Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0
At a Glance
Kaspersky Lab's Internet Security 7.0 pairs a top-notch interface with solid performance in threat detection. At $80 for use on up to three PCs, it's among the most expensive suites we tested for our "All-in-One Security Suites: Tried and Tested." It was somewhat slow at performing security scans.
Kaspersky produced good results on most of the malware detection and disinfection tests run by AV-Test.org, the German security research company we contracted to conduct testing. Kaspersky did a thorough job of looking for threats hidden in file archives and in all types of e-mail traffic, and Kaspersky provides the fastest response to malware outbreaks, delivering new signatures within 2 hours (on average).
Kaspersky's program was the only one to warn about a Warezov e-mail worm contained within a test archive, downloaded through the IMAP e-mail protocol. In my informal tests, it popped up a clear warning (with an attention-grabbing shrieking sound) before the malicious file had a chance to write to the hard drive. And after I told it to ignore that first catch, it warned me again when the file was saved. That's just the right behavior.
The Kaspersky suite showed middle-of-the-road results in tests of heuristic capabilities meant to identify unknown malware. When outfitted with one-month-old signature files and pitted against new malware, it caught only 14 percent. Its scan rate of 5.24 megabytes per second for on-demand scans was the second-slowest in our eight-suite test group. Though it did a great job at detecting all six actively running rootkits, it pegged only four of six inactive samples, suggesting that it's better at identifying this kind of stealth malware after it has infected a machine than in advance. Also, it successfully removed only two rootkit infections.
Kaspersky's firewall is capable but less well-developed than its antivirus components. It correctly blocked attempted outside connections, and its reasonable default level of security allows all programs to access the Internet. But if you bump up the protection to warn about unknown programs making outbound connections, you'll get plenty of pop-ups about programs that you might have expected it to grant access to automatically.
The suite's distinctive data privacy feature warns you when other programs attempt to access or send data from a protected storage area, such as the location where Internet Explorer keeps its passwords. That way, you don't have to specify credit card numbers or other sensitive data that you want to protect; the suite knows to guard whatever is in that protected area. Because the package focuses on storage used by IE, it may be less effective for other programs such as Firefox. The suite's parental controls work by asking you to select an age category--such as 'child'--for the protected user. At that age-level setting, though, the feature blocked harmless buttons on the OpenTable.com restaurant site.
The suite's intuitive and great-looking interface stands out. While a scan is running, Kaspersky tracks the estimated completion time; and when it finishes, you receive a well-presented, tabbed scan report that even identifies the settings used during the scan. The suite's only design drawback is that it doesn't schedule any scans by default--and the process for setting them up yourself is somewhat clunky.
Overall, Kaspersky's Internet Security 7.0 is a well-designed, solid suite that sits firmly in the upper echelon of programs we tested.