Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6
Our Best Buy stand-alone antivirus program, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, shines for its top-notch malware detection and disinfection rates. It boasts a 96 percent detection rate, and cleaned 86 percent of all items in our disinfection tests. It is also the fastest at delivering new signatures out of the eight tested programs, with an average response time of 0 to 2 hours.
You'll pay for this stellar performance, however. At $50 for the downloaded product, it was the most expensive program we tested in our antivirus roundup, though renewals drop to $35 per year. Also, its proactive protection was only middling, catching just about half of 200 new malware samples when tested using a one-month-old signature database.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 has a polished interface that makes it easy to schedule scans. Clearly labeled, one-click drill-downs make finding and setting up advanced features a breeze.
For e-mail and news traffic, the program scans incoming and outgoing data over the POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and NNTP protocols. It monitors HTTP traffic for Web-borne threats as well. However, it doesn't set up a default scheduled scan--you'll need to set one up yourself.
Built-in antiphishing protection can block scam e-mail, and a "proactive defense" module looks for the hidden processes and Registry changes that can signal malware hidden with a rootkit.
If you buy this program, do so online--the download is $10 cheaper than the retail box. If you want the Vista-compatible flavor, you'll have to download the program in any case. Just be sure to download the right version; it's easy to click the wrong link among the many others on the download page.
You get free phone and e-mail support during business hours from Monday through Friday, though the phone number isn't toll-free. The company says that it will answer support calls placed after hours on weekdays and throughout the weekend, on what it calls a "best-effort" basis.
We tested the Vista version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 for our "Virus Stoppers" roundup. An XP version of the software is also available.