Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 Review

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$79.95
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Easy installation process; Clean user interface; Excellent virus and malware scanning; Useful parental controls

The Cons

No online data backup; No file encryption or shredding features

Verdict

Kaspersky's Internet Security 2012 is an easy-to-use security suite that detects a host of threats and includes comprehensive parental control software.

Kaspersky has been making a name for itself in recent years by offering some of the best security software around. It's well known in tech-savvy circles for providing users with a bevy of customization options. But Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 casts a wider net, thanks to a revamped interface. This $79.99 suite protects against viruses, provides peace of mind when you're banking and shopping online, and offers robust parental controls. Read on to see how Kaspersky's latest suite compares to other big names in security.

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Setup and Interface

Kaspersky's Internet Security 2012 provides users with one of the easiest setup processes around. After downloading the software, all we had to do was enter our product activation code, and the program took care of the rest. In total, it took less than five minutes to install Internet Security, roughly the same amount of time it took to install Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2012.

For its 2012 edition, Kaspersky completely overhauled Internet Security's user interface. Instead of the previous version's protection status indicator circle and categories list on the left side of the page, the 2012 edition features a large computer screen icon that prominently displays your system's risk level based on a color-coded system (green is good, red is bad) along with a banner that tells you if your computer is protected or not.

Below the banner you'll find information about the types of threats your computer faces, what components are protected, if your definition database is up to date, and how many more days you have until your license expires. Scanning options, a network monitor, tools, parental controls, and the software update feature are all clearly marked and found at the bottom of Internet Security's home screen.

Kaspersky also revamped its desktop widget for 2012. Located in the top right corner of the screen, the widget, which is shaped like a desktop computer, gives you quick access to Internet Security's software options, system reports, and software updates. Like the software's home screen, the widget changes colors depending on your system's level of protection.

From top to bottom, Kaspersky offers a slew of settings and options for users who are looking for the ability to customize their software on a granular level. At the same time, users looking for a simple approach can just select a full scan and let the program run in the background. For the most part, you'll never even notice it's there.

Security Features

It took 24 minutes for Kaspersky to complete a full system scan and another 8 minutes to complete a dedicated root kit scan. A subsequent rescan took 12 minutes to complete, slightly longer than McAfee's rescan time of 5 minutes. But unlike when we ran McAfee's Total Protection 2012, our system didn't show any signs of slowdown while running the full Kaspersky scan. In fact, throughout the scan, our CPU usage remained relatively low (around 10 to 30 percent). It only reached 100 percent when the software was scanning our documents and settings folders--and only then for a second. That's comparable to the performance turned in by Bitdefender's suite.

For users worried about Internet Security interrupting their gaming sessions, Kaspersky has again included its gaming profile feature. When active, it will automatically disable updates and scheduled scans and halt automatic actions on detected threats when you are running a game in full-screen mode.

Internet Security 2012 also features Kaspersky's Cloud Protection, which uses Kaspersky Security Network to report any new security threats found on registered users' machines to Kaspersky's labs, where the company analyzes the threats and issues real-time updates addressing.

Once the software is installed, Internet Security's Applications Activity feature began automatically detecting our most frequently used applications and rated them based on whether they could be trusted or if they were a risk to our system. The breakdown was very comprehensive and allowed us to view apps that were actively running or had run recently. The feature also provided the date that the application was last accessed, the percentage of your CPU an application was using, and the app's popularity. You can also configure how an application interacts with your system by selecting and clicking on the Configure Rules tab at the top of the screen.

In addition to Applications Activity, Internet Security runs Network Monitor, which populates a list of all active network connections established on your computer. From here we were able to view the name of the process that initiated a connection, the connection duration, and the amount of data that was transferred or received between our system and the network.

Performance

Kaspersky's 2012 offering performed exceptionally well in AV-Test's independent testing. It managed a malware detection rate of 99.4 percent, where the average rate is 98.5 percent. Kaspersky's score is better than Norton Internet Security 2012 (98.94 percent), but a hair lower than Bitdefender Total Security 2012 (99.53 percent).

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 also caught an average of 94.6 percent of all new malware attacks from websites and through e-mail, which is far better than the average attack-blocking rate of 80.5 percent, but still lower than the 100-percent detection rates posted by Bitdefender and Norton Internet Security. What's more, the software passed the AV-Test's false positive test (false detections of legitimate software) with flying colors. None of the 300,000 clean samples scanned were picked up by Internet Security 2012 as a piece of malicious software.

Parental Controls

Kaspersky's top-notch parental controls let us manage computer, Internet, and application usage, as well as web browsing, file downloading, instant messaging, social networking, and private data and word usage. We were able to set at what times and for how long children could access our PC or the web.

The application usage and web browsing settings give you the ability to list specific applications and websites you don't want your children visiting, while the file downloading setting lets you set the type of files your kids are able to download. The instant messaging and social networking features help you control who can contact your child through services such as AOL Instant Messenger and Facebook. Most interesting of all, however, is Internet Security's private data and word usage settings, which allow you to set what words and private data your child can use or send to other users.

Users can also access reports for each setting. The computer usage report, for example, will tell you the amount of time your child has used your PC over the course of the past day, week, month, year, or for as long as you've had Internet Security installed.

Rescue Disk and Privacy Cleaner

Like Kaspersky's Internet Security 2011, the 2012 edition does not include an online data backup feature. The company has again chosen to include its Kaspersky Rescue Disk creator, which helps you create a bootable CD or USB drive complete with a set of tools for detecting and eliminating infection. The software also includes a Microsoft Windows Troubleshooting feature that searches your computer for damaged or irregular settings caused by malware or system failures. The feature could be useful should you run into some particularly nasty bugs, but online data backup is still necessary if you need to restore your system to its factory state.

The software also includes Kaspersky's Privacy Cleaner Wizard, which erases traces of recent commands and accessed files as well as cookies, caches, logs, and other data. Unfortunately, Internet Security does not include data encryption or a file shredder. To get those features, you'll have to shell out a few extra dollars and purchase Kaspersky's Pure security suite for $89.95.

Verdict

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is relatively high on price, but it more than makes up for it with a great set of features. We liked the software's ease of use for basic users, and advanced users will appreciate the abundance of settings available. Most important, we were very impressed with the program's detection abilities. If you want automatic data backup, encryption, and a built-in file shredder, you're better off investing in Kaspersky's top-of-the-line Pure suite. But if you're looking for security software that will keep your computer safe without eating up all of its processing power, Kaspersky's Internet Security 2012 is a solid choice.

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Author Bio
Dan Howley
Dan Howley, Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media's Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Dan Howley, Senior Writer on
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Software Type Security
Platforms Windows
Required Processor 800 MHz or higher (XP), 1 GHz 32-bit /64-bit or higher (Vista, 7)
Software Required OS: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Microsoft Windows Installer 2.0, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Required RAM 512MB (XP), 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit)
Disk Space 480MB
Company Website http://www.kaspersky.com