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The Kaspersky Lab has been around for a long time and has acquired quite a stellar reputation in the world of cyber security.
Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO and owner, founded the company in 1997. He is one of the most recognized personalities in the cyber security world.
Kaspersky is one of the leading security players in the antivirus market with packages that include many features not included in other software vendors' products.
Kaspersky excels every year with outstanding protection scores in tests measured by many third party labs.
I would suggest that Kaspersky is a very good choice for most people, so much so that I would even call its products mainstream. In my opinion, it ranks in first place for a fail-safe, reliable antivirus software.
Seeing that Kaspersky is rated as a top choice for antivirus software by multiple independent security institutes, it positions itself as a global industry leader and remains focused on the fight against the ever-growing malware epidemic on the web.
This Kaspersky 2017 review contains hands-on lab tests to inspect its features and conduct performance tests in order to learn more about how this software affects PC usability and resources.
I will also reproduce real-life scenarios with protection tests and measure the accuracy of the anti-phishing filters.
A household name in the world of cyber security since 1997, Kaspersky operates in 200 countries with 37 offices spread over 32 countries.
The headquarters are located in Moscow, Russia, and it is operated by a holding company in the United Kingdom with offices in the US and Singapore.
If you do a LinkedIn search of the company name, you will see that it has approximately 3000 employees.
This reliable antivirus software company boasts a team of antivirus specialists who provide home users, businesses, large corporations, and governments with state-of-the-art cyber security technology that combats cyber-criminal activities.
The technology safeguards its users' (400 million of them) privacy, finances, family, critical information, and business success.
Kaspersky has been hailed a leader in endpoint security by expert analyst agencies such as IDC, Forrester, and Gartner, and the company continues to grow in the field on non-endpoint security for larger enterprises.
The expert team constantly detects and remedies very sophisticated cyber threats, including cyber sabotage and cyber espionage and then places them in the Targeted Cyberattack Logbook.
Some people might have a problem with buying a security product from a Russian-based company, but my answer to that would be:
In my opinion "country of origin" is not necessarily a useful "litmus test" of an antivirus software’s trustworthiness.
Seeing that Kaspersky is a veteran antivirus software company, all of its packages will ensure secure coverage from security threats and malware.
Kaspersky can be downloaded for a free 30-day trial. If you decide to buy the full version, you will have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I recommend going for the Antivirus if all you need is to be fully safeguarded against security threats and attacks. If you need that extra kick with VPN and online backup or have children, I'd say you should go for the Total Security with all the added extras. The backup is very important in case of a ransomware attack.
Our review aggregation tool provides all the published lab tests related to Kaspersky on one easy-to-use graph.
The tool speaks for itself:
Kaspersky is ranked 1st with very high scores, and it is by far the best antivirus software according to all available external lab tests which take protection, performance, and false positive alerts into account.
I recommend you use this tool in your security research.
The information it provides is priceless!
Disclaimer: This tool dynamically finds more tests on a daily basis as they become available online.
The score and ranking we refer to apply to the published date of this Kaspersky review; data can change over time.
The malware protection test is performed on the same lab computer we use for our hands-on testing. In this test, I will demonstrate how well Kaspersky handles a 1,000 of the newest zero-day malware files.
Our test results speak for themselves: Kaspersky offers a top-notch malware detection engine that scored a whopping 94 in our hands-on test!
What's more, you can see that the test we ran last year shows results which aren't different from this one; this just proves that this company maintains its level of protection over time.
All our tests are performed with the same hardware. We also use a lower-end setup to amplify the impact of the tested software on the results. If we were to use top-of-the-line hardware with the latest CPU and a very fast SSD, it would be very difficult to measure the difference in performance impact.
I tested on an open bench PC comprised of the following components:
On this hardware platform, I installed Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and applied all critical update patches effective on January 2, 2017.
I ran Kaspersky Total Security 2017 (Ver. 184.108.40.2061) on a totally clean windows configuration and then disabled UAC (User Account Control); Windows updates; screen saver and power management settings; Windows system restore; all task and scheduler events; windows notifications and error reporting; and taskbar notifications.
All browsers – Firefox, Chrome, and Edge – were configured to show a blank page on startup / home page.
Finally, I copied 100,000 randomly generated files into a sample data folder for the scan duration test. This made up our "clean" image.
