper because of it.
- Easy to use interface, and an automated mode that handles some decisions automatically.
- Excellent configuration options to turn features off or on, and to gain more control over the program.
- Excellent antivirus test scores.
- Limit access to webcam.
- Solid privacy protection options.
What's not so good
- There is no option to customize the software during installation. Everything gets installed, and it is up to you to disable features that you don't need afterwards.
- The program lacks tooltips, but ships with a local help file that provides you with information about its modules and settings.
- No backup options included.
- Parental controls offer no real-time notifications or remote control options.