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Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

This may not be a suitable subject for debate, but here goes anyway. For a few years now, my bank has supplied me, free, with Kaspersky antivirus, rated by others as being top-notch in the arena of security apps. Now, all of a sudden, Kaspersky has been accused by our current administration that it is linked with Putin and his do-gooders, and the government has put a warning across the use of that antivirus software. There must be others who, like me, use Kaspersky and are wondering if it's still safe to use. Should I be concerned? My bank has not said a word on any possible solution to this problem. What do you think? If it's not safe, what would be a good free alternative to Kaspersky?

--Submitted by Lenny L.

To all participants: please be considerate to others and keep this discussion civil. Thank you!

Post was last edited on January 19, 2018 4:12 PM PST

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Yes, absolutely safe.

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I switched to Kaspersky Antivirus, when it was first offered in the UK, where I then lived. I upgraded to the full internet suite when the licence for my existing firewall expired. I now have three machines with Total Security and two with Internet Security and have no qualms about any possible links to government agencies. Eugene has said if the Russian government tried to intervene, he would relocate overseas.

I've met Eugene and some of his team at a couple of security seminars and judge them to be people of high integrity and competence, demonstrated by the fact I have never had any malware getting through to any of my machines since I started using their products. The hourly check for updates is the best in the business, I believe.

Your bank is still happy with Kaspersky products, that would be good enough for me. I'm interested that you asked for a free recommendation, should you decide to jump ship, since Kaspersky is not free (your bank supplies it for free but ultimately, who pays your bank's business expenses?). A review this month, here in Australia of most of the AV suites in one of the major magazines rated Bitdefender and Kaspersky on a par as the best functionality and Avast as the best free alternative, for what it's worth. It looked like a thorough study to me.

Could Kaspersky be hacked? It's software and ANY software can be hacked, given enough resources. I won't go into the circumstances of the US government decision to discontinue using Kaspersky, it is beyond the scope of this discussion, except to say that I believe they are wrong.

My personal opinion, others may differ.

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Re Yes, Absolutely Safe

In reply to: Yes, absolutely safe.

With the greatest respect, you've had no malware getting through to your machines AS FAR AS YOU KNOW. I'm no expert but I feel absolutely certain that no software or hardware can be described as absolutely safe. Nor, I believe, will they ever be absolutely safe. So I guess the only strategies that can be used to prepare for the worst are:

1. Thorough technical due diligence when making recruitment and IT security decisions.

Not only have I always perceived Kaspersky as a risk I would rather not take, but I also fear that Russia and rogue states and criminal interests around the world would not find it too difficult to place IT saboteurs as employees with Kaspersky and its competitors around the world.

2. Mitigation of the consequences of successful malware by designing disaster recovery solutions to deal with worst case scenarios in all walks of life - whether directly or indirectly dependent on computer systems.

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For the time being, No.

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

Given recent events with the US government and Kaspersky Labs and the move to ban the use of Kaspersky software in US. I'd say at this point anything else is better than something that might stop running at any point.

You can Avast + Malwarebytes (Both r free) which can cover almost everything. Or buy ESET.

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Still works for me

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I've been in I.T. for 28 years and have utilized and tested many security products over the years. I've been using Kaspersky Internet Security on my primary systems for several years now and have found it to be one of the best I have ever run. Being a tech, I'm fortunate to have several systems running at any time, so I am able to run different security products on a couple of my lab systems for comparison. In that regard, I have found Kaspersky and Bitdefender currently to offer the best protection, with the least problems otherwise. I recently read a review from PcMag comparing products where they still rate Kaspersky high, and have a disclaimer basically saying that until the accusations are actually proven, they will continue to rate it as such. Many, in the I.T. community still regard Kaspersky as one of the best, with no concerns over hacking. Personally, I'll trust the opinion of my fellow I.T. people before I trust any propaganda from the government or it's news outlets. (Still with no actual, verifiable proof). What many do not know, is that many of the better security software out there are from various foreign countries. Many jumped on the paranoia bandwagon, but ignored the spying that the NSA has done. Double standard ? Which foreign products should you trust?
If you ask enough I.T. people, you will get many different recommendations, some of which is just based on their own favorite, but also take into consideration special circumstances they may have regarding compatibility. Bottom line is if you are concerned, don't use it. Wikipedia has a comparison list of many of the anti virus products that list the country of origin along with other features. Read a few current reviews from reputable sources , then compare to the wiki list. Be cautious on reviews though as there are a lot of variables on what is tested, which is why I say read a few reviews.
Questions about security software are probably the most asked, and have different answers for different people. Products change, what is good one year may not be good the next, and vice versa. My current suggestions are Kaspersky and Bitdefender as first choices, and for those that want a "U.S." product, I'll suggest Webroot. While these are my preferred choices, there are a few others that come in a very close second and would use as well. I also listen to what my customers tell me regarding their experiences with their installed software. As Zouch said, if your bank still trust it, then I'd be ok with that.
So, to answer your question regarding a free product, I would say Bitdefender as it offers great protection and is probably the least invasive with ads telling you to upgrade, etc. It also is very lightweight and does not hog a lot of system power as some do. Be aware though, that there is a big difference between "anti virus" and "internet security", as most of the free stuff is just "anti virus". The pay for internet security packages are quite inexpensive and worth the extra features.
Personally, if they spy on me, they'll get bored real fast and move on Happy
Good luck in your decision, hope this helps.

