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Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 review: Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 continues to outshine its competition with its ease of use combined with thorough antivirus protection.

Robert Vamosi

Robert Vamosi

Former Editor

As CNET's former resident security expert, Robert Vamosi has been interviewed on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets to share his knowledge about the latest online threats and to offer advice on personal and corporate security.

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5 min read


Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7

The Good

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 sports an intuitive, fresh interface that is skinnable, offers excellent technical support, and easily vanquishes viruses, spyware, rootkits, phishing, and other malware.

The Bad

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 can be slightly more expensive than the competition, and firewall protection is missing.

The Bottom Line

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 continues to outshine its competition with its ease of use combined with thorough antivirus protection.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7

Last year's CNET Editors' Choice award winner Kaspersky returns with another winner. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 features a new interface and new protection. But, unlike last year, the competition for Editors' Choice in this space was fierce with several worthy contenders all bunching toward the top of the scale. For example, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is perhaps the most improved product of the year, nipping at the heals of Kaspersky. What makes Kaspersky Anti-Virus continue to outshine its competition is its ease of use combined with thorough antivirus protection. No firewall, no gimmicks, just straight AV protection. Kaspersky also makes an Internet security suite, yet Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 feels complete as a standalone product and not, like Norton Antivirus 2008, a cog in larger family of products. That said, there is no firewall protection within Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2008, leaving you to choose your own firewall protection. Once again, Kaspersky requires considerably less disk space than Norton. The only real negative here is the list price, which can be $10 to $20 more than the competition, depending where you purchase it. Still, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 provides the most complete antivirus production on the market today and deserves our Editors' Choice for best antivirus product for 2008. For a look inside, see our slide show.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 costs $59.95 for a single license and $69.95 for a three-user license. By comparison, Norton Antivirus 2008 costs $39.95 for a single-user license (there are no three-user versions of NAV 2008). Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista, where Norton Antivirus runs only on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Kaspersky requires 512 RAM and at least 50MB of hard drive space (Norton requires 300 MB of hard drive space). A full-function 30-day trial version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 is available.

We experienced no problems with several different installations during the month of August. After installation, the system requires a reboot for full protection.

Should you want to remove Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7, the product includes an uninstall option in the All Programs menu. Once we uninstalled the product and rebooted, we found no lingering evidence of Kaspersky remaining on our machine.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 sports a cleaner, more sophisticated interface than last year's. We like it best among the 2008 antivirus applications we've seen. Immediately our eye was drawn to the red banner with text that told us our signature files were out of date. This is visually very effective and efficient, whereas a simple Fix It button to the side is not always informative. Also, unlike Norton's morbid, black border, we like the open, bright, and colorful interface of Kaspersky that is skinnable to suite your own tastes.

We like Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7's clean, intuitive interface best among the 2008 antivirus applications we've seen.

Another interface feature we like is the left navigation. Within seconds, we were able to find the configuration settings we wanted to tweak.

In addition to antivirus and antispyware protection, Kaspersky offers antirootkit protection as well. We like the built-in System Restore, so that should your computer ever become infected, Kaspersky will roll back any registry changes to a time prior to the infection. This is effective against spyware and rootkits.

Not only is the malware protection within Kaspersky proactive, with top-of-the-line heuristics to identify newly created malware, and, like BitDefender Antivirus 2008, Kaspersky's traditional signature-based protection is updated hourly, along with any available program updates. We like this approach, as Kaspersky seems to have figured out what Norton has not: how to deliver small file updates. Plus, Kaspersky has consistently demonstrated the shortest response time to breaking new malware threats.

Kaspersky still provides users with the process of creating a rescue disk, something that many antivirus products no longer offer. And, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 includes a process so that the operating system can revert back to a time just before an infection. Like Norton, Kaspersky can also throttle back on system resources, depending on user activity. Unlike Norton, Kaspersky can, by default, scan only recently changed files, greatly shortening the overall scan time considerably.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 scored well in CNET Labs' performance tests and in third-party, independent antivirus testing using live viruses, although not always the top position. On the CNET iTunes test, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 came in just 4 seconds above the test system at 272 seconds. On the CNET Microsoft Office test, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 finished in 1,518 seconds. In a test scanning a single folder with compressed and media files, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 completed it in 521 seconds. And in boot speed, Kaspersky came in second, with a fast 29.77 seconds. To find out how we test antivirus software , see CNET Labs' How we test: Antivirus software page.

In terms of whether or not Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 will protect your PC, we cite results from two leading independent antivirus testing organizations. In the latest test results from AV-Comparatives.org, for on-demand scans Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 earned an Advanced + (highest) rating, catching 98 percent of all malware tested and tying with Norton Antivirus 2007. However, for the Retrospective/Proactive test, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 earned an Advanced (second-highest) rating, although Kaspersky produced very few false positives compared with other antivirus apps in the same test. From CheckVir.com, there is no data. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 was not included in recent tests, however, when it was last tested, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 earned a Standard rating when only the ability to search is tested, not antivirus removal.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 provides an excellent context-sensitive, in-program help file. For example, if you are on the Data Files page and you click Help, you're taken to the entry for Data Files within the Help file. It's a small touch, but one we don't see often enough. Kaspersky offers a robust 321-page PDF manual (the most complete of any antivirus application we've seen); it includes just about everything--except for an index, although the table of contents is richly detailed. Kaspersky also delivers excellent online FAQ and knowledge base. There are also active user forums. Finally, you can e-mail or call a toll-free number for live technical support.

If you're looking for an antivirus application that's good, fast, and light on system resources, Kaspersky is the one. We found this antivirus application easy enough for beginners, with customization features that will please more-advanced users, as well. But, with the competition gaining, by no means was this a knockout; this year's Editors' Choice race was tighter than ever.


Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 8Performance 7Support 8
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