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Kaspersky 2011 Anti-Virus Review

Posted on May 10, 2011

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 is an optimum choice for your home anti-virus protection, covering 3 PCs. New features make it easier than ever to use, with anti-virus coverage for your system, email and your Internet browsing. It also offers a gaming mode, where scanning doesn't impact your CPU usage.

Review at a Glance

Kaspersky AV 2011 is a straightforward anti-virus program which covers everything you’d expect, and adds a few items not found in basic AV programs.

Pros:

·    It has an easy to manage modular approach which allows for very effective and comprehensive AV coverage;
·    Option to stop CPU intensive scans while playing a game means application performance is optimized;
·    Has a virtual keyboard for secure form and password entry.

Cons:

·    It has very high CPU usage during full scans;
·    Not as small a footprint as some other anti-virus programs;
·    Activating the virtual keyboard is awkward when not in a browser.

Setup and Installation

There are a number of anti-virus solutions available, but Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 deserves to be at the top of your list, for comprehensive coverage, ease of use, and good behavior while accessing the CPU. Kaspersky is well known for its protection for computer systems and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 is the home solution suited to the average user's needs. You can download it directly from the Kaspersky website, or buy it on CD. The license for a year’s protection covers three computers—a good deal for a family.

Hardware requirements first—you'll need 480 MB free hard drive space, an optical drive if you are installing from CD, and an Internet connection, which allows you to download the program, and is essential in allowing you to update Kaspersky’s virus definitions.

Installation is quick, whether through a download from Kaspersky or via CD. The AV program first runs a check on the system to make sure the correct system capability is there, and then will check to see if there are any programs installed on your computer which may conflict with Kaspersky or if there are problems with the uninstall of your previous AV protection. Installation will follow if there are no issues; otherwise Kaspersky will ask you to remove the problem applications. You will probably need to reboot after deleting the conflicting software. The installation will continue, and offers you an option for custom installation, although most users will not need this. If you do want to perform a custom installation, a comprehensive PDF manual will walk you through the steps.

After installation, it's a good idea to reboot your computer to startup Kaspersky. Kaspersky’s first move after a successful installation is to access the home site and download the most current dictionary of virus information. When it is finished, and has run a vulnerability scan on your computer, you will see the desktop icon turn green.

Types of Protection Offered

Kaspersky updates hourly to check for new virus signatures, but it also uses Proactive defense, one of the modular components of the anti-virus program. Proactive defense watches for anything which is acting in a suspicious manner, or a manner reminiscent of an identified piece of malware. This allows it to flag potentially dangerous items which have not been reported to the database yet.

The pieces of Kaspersky Anti-Virus’s modular approach to protection are; File Anti-Virus, Mail Anti-Virus, Web Anti-Virus, IM Anti-Virus, Proactive Defense and Anti-Phishing. These modules combine to provide groups of objects; File Anti-Virus and Proactive defense work to cover information on your computer such as files, passwords, bankcard information and so on; Mail Anti-Virus, Web Anti-Virus, IM Anti-Virus and Proactive Defense protect installed applications and operating system objects; Mail Anti-Virus, Web Anti-Virus, IM Anti-Virus and Anti-Phishing cover online activities such as e-payments, email protection against spam, viruses, and so on.

The Protection Center in the main window of the anti-virus program shows the combination of each of these components. The components can also be turned on and off individually, although Kaspersky advises if that is necessary, that you set a time limit so that they automatically turn back on.

What if a Virus is Detected?

Kaspersky communicates with you by notifications and pop-ups. Notifications of critical importance are flagged red. The red notification or pop-up will not leave the screen until you pick a choice of action. Kaspersky’s choice is marked by default, but you can choose another if you want. This kind of notification is for detection of dangerous activities or malicious actions. Important information is given to you with yellow flagged pop-ups, for suspicious indications or an object which may be a danger. Finally, a notice with information only is given with green pop-ups.

Virtual Keyboard

One important security precaution, the virtual keyboard, is easier to use than ever before. It is on the toolbar of both Internet Explorer and Firefox. When used to fill in passwords or credit card information on the Internet, using a combination of the virtual keyboard and actual keystrokes is one of the safest methods of entering sensitive information possible. When you want to type important information onto your computer, or while on the Internet using other browsers, the virtual keyboard can also be accessed via a key combination or by right-clicking on the taskbar icon for Kaspersky.

Other Features

Kaspersky will notify you whenever it finds a dangerous object or needs input decisions from you. It scans any downloads you make, any storage medium attached, emails, and anything that attempts to load onto your computer without asking you.

Kaspersky has a prominent desktop icon to allow you to access the main window or settings for the anti-virus application. You can set up a number of parameters for scanning, including an option that will not use CPU power to run scans while playing a game. The idle time scans utilize your CPU power when you do not have high CPU utilization, not when it will slow down the process you are currently using.

If you download a file from the Internet that exhibits behavior similar to a dangerous file, Kaspersky gives it a scan before allowing it onto your computer, or to make any changes to your computer. If it remains suspicious of it after the scan, it will quarantine or delete the file.

If you insert a USB storage device or a CD into a port on your computer, Kaspersky will pop-up with a message and ask you about scanning it. You can also check a box to tell it to always carry out the action you select. You can quick scan, full scan, or not scan the drive. While you may not worry about scanning a new drive, no scan is not a good option to select for always. A quick scan looks at potentially dangerous files, while a full scan looks at every file on the drive.

Kaspersky also provides you with some computer management tools meant to make your defense against viruses even more effective. These include the ability to create a rescue disc, vulnerability scan, system restore, and more.

Room for Improvement

Kaspersky does have some features you should also be aware of; although they are certainly not reasons to choose another AV solution, they don’t seem the smoothest choices for Kaspersky to have made. You should be aware that if you want to use the virtual keyboard outside the IE or Firefox browser, the keyboard shortcut is a little absurd. It requires you to press CTRL, ALT, Shift and P at once. While that is not likely to be a combination you are likely to use by accident, it needs both hands. As well, Kaspersky has provided a sidebar gadget for Windows 7 and Vista. While it allows you to access the interface for the program easily, in appearance it is a large button, about an inch in diameter - a large obvious green button, occupying a definite corner of the desktop. One is too complicated, the other too big.

It also has a larger footprint than some of its competitors. As well, you should always schedule full scans for a time when you are asleep or will be away from your desk, as full scans utilize a lot of CPU power. During a full scan, you will be aware of a real slowdown if you are using any programs at the same time.

None of this affects the ability of the program to detect viruses and protect your PC.

Overall Recommendation

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 is an exemplary anti-virus solution for your use of the Internet, is easy to install and use, and has extremely good manners for CPU utilization. For protection achievement, it is one of the most successful in the business, and covering three computers for the price of one license is also a great deal.

Screenshots

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