With plenty of tools and features to play with,
Kaspersky has received plenty of plaudits in years gone by, and this latest release sticks to the vendor’s usual winning formula. That begins with superlative protection: we’re accustomed to seeing this security suite rack up 100% scores in anti-malware tests, and in the latest independent tests it once again did just that.
Nor did Kaspersky throw the baby out with the bathwater, racking up a mere two false positives. That’s not quite as forensically perfect as Eset or F-Secure, but it’s still sharper than the average count of 6.6 (or 3.2 if you exclude Malwarebytes). Most encouragingly, Kaspersky did all this with an exceptionally nimble touch, achieving an overall system performance score of 92.4%. When tasked with scanning our external hard disk full of test files, it whipped through the 55GB in barely more than 90 seconds, silently quarantining our EICAR test file as it went.
On that basis, you might be picturing a stripped-down offering, but the suite incorporates a spread of additional security features. The “Safe Money” function cleverly takes the friction out of secure browsing, by automatically detecting when you click on a shopping or banking site and opening the link in a sandboxed browser window. An extension for Chrome, Edge and Firefox also warns you when sites try to harvest your data or track your activity, while a secure onscreen keyboard can be used to enter credentials, defeating any keyloggers that might have slipped through the net.
Additionally, there are a few clean-up features that can clear out old applications or leftover logs and caches that may contain personal data, as well as a built-in rescue disk builder that could save the day if a rootkit manages to get its claws deep into your system.
It’s buried away in the settings, but there’s even a custom firewall, with a clean interface that’s easier to configure than the standard Windows offering. Would-be sysadmins will love the network monitor tool too, which exposes all the details of what your applications and processes are doing online. See something you don’t like? You can block it with two clicks. It’s complemented by a decent reports module, which brings together extensive logs from the program’s modules, and offers search and filter options to help you zero in on specific events, items or timescales.
In short, Kaspersky provides a great breadth of security coverage and intelligence – and it’s absurdly affordable. A single-PC licence can be had from Aliexpress For about £ 4.73 for a year for one Pc.
Kaspersky is also guilty of the sort of in-product marketing we wouldn’t expect from a paid-for security suite. Occasional promotional messages are enabled by default – you have to delve into the settings to disable them – and taster editions of entire other products come bundled into the package.
In particular, we’re not delighted about the big button for the Safe Kids parental control module. This sits front and centre in the interface, but clicking it only activates the cut-down, free edition of the service. Similarly, the installer drops icons onto your desktop for Kaspersky’s Secure Connection VPN and Password Manager services, but these again are the free editions. To get the full parental control and password manager features, you need to move up to the pricier Total Security package – or sign up for costly subscriptions.
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