The latest Kaspersky Internet Security brings in a new layout, fit for any sort of user. It features comprehensive protection on all fronts and carries a bag of tools designed for optimizing your PC’s performance.
It comes at a price of $59.95 (€45) and despite being a protection suite installation is a breeze, as it runs pretty quick and no system restart is required upon completion.
The new design no longer features tabs running down in the left part of the interface, but a strip of buttons at the bottom you can scroll through from one side to another. This can be enlarged to cover the entire application window, thus offering a better view at the modules available.
There are 3 types of scans you can choose from to check for threats on the entire computer, only the startup items, or you can opt for vulnerability scan, which verifies if installed applications and the system are susceptible to malicious attacks.
On-demand scan is still possible, and you start it in two ways: either from the context menu of a file or by simply dropping the items in a small section in the Scan menu.
Everything is so easy to use that not even a beginner user should have problems handling the tasks. However, things are not so good once the scan process starts. During our tests on a batch of 304 threats we experienced high scan times and plenty of stress on the CPU.
Simply scanning the files with Kaspersky did not increase usage of system resources too much, but cleaning the threats caused the CPU to rise above 80% and would keep it that way most of the time.
On the upside, after the cleaning, only 20 pieces of malware survived on our computer, setting the efficiency of the engine to 93.4%. This number was reduced to 16 when we launched the malicious code, as it was picked up by the behavioral analysis component, thus increasing the detection rate to 94.7%.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012’s parental control module is very versatile, allowing you to set up restrictions for application usage, Internet usage, allowed web content or type of files that can be downloaded (music, video, application and archive). Also, you can instruct it to block instant messaging conversations with specific contacts.
Moreover, the social networking component should enable control over contacts that can be engaged in a conversation and those the user can receive messages from. All messages should be logged and contact names recorded. Then they are automatically added to the list. Unfortunately we could not test this component because the list is generated only when Kaspersky gathers sufficient data about social network usage.
Virtualization (sandboxing) for safe running of shady applications or secure browsing is also present in the suite. “Safe Run” component basically isolates the actions from the real system, keeping them contained in a virtual environment.
Isolation mode allows you to safely install programs whose reputation you are not entirely certain of. All the threats detected in the virtual desktop are quarantined and can be restored later to the original location.
Safe run option can also work per each application. This means that you do not have to initiate desktop virtualization to install or manage it. The context menu of the file encases the option to start it in a “safe mode”, isolated from the host.
The same technology is used for running websites and you can choose the browser you want to run in virtual mode, otherwise Kaspersky will automatically pick the default one. This is particularly useful for online financial transactions.
The firewall in Kaspersky Internet Security lets you impose restrictions to any of the applications installed on the system. There is the possibility to move entries to one of the predefined groups available in the suite (trusted, low restricted, high restricted or untrusted), which are based on information from the Kaspersky Security Network.
But there is also the possibility to customize what they are allowed to do. This includes modification of files and the registry, access to other processes or network activity. There are plenty of knobs you can turn, and although navigation through the options is easy, understanding them requires above average computer knowledge.
On the upside, automatically separating the processes into different levels of trust results in fewer pop ups requiring the user to make a decision. During our tests we were very rarely asked to classify a process.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 brings in some security elements for the browser, too. It installs an URL advisor, which integrates with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Once enabled, it can check all URLs you navigate to or just the search results in Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Labeling web links as safe or shady is not done as a result of active scanning, but of a comparison with a list of suspicious URLs developed and maintained by Kaspersky.
Kaspersky Internet Security has turned into an automatic protection tool. Everything is now simplified so that even a beginner can work with the suite without too much trouble. At the same time it still reserves some areas to expert users who want more granular control over a security layer or another. The Good
The changes in the interface make it more user-friendly. It brings in an improved set of security layers that are easier to manage than ever. Its sandboxing capabilities are designed not only for running applications, but also for opening web browsers in a safe environment as well as virtualizing the entire desktop.
You get information about all processes straight from the Kaspersky cloud, which also ensures immediate reaction in case of new threats. During our on-demand tests it recorded a great detection and elimination score. The Bad
System resources during on-demand tests were pretty high for our test system (Dual Core at 2GHz, 3GB RAM). Anti-phishing efficiency was below the detection capabilities of a regular web browser. The Truth
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is a hefty suite that maintains its high standards for computer protection. It adapts to the new threats and manages to react quickly even in the case of threats not yet labeled.
There are few minuses to take into consideration, but overall it can successfully disinfect a system and keep new threats at bay.