Review: Kaspersky Internet Security 2012

June 13, 2011 – 16:22 by in Reviews Print Share 8 Comments
Overview
Manufacturer: Kaspersky
Price (RRP): $59.95/£39.99
Best Price: $39.95/£29.99
Platforms: Windows XP, Vista, 7, both 32 and 64-bit editions
Requirements: 480MB free hard drive space
Softwarecrew Rating:
 
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If you like your security suites to be feature-rich then Kaspersky’s offerings have always been worth a look, as most editions come packed with functionality that you won’t find elsewhere.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (KIS 2012) is a little quieter than usual, though; its release notes show no big additions this time around, just interface tweaks and various engine optimisations. So what does this mean in real life? We took a closer look.

The program started well with a hassle-free installation – we weren’t even forced to reboot – and after a click or two we got our first look at that revamped interface. This is clean and clear, displaying all the key information you need at a glance – protection status, database update details, licence validity and more – while the suite’s many functions are accessible via a scrolling toolbar.

It’s all very straightforward and unintimidating, and even PC novices will quickly be running their first scan. By default the program also launches scans when your system is idle. And you can alternatively schedule unattended scans to run whenever you like, though this is trickier to organise (we had to check the Help file to discover the secret).

However you launch the antivirus engine, you should find it does a good job of detecting and removing malware. Independent testing labs AV Comparatives recently awarded the 2011 engine their highest “Advanced +” rating, and this version had no problem finding and eliminating our test samples.

Scan speeds were less impressive, with KIS 2012 proving only average on our test PC. Resource use was reasonable, though, at around 80MB RAM and around 2% CPU utilisation when scanning, and the program had only minimal effect on our PC’s boot and application launch times, so on balance the antivirus engine gets a thumbs up from us.

Automatic protection

Setting up your preferred configuration of virus scans and settings can take a little while, but the good news is that once you’ve finished, most of the other protective features on offer here require no intervention whatsoever.

The firewall, for instance, manages to allow trustworthy programs online, and block everything else, without drowning you in annoying alerts. If you need more control then it’s possible to define exactly what your programs can do in great detail, from allowing online access to managing services, installing drivers or writing Registry keys, but there’s no need to touch any of that – the firewall works perfectly well all on its own.

Built-in browsing protection sees KIS 2012 run real-time checks on the URLs you try to visit, analysing them for malware and phishing scams. This was a weak area in the 2011 edition, but Kaspersky say the technology has been significantly improved, and sure enough our tests showed the same (though it’s still only a little more effective than using IE or Firefox alone).

Meanwhile real-time protection sees all files scanned when accessed or downloaded. An instant messaging module checks file transfers in all the main clients, and the Network Attack Blocker looks out for and blocks suspect network activity.

The antispam filter didn’t work quite as well for us, letting through around 40% of our test junk mails. It didn’t block a single legitimate message, though, which is a plus. And if you don’t mind a little manual intervention then it could really pay off here: the filter provides a host of configuration settings which allow you to fine-tune how it works.

Comprehensive

If the automated protection isn’t quite enough for you then you could always explore KIS 2012′s menus for additional functions – there are plenty on offer.

The suite’s above-average parental controls module allows you to restrict computer, application and internet use, for instance. You’re able to control web browsing, downloads, instant messaging and even social network contacts; there are options to prevent the sharing of data like addresses or phone numbers; and detailed reports keep you up-to-date with what’s going on.

Sandboxing technology allows you to run your browser, or applications in an isolated environment which prevents any malware you might encounter from infecting your real system.

KIS 2012 is also able to scan for a host of security issues, from vulnerable applications, to poorly chosen IE security options or Windows configuration settings. Sounds great, but the latter two options in particular have a problem.

The program would regularly report that something was wrong with a setting: our “service termination timeout” was “out of admissible values”, say, or our “protocol prefixes were modified”. But it never explained what the current setting was, or what it thinks the setting should be: you just have to trust it, click “Fix” and hope for the best. If you’re not so technical you’ll appreciate the simplicity, but experienced users will probably find this frustrating.