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Probably ...unless you are a Russian or Chinese target.

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I would not use it, but it is likely safe as long as your computer is not a target for the Russian governments. Frankly, the folks at Kapersky do a good job in general, but no matter what the will comply with Putins commands, or simply dissapear. The actual only way to fully trust the AV is not installing a back door into your computer is to have them release their source code, then you can view exactly what it is doing, then compile it yourself and install it. (Of course that can be said of any AV as well.)

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Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

The update is indeed disabled without a working license.

I still need to know if Kaspersky still monitors incoming threats (such as the example above) even if the license expired and the grey K icon presents on the taskbar.

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It Really Depends How You Feel

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

As I've said, many times before: if you want to be 100% completely safe, you need to cut ALL of the wires going into your computer, including the power cord, and remove any batteries. This Kaspersky stuff isn't NEW. Remember when IBM got out of the PC business and sold all of it to China/Lenovo? Yes, Lenovo is Chinese and, for a while, U.S. researchers found spyware put onto the list of bloatware by the Chinese government. Yes, it supposedly has been removed. It is similar to this Kaspersky thing. But first, you have to ask: "What are YOUR concerns?" Are you worried that the Russians will make changes to your Facebook account? Now, if you thought: "My Bank", that is a different issue. Most banks and credit cards will guarantee your accounts so, if you lose money in an online transaction, they will cover you (careful, not all financial institutions are the same and some don't/can't cover debit accounts). Then I'd say, go ahead.
If you really want to be private though, you need to think of other things. If you use Google, I would definitely recommend reading their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Many people are pretty shocked when they read stuff like that (at one point, Google said it owned all of your data but changed it to read that they don't own it but you have to give them the rights to do with it as they see fit. AND, it's not just Google! Some people didn't like it when Microsoft said the same exact things as Google. When you think of advertisements, I would never complain about nice ads being shown on a website or soon people will have to pay for every website they access. But, ads these days come from trackers (especially Google aka Doubleclick) that are gathering information about you. I've recently (yesterday) got the fake service center center malware aimed at me and Norton stopped it each time and that was from ads on Yahoo.

The reasons that the government may stop use of an a/v product consist of, targeted attacks against secure government computers (that is, national security vs. Facebook hacking). They put a stop on Lenovo for a bit as well.

My advice is this: when your concerns about security and privacy exceed that of ease-of-use, then take the necessary steps. I don't have FB or Twitter or Google accounts for that reason.

But, if you are concerned about the future, do a search for the Gartner Magic Quadrant for a/v software or read up on several testing sites. If there was a real nasty issue with Kaspersky, it wouldn't just be the government prohibiting their use.

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Other AV software??

In reply to: It Really Depends How You Feel

Interestingly, I have a VERY non-technical relative who has a computer purchased, with AV software, from Best Buy. She has had Kaspersky on her machine (at BB's recommendation) for the last 3-4 years. Just got a note from them that they have discontinued supporting/recommending Kaspersky, and are now strongly recommend switching -- to Trend Micro!!

Interesting, if nothing else!


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My Guess/Opinion

In reply to: Other AV software??

It "might" be related, but, in my opinion, it's probably more about MONEY than anything else. Maybe McAfee or, in this case, Trend Micro, is paying Best Buy more to pre-load their products. Of course there is the possibility that Best Buy sells desktop computers to the U.S. government which has banned Kaspersky on their computers. So, it could just be Best Buy not wanting to support different loads (one for the public and another for government purchases).
By the way, the way it worked at the local government where I worked was - MONEY. They wanted to pay BULK prices. If you are buying a/v products for over 100,000 computers, you get a substantial discount if you stick to ONE product (or, in our case, two). Then there is the Gartner Magic Quadrant that rates this stuff as well.

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Other AV software??