Windows only used a single account with no password to ensure automatic login after rebooting. No unknown devices were present or unrecognized in the Device Manager, and I rebooted Windows before doing the tests.
I used a dedicated script (boottimer.exe) to measure time elapse across five looping boot cycles. Our score shows the average time of the five cycles.
|Before KSP 2017||After KSP 2017||Difference|
This is the bread and butter of all performance tests. I included this parameter because some people consider it important, and you can learn about the quality, QA level, and stability of each anti-virus software from it.
However, you need to view the results with a pinch of salt because in today's CPU intensive environment, the modern CPU and SSD disk will not feel the difference between one antivirus and another.
I monitor 3 parameters for a duration of 15 minutes with a windows performance monitor. The first parameter is CPU usage, the second one is memory usage, and the last one is disk transfers per second.
I conduct the same test twice: first on a clean Windows 10 installation, and second after I install Kaspersky Total Security 2017 (Ver. 220.127.116.111) making sure I apply all software updates and reboot the system.
Kaspersky Total Security 2017 (Ver. 18.104.22.1681) passed the performance test with flying colors!! The increase in resources is almost non-existent, and this is exactly what one should expect from all antivirus vendors.
This is very impressive because they pack many extra features in this bundle, and I couldn’t see any significant influence on the computer resources.
In this benchmark I measure the execution time of 3 major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and Edge).
Once again, I conduct the test on a clean Windows 10 installation and repeat the test after I install Kaspersky Total Security 2017 (Ver. 22.214.171.1241).
This test is important because most antivirus software monitors the browser internet connection in order to block phishing attempts and scans file downloads.
Each browser was executed 3 times, so I used the average value to represent the increase in execution time in the graph above.
When I work out an average value for all browser tests together, there is an increase of 0.12 Seconds for opening a browser window. This result is very good for this industry although most users will not feel any difference on day-to-day use.
I used Chrome development tools to measure two key parameters.
I repeated this test on three commonly-used, legitimate websites to measure the impact of Kaspersky installation.
Note: A lot of variables can influence the test (network latency and load on the web server, or even the time of day), so it is important to consider all three test result sets together.
|Before KSP 2017||After KSP 2017||Difference|
|bestantivirus.reviews||2.19 sec \ 301ms TTFB||2.28 sec \ 310ms TTFB||0.09 sec \ 8.90ms|
|google.com||0.88 sec \ 138ms TTFB||0.97 sec \ 140ms TTFB||0.01 sec \ 3.83ms|
|facebook.com||0.84 sec \ 155ms TTFB||0.85 sec \ 157ms TTFB||0.08 sec \ 1.83ms|
|Average||3.39 sec \ 370ms TTFB||3.39 sec \ 370ms TTFB||0.01 sec \ 1.19ms|
Kaspersky does an excellent job with browser integration that you wouldn’t see any difference even on slow computers.
First, you can see that, on average, Kaspersky does not delay the time you need to wait until the page is fully loaded.
Unlike Google and Facebook, not all sites are fast and distributed globally over a large content delivery network, so if you consider the results of browsing to bestantivirus.reviews as well as to those sites, you get a more realistic set of results.
If you look at the average loading time of all three sites, you get the full picture.
Let's start off with this:
This is a very popular benchmark performed by many labs on antivirus software, however, if this scan is performed once a day at 02:00 a.m., or at a time that no one is using the computer, why should one care whether it takes 20 minutes or 25 minutes?
Moreover, some antivirus software uses a snapshot mechanism that will make sure it scans a file only once; only if this file was changed or altered, the software re-scans it which means this scan should only be performed on new files.
Kaspersky embraces this snapshot technology, and therefore our first lab scan shows a duration of 285 Seconds, while the second scan duration was only 4 Seconds!!!
The test benchmark is performed on a folder with 100,000 randomly generated files that contain random characters.
The test scan is performed on the test folder after a definition update and a system reboot.
The full scan duration was 285 Seconds (4:45 min), an average speed of 351 files per second.
You can see that during the full scan, the CPU utilization averages on 54%.
If you take the low performance toll and the relatively slow scan speed of files per second into consideration, and you add the snapshot optimization to that, you get a great balance of performance and speed.
In my opinion, this is exactly how your antivirus should perform.
