Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 is the best antivirus application we've seen this year. In our CNET Labs' performance tests and in results from independent antivirus testing organizations, the Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky scores high marks against its well-known competition. We think you'll like Kaspersky's straightforward, no-nonsense interface (one that doesn't try to up sell you additional Kaspersky products). Despite a very competitive antivirus landscape, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, released earlier this year, still stands heads and shoulders above the latest Norton and McAfee products and thus deserves our Editors' Choice for antivirus protection.
Kaspersky downloaded and installed without incident on our test systems in just a few minutes. You do have to reboot your computer, but that's a minor inconvenience. Once installed, Kaspersky occupies a mere 50MB of hard drive space, and it consumes very few system resources when active. Unlike McAfee and Symantec, Kaspersky will run under Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP on older PCs with as little as 64MB of RAM.
Although Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 lists for $10 to $20 more than Norton AntiVirus 2007 or McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007, we found several retailers, such as CompUSA and Office Depot, offering Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 at competitive prices after various discounts and rebate offers are applied. And Kaspersky is the only major antivirus vendor to offer a free, lighter version of its antivirus product (McAfee and Norton still do not). The lighter version, known as AOL Active Virus Shield, gives you a sense of what the paid Kaspersky product can do. Given that you have supply AOL with personal information, however, you might be better off downloading the full-function free 30-day trial of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 from CNET Download.com instead.
Should you ever want to remove the program, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 includes its own uninstall icon. Unlike McAfee and Norton, Kaspersky Anti-Virus left zero traces--no registry files, no folders with mysterious log files--which is how a good uninstall should act. Why McAfee and Norton can't clean up after their own messes is beyond us.
If you ever used Kaspersky in the past, you'll be pleased with the redesigned interface. Gone are the messy tabs across the top. Version 6 sports a cleaner and brighter look, with its intuitive left-hand navigation and system status alerts prominent in the lower-left corner. The much larger right-hand window pane is used for details. On the left, there's a Scan option and, unlike the one-button "fix" solutions offered by Norton and McAfee, Kaspersky gives you more options--handy, because there are times when you want to run only a quick scan, a deep scan, or a single file scan, and this way you can do so without much fuss. Also, if you don't like the native interface, Kaspersky allows you to change its theme or skin--something that Norton and McAfee do not offer.
Kaspersky offers a number of specific antivirus protections for your PC. Like most antivirus products today, Kaspersky also protects your computer against spyware--scanning for both viruses and spyware, which is much more efficient than scanning for each separately. Kaspersky scans not only e-mail, but also Web-based port 80 traffic, routing out online viruses, Trojans, and other malware before any of these infect your hard drive. To reduce scan time, you can even ask Kaspersky to scan only the files that have changed or been modified recently.
Standing behind the Kaspersky Anti-Virus application is Kaspersky Labs, one of the best antivirus research labs in the world; often Kaspersky is the first to report new malware. We like that Kaspersky features hourly signature file and program updates; other vendors update your system only when necessary. And with Kaspersky, you can roll back any update (in the case of a software conflict), which is not the case with other antivirus vendors.