In reply to: It Really Depends How You Feel

I also had been using Kaspersky for the very same reason that where I purchased my last 3 computers (Best Buy) recommended using it. Each year I got a renewal notice and I happily renewed the product. This last year when it came time to renew I also receive an email telling me that Best Buy no longer would support Kaspersky. What I did was, I renewed my Kaspersky and put it on 2 computers. I recently purchased a new computer from Best Buy and it came with McAfee installed. I uninstalled it and downloaded Kaspersky. It wasn't because I had already paid for it and it was good for 3 computers, it was because I like it and I trust it. I'm just an average older woman who likes to be on the computer because I read all my news on it. I've never had a problem with Kaspersky and I like it. I'm not rich nor am I powerful and the Russians have no use for me. LOL, In short, I've never had a problem with it and I don't expect too. It's a solid program. IMHO

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It's a Personal Decision

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

To the members I've not read any of your comments so as not to influence what I write. So if some of my comments mirror yours it's purely coincidental.

Hi Lenny

Let ‘s get this out of the way up front…I don’t like Kaspersky because on every machine I’ve installed it experiences a significant slow down. For the record I’m not just a one time user. I’ve tried Kaspersky over the years always with the same results. I prefer Norton and Bitdefender. Nuf said on that.

As far as Kaspersky being safe to use in the context you are asking I’d say it presents no more risk than any other antivirus. All antivirus programs have your IP Address at the lowest level of possible intrusion. That’s how updates are pushed out on a regular basis. Having your IP Address is an open gateway to your personal stuff that with the right technical know-how can be exploited to your detriment. That said Norton and/or BitDefender could be considered a potential gateway for nefarious use (i.e. computer espionage/cybersecurity threat).

Kaspersky has long been a target of US government concern as indicated in the link below: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/350714-kaspersky-ceo-invited-to-testify-before-congress

You can read hundreds of articles on the subject of Kaspersky having possible ties to Russian Intelligence. The US government obviously has significant reason to believe that Kaspersky Antivirus software presents a potential threat to national security. You can call it “fake” news, government directed mis-information or whatever you want. In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary the US government use of Kaspersky will be nil and the warnings will continue. At this point it doesn’t matter whether Kaspersky is culpable by agreement or exploitation by the Russian government.

You also have to understand who is primarily affected by the US government warnings here are a few:
- Government Agencies
-Government Contractors and their subs (non-compliance may result in loss of contracts)
-Federal Reserve (which may affect your bank going forward)
-Homeland Security Agencies
- Any entity that has the potential to be privy to sensitive information either directly or indirectly

Do the Kaspersky US government warnings affect you as a private citizen and should you be concerned? IMO if the chances of you coming into contact with sensitive information is nil, I seriously doubt; even if true, Kaspersky is going to waste valuable resources targeting Joe Blow or Mary Sue.

The real question for you is “do you have enough information to make an informed decision…to use Kaspersky or not?”. To use an analogy….with the information you have it’s like voting for Candidate A or Candidate B and where does your moral compass lie.

Do you base your decision on what the US government suggests about Kaspersky or do you buy into the steps that Kaspersky has allegedly taken to bolster US consumer confidence in the Kaspersky brand. Click the links for more information:

Kaspersky Global Transparency Initiative

Kaspersky joins Data Privacy Day 2018

As for as your information being mined to name a few you might consider:
-All software that requires your email and/or uses your IP Address to deliver updates
-Does your telecommunications provider have foreign stake holders (Sprint and SoftBank)
-Is your computer built by the Chinese (i.e. Lenovo)

My point being there are any number of ways your information can be compromised both domestic and foreign. At this juncture it’s a purely personal decision. Good Luck and hopefully you won’t stay awake at night trying to decide. Cheers!

Together Everyone Achieves More = TEAM
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Aggregate data

In reply to: It's a Personal Decision

AjTrek wrote " I seriously doubt; even if true, Kaspersky is going to waste valuable resources targeting Joe Blow or Mary Sue"
No one thinks that Kaspersky or the Russian government are small time criminals, targeting individual bank accounts. The worry is that Russia can use the data in aggregate, to either affect our way of life, i.e. an election, or as a way to recruit spies. The former can be accomplished because our hard drives are a wealth of demographic data. In fact, such access would give the Russians more accurate information than is available to our own pollsters, who rely on self-reported surveys and polls. Spy recruitment can be accomplished by identifying vulnerable individuals, i.e. people who dislike the US, have Russian relatives, in high-security jobs, etc. The Chinese was suspected of this when they hacked the personnel files of US government employees several years ago. Furthermore, personal hard drives often have blackmailable information, which can force people into spying.

