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Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 Beta Free

11. March 2011

    Kaspersky Labs has just released their 2012 beta.  The biggest change is a brand new interface which the company has really made a lot of strides with.  The menus are clean and have a Norton (the previous interface benchmark) like feel to them.  All of the additional submenus are easily accessible via a sliding motion.  In addition to an updated interface, there is a new rootkit detection engine, updated cloud integration via the Kaspersky Security Network to classify trusted programs and hardened behavioral analysis, Digital Identity Protection via securing critical areas, and improved scanning performance.  The beta license key lasts for 3 months and is free.

    The installation of Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 Beta was relatively straightforward.  The download size was kind of large at 137 megabytes in size.  The installer did check for conflicting antivirus but automatically uninstalled them unlike competitors.  The installer required a restart to finish and didn’t run into any hiccups after that.  The test system seemed mildly affected after the installation and took approximately 30 more seconds than normal to boot.  The program installs a desktop widget even though they globally are disabled.  The widget displays the status, settings, and reports.   The updater has a slight compatibility problem and caused background windows to crash until the update was complete.

    Kaspersky 2012 Beta offers three scanning options the Full, Critical Areas, Custom Scans (simply drag an item into it),  and the Vulnerability scans.  The scan just starts in the main window, if one wants to see the status of the scan or other background tasks simply click the Kaspersky Task Manager.  What’s interesting is the virus scanner started on the non primary and non O/S  partition first (D: Drive),  which I think is kind of counterintuitive.   The scanner scans at approximately 8 to 16 megabytes per second (peaking at 36 megabytes which is the hard drive maximum) which is incredibly fast.  The scanner also has excellent multicore efficiency and even effectively uses the hyperthreading cores (i.e. if the system has the performance it will utilize it).   The scanner didn't detect any viruses on the test system but did have tooltip alerts for password protected archives.  Kaspersky 2012 Beta scanned approximately 100,000 files within 15 minutes.  This performance is way faster than the average free antivirus that runs at approximately 5 to 6 megabytes per second.   The scanner didn’t detect any viruses or false positives on the test system.  What’s nice is that the program stores in memory where a full scan left off so one doesn’t need to start it over and over again.

    Kaspersky 2012 Beta has a ton of features.  The Applications Activity is similar to Norton Insight in that it classifies all programs as trusted or not and displays the popularity.  However, one can really drill down and apply a firewall like rule to any application as far as its effects on operating system, system services, and more.  The application run sequence shows exactly when the program started and, who, what, when, where questions.  The Digital Identity Protection is as far as I know a first for Kaspersky 2012 Beta.  Rather than just detecting if a user defined password string has left the system, Kaspersky has predefined locations where identity (passwords etc) are being stored (within the registry etc.) and protects them for Windows and applications.   For example, for Opera it protects wand.dat which stores predefined passwords and Skype's Account and History.  This way a Trojan cannot lift data from a user's computer.  There is a new feature called safe run for websites which puts a green frame around the desired web browser which I believe sandboxes it.  This is amazing because on doesn’t have to use a dedicated security browser.   There is also a security toolbar installed for IE, Firefox, and even Chrome which gives easy access to the virtual keyboard and phishing protection.   The firewall has predefined rules and packet rules too.  Firewall rules are classified as trusted, low and high restricted, and un trusted automatically.  One can also create custom rules.

    There are literally hundreds of settings for one to customize in Kaspersky 2012 Beta.  I would bore one just going through them all.   The most intriguing are the battery saving mode (disables schedule scans), a gaming profile, self defense to prevent antivirus files from being tampered with, I-M antivirus, and a Network attack blocker.  I have included a screenshot with all the settings menus.

    Resource usage is slightly above average on the test system.  While idle, the program used approximately 67 megabytes of RAM.  During scanning, the program used about 170 megabytes of RAM and 15 to 20 (peaking at 50) percent CPU power.  These numbers are higher than the average free antivirus but given the speed of scanning and the amount of features, acceptable.