Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 (1-Year License) review:

Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 (1-Year License)

Programs can be launched into Safe Run in one of two ways. You can add the program manually through the Kaspersky Security Zone panel, or you can launch it on the fly using the context menu. Hopefully, there will be casual launcher added to jump lists in Windows 7, but that feature doesn't exist now.

The Update Center tab offers a smooth update scheduler integrated into the main interface. Click on Run Mode to change the schedule. This isn't remarkable except to point out that only the definition file update offers an update like this. To schedule any other regular scan, you must click on the Settings option at the top right of the main Kaspersky window, choose the feature you want to schedule from the list on the left if it wasn't open in the main window when you hit settings, select Settings from within the window that opens, and then finally click the Run Mode tab on yet one final pop-up window. It's a tedious process and could be streamlined to great effect, but it makes one of the basic features of this security program unnecessarily hard to get to.

The program also comes with an auto-run disable feature and a virtual keyboard so that, in theory, you can enter passwords without worrying about a keylogger. In fact, security experts have warned that onscreen keyboards do not decrease the risks of password theft, and either way I think most users will find it superfluous. The new gamer mode, however, isn't. This basically keeps Kaspersky functioning while you play games, but kills interrupting pop-ups and strips memory usage down to its minimum.

The annoying yellow bar announcing that your computer security is at risk because you're running the trial can be toggled under the Report link at the top right of the main window. I'm not happy about the wording of the message as it appears in the program, falsely equating your computer's security with the status of your license when Kaspersky Labs itself offers the trial as full-featured.

Boot time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Scan time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Office performance (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

iTunes decoding (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Media multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Scans and definition file updates performed empirically as expected, with the Quick Scan taking less than 3 minutes. The Vulnerability Scan took less than 4 minutes, as well. The Full Scan, which was expected to be slow, took less than an hour, but as it approached 80 percent completion it oscillated between telling me that it would finish in 1 minute and 2 minutes. In fact, it would take another 11 minutes to finish.

CNET Labs' benchmarks reveal a slightly different side to KIS. KIS slowed down our test computer's cold boot time by 2.21 seconds, and shutdown time by nearly 5 seconds. Scan times were actually faster on Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 than Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 by 9 seconds. They have identical engines, but KAV has fewer ancillary features. During our MS Office and iTunes decoding tests, both KIS and KAV performed identically, although during the media multitasking test KIS was slower by 64 seconds. In our Cinebench test, KIS fared the worst compared to a standard machine and KAV. KIS hit 3,908, while KAV notched 4,190 and the baseline computer marked 4,217.

Virus and malware efficacy scores for Kaspersky's 2010 products were not available at the time of writing, and will be updated here when they are announced. However, last year's Kaspersky 2009 has scored average or better in all areas of detection according to virus and malware detection results at AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org. AV-Test noted that it detected more than 98.4 percent of malware on demand, and 98.3 percent of spyware on demand, with an average rate of false positives. AV-Comparitives.org awarded Kaspersky 2009 Advanced+ in both February 2009's on-demand comparative and in May 2009's retrospective/pro-active test, noting few false positives and a 50 percent detection rate, behind Microsoft, Eset, Avira, and G Data. The short version of these independent test results is that last year's Kaspersky scored above average in general, and was excellent at malware detection.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus contains most of the same engines and features as Kaspersky Internet Security. It lacks the personal two-way firewall, parental and privacy control, whitelisting and application control, safe run virtual sandbox, anti-spam protection, and banner ad blocking.

Kaspersky's support looks organized and straightforward. Click the support link at the bottom of the main window to bring up a new window, with options to directly submit a ticket, browse the Kaspersky knowledge base, or visit the user forums. Users can e-mail or call a toll-free number for live technical support, and a link to the Help database appears on pop-ups as well as the main window.

No doubt that Kaspersky is an effective security suite, but it's the extra features available in Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 that make it worth paying for. There are some niggling problems with the interface, and the performance numbers could be stronger, but the inclusion of the behavioral engine bodes well for the future. Overall, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 is more than adequate for both power users and set-it-and-forget-it types.

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