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OK...Yours is another take on the subject...

In reply to: Aggregate data

So given what you suspect (or believe) will you use Kaspersky or not? I didn’t detect a definitive statement in your post.

Where does “your moral compass lie” as l challenged everyone to examine in the statement that followed the one you quoted. Cheers!

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Two Issues

In reply to: Aggregate data

If a government is involved, it probably doesn't have a lot to do with the individual unless you are labelled as a "pain in the neck". So, no, I doubt mother Russia is interested in your personal affairs.

Also, the people putting this stuff together can just as easily catch things of interest to the criminal element (bank user name and password, social security number,...) and could grab information that can be non-government stuff for financial gain. After all, Putin blamed the hacking of the election on "patriotic Russian hackers". So, I'd say as far as the Russian government getting your information as an individual, it probably isn't a big deal. But, if we are talking about the U.S. government banning Kaspersky on it's OWN computers, that is a different issue.

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In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

Since the Federal Government Banned it no one should be using it for the same reason... You are at your own peril to use this Anti Virus.

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In reply to: No!

Are you saying that the government is always right and without a hidden agenda??

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Your question is not appropriate

In reply to: What?

Irrelevant question whether government is ALWAYS right etc. In this case they are definitely unquestionably right, and I would not trust this product as far as I can spit.

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This is not about "always right" ...

In reply to: Your question is not appropriate

... it is aboutthis: How sure are you that the US government is totally without a hidden agenda?

Since we now have fully entered the space of conspiracy theories, here is the one I like best so far:

Who can assure me convincingly that the real reason for the anti-Kapersky campaign is not - from pre-Trump days - about a back door into all privacy enabling software that the NSA (and the FBI?) demand? US vendors have successfully been bullied into providing this, now the agenda says to get rid of all foreign vendors that are not under the US strong arm ...

Just suggesting this as the next Dan Brown novel Wink

But it COULD be true, you know ...

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Yes, 100% Safe, Stop with the Fake News!

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I have been using Kaspersky Total Security for quite a number of years. Better by far than Norton or McAfee. I used to use Norton and it totally clogged up my computer, so I went over to McAfee and I loved it, then it too clogged up my computer and slowed it down tremendously. Finally tried Kaspersky and never looked back. Never a problem. Update yearly.
Bottom line it's up to you to make sure you are protected on your own computer by what you reveal and don't reveal online.

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100% Safe? Patently Nonsense.

In reply to: Yes, 100% Safe, Stop with the Fake News!

Have you seen the source code to state categorically that it is safe? Would you swear with your life that there are no backdoors, hidden traps, or other malicious code?

Saying it is 100% safe is an irresponsible statement that can not be corroborated by facts.

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I Disagree With Your Last Statement

In reply to: Yes, 100% Safe, Stop with the Fake News!

"... you are protected on your own computer by what you reveal and don't reveal online...."

This is NOT by what you reveal ONLINE. That is a totally separate issue. What is being discussed is that even a person that doesn't use "online ("www") can have their information picked up and sent by a rogue application. In this case, the debate is whether Kaspersky is or is not a rogue application. Not what a user does online. The point being that the U.S. government FOR THEIR OWN COMPUTERS is not allowing Kaspersky. Period. It's just like a lot of people buy Lenovo even though it was certified that there was spyware mixed in with Lenovo's bloatware. Of course we can also discuss Google and Doubleclick and Adobe and the others, but that is not the topic at hand. Give up on the Fake news nonsense. Some of us are professionals and no that this stuff is NOT fake anything. Already proven.

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You misunderstand the issue

In reply to: Yes, 100% Safe, Stop with the Fake News!

totalGuru wrote: "it's up to you to make sure you are protected on your own computer by what you reveal and don't reveal online."
It doesn't seem like you understand the problem. This isn't about posting information online. It's about malware where Kaspersky may fish for information on your computer, sending it back to their headquarters where it may or may not be used by the Russian government. There were rumours that the Chinese did something similar by hacking into the records of government employees. The suspicion was that they were looking for people that they could recruit as spies, i.e. Chinese immigrants in sensitive positions with relatives still in China.

Unless you have access to Kaspersky's source code or can monitor all the data it sends out, there is simply no way you can say it's safe. Even if Kaspersky is simply collecting demographic data, there is no way we'd know that the Russian government isn't intercepting it or otherwise demand it from Kaspersky. Heck, has anyone actually read their EULA?

