After several months of testing, the award-winning security company Kaspersky has launched a new product, the Free Kaspersky Antivirus. As we know, the competition in the AV market is intense, and even Windows Defender is steadily improving. In this guide, we'll review the new free Kaspersky antivirus, and we will see if it's worth to give it a try.
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Table of Contents
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is a Russian international cyber-security and antivirus provider headquartered in Moscow.
It was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, who is currently the CEO.
Kaspersky Lab develops and sells antivirus and other cyber-security products, as well as services for home users, companies, and organizations.
It is one of the fastest-growing and best-known IT security companies worldwide.
Ιn the past few years, the company has won one of the highest places in many independent security testing agencies.
In fact, in 2016, Kaspersky's products reached the first place 55 times.
We can find more details and information about the company and its products on their official website.
Free Kaspersky Antivirus
As we may know, many cyber-security companies also offer free choices.
Historically, Kaspersky Lab had never provided any free real-time protection. This changed in July 2017, with the launch of the Free Kaspersky Antivirus.
This move was met with enthusiasm from users and tech sites alike. The free of charge product will become gradually available in different regions.
The good news is that Free Kaspersky Antivirus keeps protection on top and it uses the same security engine as commercial versions.
In recent AV Comparatives tests, Kaspersky's commercial versions reached 99.8%...
...while in AV Tests it ensured maximum protection.
We should point out that Free Kaspersky Antivirus offers only basic protection and falls short of secondary options and capabilities, including the lack of mobile (Android) and macOS support.
However, if we compare it with the commercial Kaspersky Antivirus on a Windows PC, we will not find any significant differences.
Recent studies on AV Comparatives agree on that.
Why did the company release a free antivirus?
Kaspersky's CEO promises no advertisements in this software, as other free antivirus vendors do. So, what does Kaspersky have to gain from a free version of Kaspersky Antivirus?
Kaspersky's profit comes from the data it collects.
Through the participation in the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), the company can gather data from the threats of each system.
In this way, Kaspersky can continue to improve its products. But let's take a look at the capabilities of Free Kaspersky Antivirus.
Download and Installation
We will find the free Kaspersky Antivirus on its official site.
If the Free Kaspersky Antivirus isn't available in your country yet, you can download it from the well-known software hosting site majorgeeks.
The system requirements of Free Kaspersky Antivirus are minimal. Also, Kaspersky is compatible with all versions of Windows, even Windows XP.
The installation is straightforward.
The only part we can intervene is whether we want to take part in the KSN for greater protection, or not.
Once the required files have been downloaded and installed, we are ready to complete the process.
We will need to sign up in My Kaspersky for better management of the installed products.
Finally, we will see the main window of the product, which reminds us of the commercial version.
In the Windows notification area, we will notice two icons; the antivirus and Kaspersky Secure Connection.
The free antivirus license is valid for one year, but we expect the company to renew it after this period. This is a common practice in many free antiviruses.
Settings and Features
In the main application's window, we will find the basic features of the Free Kaspersky Antivirus.
The antivirus app provides real-time protection, file scanner, and web-surfing protection.
The user interface is simple and familiar. In "Details" we can have a picture of the general security level, but we also have access to some direct actions.
"More Tools" includes some extra features that are unavailable in the free version. If we need any of those, we will have to upgrade.
Cloud Protection is an extra level of protection. It can detect new threats through the KSN.
If we want more control of our protection, we'll have to access the app's settings.
In "General," we can choose whether the app will launch at startup, set a password, etc.
The second tab has to do with the security level and the protective shields. We can quickly turn off any shields that we don't need. For example, if we are not using a mail client, such as Outlook or Thunderbird, the "Mail Anti-Virus" shield is not necessary
For example, if we are not using a mail client, such as MS Outlook or Thunderbird, the "Mail Anti-Virus" protection is not necessary, since the Web Anti-Virus covers webmail (Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo).
In the next tab, we will find tweaks for better response, depending on the system capabilities.
"Scan" focuses on the file control level, but also on how Kaspersky will react to an imminent threat.
The final tab offers additional settings.
It is worth to mention the "Additional protection and management tools" option, where we can disable the participation in the KSN or cancel the registration at My Kaspersky.
Kaspersky Secure Connection
As mentioned above, alongside the free Kaspersky Antivirus we get the Kaspersky Secure Connection application.
Kaspersky Secure Connection is a VPN, which ensures safe and anonymous navigation; it is based on the popular Hotspot Shield.
In the free version, Kaspersky Secure Connection comes with a 200MB per day limit. We will get another 100Mb as a first-time gift.
If we use another VPN or we are not interested in using Kaspersky Secure Connection, we can easily uninstall it.
Is it worth it?
Kaspersky made a checkmate move and provided an excellent and comprehensive product for free.
The Free Kaspersky Antivirus includes file, email, and web antivirus, automatic updates, self-defense, quarantine, and more.
Since it uses the commercial version's protection engine, it is a worthwhile solution. Also, it offers great support through the Kaspersky community.
The Free Kaspersky Antivirus is lighter than the commercial version and utilizes fewer system resources, which makes it suitable for old computers too.
The average RAM consumption in our tests was between 30 and 60MB.
In our opinion, the Free Kaspersky Antivirus is one of the best free antivirus solutions that are available for Windows.
Will you try the Free Kaspersky Antivirus?
How did you find Kaspersky's move to provide a free antivirus? Are you thinking about trying it out? Leave your questions and impressions below in the comments.
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