Still, there are plenty of other interesting tools to play with by way of compensation. So the network monitor provides a detailed view on what’s tying up all your network traffic; the virtual keyboard allows you to safely enter logons, credit card numbers and other sensitive data, bypassing keyloggers; the privacy cleaner clears your Windows and IE activity traces (though no other browsers, unfortunately); and an improved gadget makes it easier than ever to control all this power from your own desktop.

We noticed a few irritations here, then, but they are quickly outweighed by everything that Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 gets right. And so if you’re looking for a security suite which offers more than most of the competition then this could be a very good choice.

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Verdict:
Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is a powerful security suite, packed with features, yet with less of a performance impact than the previous edition, and easier to use than ever. A good choice for both novice and expert PC users.
We Like:
Accurate antivirus detection, intelligent firewall, powerful parental controls, useful sandboxing tools, detailed network monitor, in-depth application controls, loads of features, very configurable, generally easy to use
We Don't Like:
Scanning speeds only average, antiphishing has improved but is still basic, spam filter similarly still needs work, Windows/ IE configuration advice is short on details
Softwarecrew Rating:
 

8 Comments »

  • deadfred says:

    Now this is an excellent version of the Internet Security Suite by Kaspersky.
    This first version is fully functional and, patched to version (a) automatically, it has improved upon the previous stable release 11.0.2.556 immeasurably.
    Whereas the initial releases of KIS 2011 were flawed but ultimately corrected, this first release of the 2012 version is without obvious fault.
    I have it running on a modern Quad core machine but also on a Pentium 4 socket 478 machine with 1GB of memory and I have noticed a very noticeable increase in the responsiveness of this older machine.
    Safe run for websites and applications is an innovative feature which few competitors can match and a feature whereby unchanged and previously analysed files can be excluded results in quite fast scans, I think. It has sophisticated tools for analysis, a ‘cloud’ feature to widen the scope of the detection database and the widely admired Anti-virus engine that has made Kaspersky’s reputation. Allied with a very lean performance footprint, this is a great piece of software in my opinion.

  • i like to used kaspersky because its lightweight (version 2012) and also cheap. = )

  • Gum Nutzs says:

    Another site review has reported significant boot and shutdown times using KIS 2012. I have KIS 2011 version 11.0.2.556 installed and I am unsure as to whether to upgrade to the newer version, especially if boot/shutdown times are an issue. I have a quad 4 intel i5 computer, running Win 7 Pro. I particularly like KIS 2011, but I have found it to be heavy on resources, especially their earlier flavor of the software. When I installed the newer stable version of KIS 2011 things got better, but their is still a heavy drain on the computer when scanning and (sometimes) when updates are being downloaded to my computer. Should I stick with it or turf it altogether? Are there other alternatives which could be considered? Open to suggestions, even if free alternatives are a solution.

  • Shashank Brahmavar says:

    Gum Nutzs,

    KIS 2012 is ver, very light on resources! my comp is very similar to urs in terms of specs! i have had no delays in shutdown and boot times! i highly reccomend this product!

  • christian says:

    actually i like to download kaspersky but is it really true that kaspersky eat lots of memory that may slow down my computer? and also. is it true that kaspersky dont scan when on battery?. help guys. need feedback

  • MarkO says:

    Hi Christian,

    Desktop: KIS 2012
    Laptop: NIS 2012

    KIS 2012 have better protection than NIS 2012 but it does consumed more memory and cpu cycles. NIS 2012 is best used for notebook, it’s currently the lightest suite and provide overall good protection and removal as well. My preference will go to Kaspersky for desktop, it’s more reliable than Norton since Norton’s main strength depends on the cloud.

    Thanks

  • Richard says:

    I purchased Kaspersky through their online store (digital river). It automatically subscribed me to anual renewals without asking me. Their method to cancel that, so far, doesn’t work. It appears it’s going to cost me a lot of time to cancel the renewals, and so I will cancel the purchase as well. I should be asked first, and it should not cost me an hour of time to unsubscribe to something I didn’t request.

  • rover3500 says:

    Kapersky IS used to be very slow,took apps a few secs to launch,that was a few years ago and i stopped using it.
    I used 2011 and 2012 since and it is much better on resources than it used to be,apps load much quicker and is lighter overall.
    Is a very good IS,if you need all that protection that is…it depends what u use your pc for.