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A simple (simplistic?) reply

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

Rather than answering the question directly, I will just give some simple/simplistic advice. Few of us can actually answer the question accurately since we have no access to the source code or the ability to monitor the software continuously, i.e. what data is being sent out. My decision is then not to use Kaspersky or any software that utilizes it's code. My reasoning is this: It's not as if we don't have alternatives for antivirus protection. There are other reputable programs that perform just as well according to independent testers, and some even a bit better on some tests. So, for safety's sake, I've decided to avoid Kaspersky until further notice. For similar reasons, I avoided buying internet-enabled dolls as gifts last Christmas.

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Since nobody has offerd a conspiracy theory here yet ...

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

... let me fill the gap. Not that I believe in this sort of thing, but I like them as a way to exercise your creativity.

The one that presents itself here would be something like this:

"The reason the US government is badmouthing Kaspersky because they refused to install a back door for the NSA and since they are not a US company they cannot be forced to do so, so to limit the damage this does to the enforcement of the greatly misunderstood "Freedom of Information Act" by the NSA (and other US agencies.)"

Now, don't forget: This is purely a fabrication of my own imagination and you are still on your own judging the validity of this thought.

(Or try this theory for size: Certain prominent people in high places around Washington DC may not, as alleged, have been intentionally communicating with the Putin Administration. But how about they were collaborating on a few - not necessarily illegal - projects with the Russian Mafia, only to find out that they were being pased on to one of their wholly owned subsidiaries, the Kremlin ... that could prove embarassing and would therefore warrant some secrecy, wouldn't it?)

On the usefulness of Kaspersky software a protection against malware - I can't see how the quality of their solution, which is not in doubt as far as I have heard, could be affected by these allegations. And if any antispyware solution is effective against the NSA, the KGB (sorry, I think they call it something else now) or the "Bundestrojaner" (go, google that!) - who can tell?

In the end I believe in complete privacy, but have to accept that we are well along the way of losing any hope of that. And believe me, everyone has something to hide - including the people that claim they don't, They may just not be aware of it (yet.)

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I don't know why it wouldn't be safe to use

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I don't trust anything the Trump Administration says, not with all the lying Trump has done as President. I don't know why you put your trust in such statements. If you're still concerned because Kaspersky is a Russian company, I suggest you seek real evidence that their software is unsafe before you discontinue using it, and not depend on mere accusations from an unreliable source.

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Not for the Federal Government and not for me, either

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

Absolute Communist - Russian Soviet - product that is not safe or secure. Federal Government prohibits its use. Why would any civilian in the US use this program? Not even in the realm of consideration when there are so many other programs are safe. If I knew what bank was offering this progeam to you for free, I would make sure never to do business with that bank. I hope this is civil enough for CNET.

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Better safe than

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

There has been a lot of supposition in the posts that I have read. Some say it is not safe, others say that it is safe. I say no one here is qualified to say either way. So, let us have some facts.
Eugene Kaspersky, the author of Kaspersky antivirus, is a Russian citizen, and the company is headquartered in Moscow Russia. Eugene graduated from The Technical Faculty of the KGB Higher School. The Higher School prepared intelligence officers for the Russian military and KGB.
Russia is being investigated for interference in the 2016 Elections and some European elections.
I can not say that is "Safe" or not, however, given the above, why would you take a chance. As has been pointed out, there are alternatives that are as good or better than Kaspersky antivirus. I always thought that if I was a virus author, the ultimate injection program would be an antivirus program. Just saying.

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Agreed, but ...

In reply to: Better safe than

... what says that a non-Russian antivirus program is actually less likely to be a malware gateway or infested with back doors for all-too-curious government agencies (of whatever nationality ...) ?

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I say Yes

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

In the same way that nobody really cares about this reply. IF Kaspersky is hacking PC's then mine is too boring to bother with, meanwhile, I have what has always been said to be excellent AV software. I certainly don't use their Password tool.

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kaspersky antivirus

In reply to: Kaspersky antivirus, still safe to use?

I have used many different antivirus for at least 20 plus years and kaspersky is very much dedicated in making our computers safe. top-notch people. the only problem is not with their antivirus, but with their support...,that is if you call kaspersky and wind up in talking to someone in India or timbuktu with hard to understand English. I recently called for support because best buy sent me an email indicating that best buy will no longer sell me kaspersky and instead provide me with an microtrend. i thought this was unethical. called kasparsky support..I trust kaspersky so i allowed this guy in india to remotely connect to my computer.bad move in my part. he started removing my kasparsky and installing microtrend.
I yelled at him to get my **** back together. he started installing a trial kasparsky. I yelled at him again
and took him an hour and a half to complete. now i know that i did not have malware or virus.kasparsky
is upfront with this. The moral of the story ...if you do not understand what (support) he is saying..,hang up, until you talk to someone that speaks your language.

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