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Lunch » Tags » Software » Reviews » Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 » User review

Lab Tests Say "Yes", I Say "It's Got Issues."

  • Jul 15, 2009
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This is important: just because someone uses an anti-virus program and hasn't gotten a virus, doesn't make the program great. I don't use an anti-virus program at all on my netbook and have yet to get a virus; user behavior is the BIGGEST issue in preventing infection. Also, an individual user's experience in this regard is irrelevant when compared to labs that purposely attempt to infect computers, so for actual effectiveness I'd defer to independent laboratories. Which means that for me, assuming it's an effective program, I care about feature sets, low memory footprint, ease of use, etc. And on that, I give Kaspersky a mixed review.

MY COMPUTER SPECS & INSTALLATION: First of all, I installed KAV on a computer running Vista SP2, with a quad core chip (Q8200) with 4 GB of RAM. Installation went smoothly, though the instructions said to remove or turn off Windows Firewall; stupid, because this product does NOT have a firewall program - only the full Kaspersky Internet Suite does, so removing the Windows Firewall would be unwise. Otherwise, installation went fine, as did registration. After install I performed a full scan of my computer.

SCAN RESULTS AND REPORTS: Interesting here: I received a warning about two .dll files that are a part of Google Gears, along with a URL that explains how/why the files might be vulnerable. Not that they were part of a virus, but that they could be exploited. I appreciated that, though the URL it gave me couldn't be clicked on to open it, which was pretty silly. Other scan results can be viewed by category, which is nice, and all functions the program performs, as well as all changes you make to it (for example, turning on or off phishing), are recorded. Or seem to be.... (see below)

GENERAL USE: Here's where I've found issues. For the purpose of this review, I started with the scan settings on "recommended" which is sort of the "look at every page, every file, every url all the time" setting. When browsing, I did notice a slight slowdown in page loads, but it was not oppressive. Memory usage was fine, as was CPU usage, but remember I have a fairly fast machine with plenty of RAM. The odd thing was this: when I would download a file, either a .zip or .exe file, there was no indication that I could find that it had been automatically scanned. No records whatsoever. Even when clicking on an .exe file that I had downloaded, I STILL had no idea of whether or not Kaspersky had scanned it. So I tried more aggressive settings, and still could find no record of the scans.

Next, I tried right-clicking the file to run a manual scan from the context menu, which worked, and for which there WAS a record of the scan. So I was left to believe that they were not automatically scanned on download or first-run; perhaps it was because there was an algorithm that said the program was alright, perhaps not - but the point is I had no idea if they were or weren't (scanned that is). And for me, information is king, so that's not great.

And that uncovered a major problem: at least half the time that I would right-click and attempt a scan of a file, I'd get an error message that said Windows Explorer (I'm NOT talking about IE here folks, but Windows Explorer) had encountered an error, and did I want to restart it - which would cause a restart of Explorer (the toolbar and windows disappear for a moment, then restart) and of course the file wouldn't be scanned. Now, as I said before, user behavior is a critical factor in whether or not you get a virus. Since I generally engage in "safe-computing", I use Anti Virus programs to scan what I want when I want - so this bug is a killer for me.

Another point of interest: USB drives. Kaspersky, like most anti-virus programs, does not auto-scan USB drives when they are plugged in. Obviously since this is pretty standard behavior I'm not counting this as a negative, but it's a point you should know. However, when I attempted to open files on a new USB drive that *could* have been infected, no scan was performed then either - is that good or bad? You decide, but it would require at LEAST doing a manual scan, which as I said, crashes Windows Explorer on my computer about half the time.

Finally, one more oddity: when I look at the reports screen, there are literally thousands of notices that say the following:

Denied Host Process for Windows Services Open C:\Program Files\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009\avp.exe

It appears that KAV is denying svchost from examining the KAV executable (or something to that effect); you can google it if you want to learn more. But it's odd behavior, and as I said it occurred thousands of times a day during my testing. Even setting svchost to be a "safe" application did not get rid of the behavior. The reasons behind it may be sound, I don't know - but it's something that I wanted to report to folks before they buy the program.

SUMMING UP: I'm giving KAV three stars. Why? Because by all independent lab tests that I've found, it seems to do what it is supposed to do as far as finding attacks. But for me, it's coming off the computer. The crash that happens on manual scans, the lack of clarity about what is and isn't happening, the odd behavior I just described - all too much for me, and exactly what I don't personally want in an A/V program.

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review by . June 17, 2009
The Good:    *Sea of features that go beyond your regular anti-virus program.  *Very light on the system's resources.  *Speeds up your Internet Explorer launch time.  *Simple User Interface in easy-to-understand language.      The Bad:    *The program seems to temporarily freeze at times without a warning when you request to generate a report, but it doesn't crash and returns to normal within a minute.  &nb …
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Bradford Schmidt ()
Ranked #375
My background is in the arts; I designed and ran a television station in the 80's, was a record producer and independent engineer in the late 80's and early 90's, then formed one of the first online advertising … more
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Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 protects computers and laptops from viruses and other malicious programs.With a new super-fast and efficient anti-virus engine Kaspersky Anti-Virus raises the bar for traditionalanti-virus protection from all types of malicious programs. You can be confident that your computer and your confidential information are safe as you work and surf the Internet.Essential Protection Protects from viruses Trojans and worms. Blocks spyware and adware. Scans flies email messages and Internet traffic. Protects Instant messengers (ICQ MSN). Improved! Provides proactive protection from new and unknown threats. Improved! Preventative Protection Scans the system and applications fur vulnerabilities. New! Analyzes and closes Internet Explorer vulnerabilities. New! Disables links to malware sites. New! Global threat monitoring (Kaspersky Security Network). New! Advanced Protection & Recovery Can be installed on infected computers. Self-protection from being disabled or stopped. Restores correct system settings after removing malicious software. New! Tools fur creating a rescue disk. Data and Identity Theft Protection Disables links to phishing web sites. Improved! Blocks all types of keyloggers. Usability Automatic configuration during installation. Improved! Wizards for common tasks. New! Visual reports with charts and diagrams. New! Automatic or expert user modes. New! Automatic database updates. System Requirements:Microsoft Windows XP Home/Professional ...
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