Again, why would someone care about the time he has to wait for the full scan to finish?
He might want to know that during the full scan he probably can’t do anything intensive with his PC.
He will just have to sit back and relax while the process finishes, or just schedule it to a time when nobody is using the computer.
What happens if something goes wrong and you need some help with your PC because of a malware infection?
Kaspersky provides several ways to contact its support team. The customer service team is available 7 days a week from 5 a.m. - 11 p.m (ET).
You can open a support ticket via My Kaspersky website.
If you want to talk to someone, there is dedicated phone support number for each country.
There is also online live chat.
If you need sales, technical, website, or general information support, Kaspersky has you covered by phone or email.
You can also find a very detailed knowledgebase library with video guides per OS (operating system) categorization.
It is important to mention that Kaspersky has a very active and helpful forum with almost 100,000 topics which provides first aid assistance in case of malware infections
When we check the customer service of a company in our reviews, we conduct at least 2 separate customer support tests.
One of the tests is more pre-sale oriented, and the second one is more technical and requires some knowledge from the support engineer about the product.
We try to conduct these tests on a Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. to make sure it reflects the customer service workload / ticket queue that accumulated over the weekend.
For this Kaspersky review, I checked all their customer support options: email\ticketing, chat, and phone support.
For live chat, I received a response from an agent in about 30 seconds. However, he answered my question with a template answer, and I didn’t feel like he was knowledgeable.
The support team at kaspersky took almost 29 hours to answer my question, but they followed up on the support case on a daily basis until the case was closed. Their answer was on point and useful.
If you need a faster response, I suggest you call them or use the chat option.
Phone call – I managed to speak with a support engineer in 30 seconds. He was very nice and responsive.
From a user interface point of view, you get a very clean and modern platform. The new version has a clean design that doesn’t chew up the resources from your PC.
Kaspersky has 4 scan selections:
The Full Scan: This is a comprehensive scan that scans your entire computer as it reaches all the places where malware can hide itself, and therefore it is recommended for everyday use.
You should schedule this scan to run each day at a time when no one is using your computer. I think Kaspersky should add this schedule to the default settings.
The Quick Scan: This scan searches for active malware threats that are loaded with the operation system at startup. If anything is detected, Kaspersky will advise the user about the best action to disinfect and delete.
The Selective Scan: Uses the same operation as the full scan, but you can choose which folders and files you want to scan. You can even right click a windows folder and select to scan it via the selective scan.
The External Device Scan: Scans the connected external device such as the external hard disk and USB connected storage flash drive.
This is probably the basis of malware protection which is why so many independent laboratories have given Kaspersky high protection scores in the last few years.
When it comes to old school signature based malware detection, you can be sure that if it is a known malware, kaspersky will definitely detect and block it.
In our hands-on test video, you can see a 94% detection score.
This is probably the holy grail of malware protection, although Kaspersky is better known for its excellent class signature-based protection. In our internal lab tests we found a good protection with heuristic and behavior detection patterns.
In the past year, there have been many security products that boast a “Next Gen” antivirus and malware protection and claim that this is the only way to protect yourself from zero-day security hazards.
The biggest advantage of behavioral blocking is that, theoretically-speaking, it can stop zero-day malware which is still not documented and filed in a traditional signature database.
For example, if malware tries to delete a crucial system file, the anti-malware software should red-flag and terminate this process.
Although behavioral/heuristics is a very powerful approach to detect new malware, the downside is that it can create a high rate of false positive alerts. Kaspersky, however, does not have this problem.
The hope is that users will not need the removal option because a reliable antivirus software should block the malware from being executed in the first place.
But if there is a case where there is zero-day malware that wasn’t blocked by the behavioral blocking or the signature based protection, or a user installs Kaspersky on a previously infected system, then this is where the removal capabilities come into play.
Your privacy is the number one thing you need to safeguard online, and Kaspersky does just that! Snoopers and phishers won't be able to manipulate their way into your system to steal your information with their host of ways.
This is probably the most common way to introduce the malware to your system by redirecting your browser to a non-secure website that will use exploit or lure you into downloading a file that will be executed on your PC.
Firstly, what is Anti-Exploit?
Hackers that build zero-day malware use software vulnerabilities in order to penetrate and deliver the file to a user's system.
