Many people now use an Internet Security Suite rather than just a standard anti-virus nowadays, as this offers extra layers of protection against all sorts of other threats. Kaspersky have released “Kaspersky Internet Security 7”, which builds upon their successful anti-virus engine and combines it with the following features:
This suite of tools will provide the average user with excellent protection against a wide range of computer security threats, much more so than an out of the box system. There are however, plenty of alternative products (at cost or free) which claim to do the same job. It should be expected that a good security package will not only provide good threat protection, but also work in the background with a minimum of use of system resources. This stops the system from slowing down and being considered bloated.
- Personal Firewall
- Intrusion Detection
- Privacy Controls
- Parental Controls
- E-Mail Anti-Spam
Kaspersky Internet Security Main Window
With over a year’s experience of KIS7, every feature of the software has been tested in general computing usage. The Kaspersky firewall takes over the default Vista firewall to provide a much more powerful level of protection when used in training mode. This allows you to allow/deny access to individual applications and ports each time they try to access a network/internet resource. For example, there have been several offline applications requesting internet access for seemingly no reason. These can be blocked and investigated with a few clicks to see if it is a legitimate request.
If you load a new application on your PC that requires internet access, a popup alert will be displayed in the bottom-right hand corner which allows you to choose the access permissions. In this example, an FTP application has been installed and tried to perform a DNS service call (which can be allowed, and remembered for future instances):
If you are an advanced computer user, the chances are that you will make use of the firewall training features and feel more secure in the knowledge you can control the flow of information to/from your PC.
Anti Virus Performance
During testing, the anti-virus application has stopped a number of possible virus infections at the point of source. Most common are e-mail’s with virus attachments, which are stopped just before being downloaded to your inbox. When a virus like this is detect, a popup will appear which allows you to Quarantine, Delete, Skip (and in some cases, disinfect):
In most cases, the sensible thing to do would be to delete the file right away. Viruses detected in a file on your PC will be dealt with in a similar manor:
Measuring the overall effectiveness of the anti-virus engine is far beyond the scope of the article, and requires very detailed testing to gain an accurate result. However, a website called AV-Comparatives tested many of the big anti-virus packages in February 2008 and certified the Kaspersky engine as “Advanced+” (the highest rating). The results were amongst some of the highest tested, which gives some indication that the anti-virus capabilities are excellent.
To view the test results, visit this URL :
The anti-virus engine is proactive and constantly works in the background, which means that any virus threat should be picked up immediately and not just during a full scan. This is critical for avoiding an infection, as there is little point in only cleaning up a virus once it has already taken hold.
The proactive defence tool is an excellent addition to the security suite, as it constantly monitors how software runs and notifies you of any unusual behaviour. For example, if an application tries to add an object to the startup list you will be alerted and given the choice to block the action. Likewise, if an application filesize changes unexpectedly you will also be notified so you can investigate.
The anti-spam filter is a much needed tool for many e-mail users, and is comparable in function to many competitors, allowing you to check mail before it is fully downloaded if you wish. All of the usual tools such as whitelisting, blacklisting, spam training are included. The performance of the spam filter does lack the accuracy of many other commercial tools, and of most concern was the number of valid e-mails that were marked as spam. Although most spam was blocked, the number of false positives means that the filters could do with some tweaking and would not be recommended for an important e-mail account.
The parental control is basic, but it does a reasonable job of protecting some users (i.e. children) of visiting inappropriate sites. You can choose from several pre-set levels and optionally block sites such as web-based e-mail and chat. These actions are all logged, and can be viewed by the master user. Although basic, it will still be of use – however I expect Kaspersky to improve this feature in future versions.
Performance and Conclusion
One of the biggest concerns when installing a security suite is that your PC will be slowed down to a crawl with the real-time scanning. Fortunately, KIS7 uses fewer resources than some competitors and does not hugely affect the system performance. Undoubtedly, enabling the maximum level of protection in all features will slow the system somewhat, but a sensible level of protection provides very good performance. Any modern system should be able to run KIS without a hitch.
When “maximum compatibility” mode was selected for the Firewall, some network slowness was noticed – to such an extent that it was easily noticeable when transferring large files. Adjusting the filtration level to “high speed” resulted in transfer rates at greatly improved speeds.
The interface is easy to use and a beginner wouldn’t find it difficult to adjust settings to his or her tastes. Power users will also be pleased that the level of customisation allows anything from a hands-off approach to a high level of information presented.
Overall, Kaspersky Internet Security 7 is a very capable security suite which would be recommended for a wide range of users. The firewall and anti-virus are excellent, however if you strongly rely on a need for parental controls or anti-spam filter then you may somewhat disappointed. Considering the low price and performance of the main components, KIS7 is a great value package that provides high-end threat detection.