For example, if you don't update your Windows on a regular basis, you would be vulnerable to this type of attack, and the same goes for other software like Adobe reader or even Chrome browser.
Basically, your job is to make sure all your software is up-to-date, while Anti-Exploit's job is to block attempts on those vulnerabilities and that inject malware onto your system.
The easiest way to describe the difference between Kaspersky Anti-Malware and Kaspersky Anti-Exploit is that Anti-Malware guards your PC against WHAT you are being attacked with (for example, “locky ransomware”), while Anti-Exploit guards against HOW you are being attacked (for example, a file downloaded to your computer via Adobe auto-update).
These are two entirely different approaches that will keep you safe online!
So, if you keep up to tabs with the market of anti-malware solutions, you probably know about the not-so-new epidemic called ransomware.
We have an article about ransomware, but basically the concept is very simple:
A hacker takes control of your files and encrypts all your data, and unless you pay up (in most cases via bitcoin) within a limited time-frame, you will not regain access to your original files.
Before I talk about ransomware protection, it is very important to mention that no protection is bulletproof and you should always have an active back-up plan, which in this case is actually backing up all your data.
Now that I covered the above, let’s have a look at how ransomware protection works in Kaspersky 2017:
There are basically 4 stages that work one after the other.
Step 1) Anti Exploit will try to block the infection in the first place by blocking the download and execution of the ransomware file.
Step 2) Anti Malware will try to quarantine the ransomware file by comparing it to the known signature database of documented ransomware.
Step 3) Behavioral Ransomware Blocking uses Kaspersky behavioral protection to detect a process that mimics the behavior of a ransomware process.
Step 4) Trapping Ransomware Process: This is active ransomware protection, which can be divided into several levels.
Most anti-virus software only has Steps 1, 2, and 3.
We grade a software as “active ransomware protection enabled” only when they use advance methods described in Step 4.
Please bear in mind that the bad guys are getting smarter and they are discovering ways to improve ransomware and adjust the values / threshold to bypass the active ransomware protection.
This is why it is very important to have a good backup and an endpoint security product that blocks malware from reaching your computer in the first place.
Kaspersky 2017, like the majority of anti-ransomware vendors, rarely reveals details about their inner-workings and for good reason! I will not disclose which methods they use, but I can state that they have active ransomware protection enabled.
They even publish free tools online that can help decrypt your files in some cases.
The firewall component safeguards your security on local networks and on the Internet. All your network connections are monitored in order to block the ones that can be harmful to your PC.
With this feature, you can disallow certain applications to access the Internet in the first place.
You can find the firewall under Protection Settings, where you can configure the tool according to your preferences, such as which systems to block.
The most significant element is that each application is flagged with a rating that the community of Kaspersky users have created to let users know how safe each application is.
For example, you can see that chrome has an extremely good reputation, and therefore you should allow it to have full access to the internet.
With the parental control settings, anti-phishing mechanism, and the intelligent spam filter working together, Kaspersky ensures that users can enjoy safe surfing without any threats and attacks.
If you want to use your PC or device for games, surfing, movies and downloads, you can activate the gamer mode.
This means that the scans which take place in the background will be put on pause in order for the full system performance to be dedicated to your chosen activity.
Kaspersky's intelligent spam filtering reduces mail traffic so that unnecessary ads and emails are scanned beforehand and filtered out if need be.
If you are concerned about your children's vulnerability online, then have no fear!
Kaspersky's parental control features will steer your kids away from online hazards by blocking inappropriate content, applications, and websites.
You can also manage and monitor your kids' messaging on any social media platform.
If you want, you can also enable Kids Monitoring which takes your kids' safety to another level and is different from parental control.
Kaspersky Safe Kids safeguards your children with advanced technology such as: GPS safe zones, usage scheduling, and notifications.
You can select areas or zones in your city that have night clubs and bars. If your kids are there, you will get a notification. You can also monitor all your kids' communication - espionage-style - for Facebook activity, SMSes, WhatsApp, and more.
If you want to impose a time-limit on how long your kids can be on their devices, this feature lets you determine the usage time for the internet and devices.
This feature protects you from identity theft, keeps your personal information private, and secures your financial data.
It is also monitors access to your built-in or attached webcam and alerts you when the stream is active. Besides the above, Identity Protection also monitors and blocks the cookie-based data collection in your browser so your anonymity is kept safe online.
The information on your files is extremely confidential and personal, right?
This is why Kaspersky developed the file encryption technology so that the files can't be read if they are lost or stolen.
Kaspersky has also added a nifty tool:
The file shredder that prevents unauthorized recovery by hackers of files that you have deleted on the system.
It is a permanent data deletion tool that makes data recovery with standard software impossible.
Data can be deleted without a trace from local and network drives, as well as removable drives or other devices that are recognized as removable drives, such as USB disks, floppy disks, cell phones, and memory cards.
It also offers a password manager to add to the bundle!
This tool allows users to store all their passwords in one safe place for easy access.
There is no longer a need to memorize long-winded, complex passwords because each family member will only need to remember one master password. With this master password everyone can access all the individual passwords from his PC and devices.
Kaspersky knows how much people value their files, photos, and documents because they contain memories and vital information. With the online backup tool, you can back up your files so that you will never lose these irreplaceable memories.
This is very important in the fight against ransomware attacks.
This is another tool to keep your sensitive data from being accessed on Wi-Fi hot spots, the Internet, and public and private networks.
The secure VPN connection will be established by default to the nearest VPN server, so you can control which country you connect to. You can also use this VPN to access restricted sites that block access according to Geo location data.
If you're going to pick Kaspersky as your ultimate antivirus provider, then you will need the following:
PC users need Windows XP, Vista, or 7-10, an Intel Pentium processor at 1 GHz and faster, 1 GB of RAM (2 GB for a x64 system), and 800 MB of free disk space.
Android users will need version 4 or later.
Mac users need to have OS X 10.9 - 10.11 with 1.5 GB of RAM and about 1 GB of free disk space.
There is nothing special here and this hardware demand is common if you take Kaspersky 2017's excellent performance tests into account.
When you inspect an antivirus or anti-malware endpoint solutions, you have to look packages with the overall picture in mind in order to see if it is a complete and standalone protection suite.
Kaspersky has all the bells and whistles!
The only ones I would like to see in the next version are a real sandbox option and a separate section dedicated to ransomware protection.
This Kaspersky review focuses on the home user product which are more relevant to the end-user.
Kaspersky Lab offers different business packages for different categories of business, namely:
1. Businesses with 1 - 50 employees
2. Businesses with 51+ employees
3. Enterprises with 1000+ employees.
All of them have several antivirus software packages with endpoint security and features such as anti-spam, anti-phishing, malware protection, password manager, data backup, safe money technology, web controls, application and device controls, web console, file and disk encryption, and much more.
It all depends on the size and needs of the business to reach an informed decision about which product to go for.
The Business models of kaspersky products include:
The business products are built on Kaspersky Endpoint Security, which offers a multi-layered platform with several technologies to safeguard computers against unknown attacks and threats.
The platform is based on detection and remediation which includes malicious URL screening, ransomware blocking, and exploit protection.
My Kaspersky review focuses on the Windows version of Kaspersky Total Security 2017, and therefore I can’t come to conclusion about the performance/protection rates of the mobile version.
But on first impression, I like the feature list, and judging from the quality of the Windows version, I don't think you can go wrong with Kaspersky Mobile solutions.
The features of the mobile version:
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac offers proactive premium protection with its sophisticated technology that fends off hackers and prevents users' online activities from being tracked.
This product also includes kids' safety protection and the extra added security for online shopping and banking called Safe Money technology.
Other attributes included in this product are security management and access support, automatic updates, and software that prevents the Mac from spreading PC and Android malware.
Kaspersky Lab offers its users 30-day fully-functional free trials for home, small business, and large enterprise products.
Kaspersky also operates on a 30-day money-back policy, so you can make your final decision about Kaspersky within 60 days.
Kaspersky Lab 2017 is a top choice in the world of antivirus protection; the same probably goes for the corporate world.
This reliable antivirus software company has been around for long and is aware of all the old and new tricks of the trade used by hackers and cyber criminals.
To put it simply, you will be able to sleep soundly at night if you are secured by Kaspersky!
You just need to free some time in order to use all the available features.
The product is strong, compressed, and easy to use with a trial option for those who want to test the waters out first.
Add to that the excellent protection and performance scores and you are surely on the road to safety!
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