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PRICE:  $79.95

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Rating: Very Good      

Review of Kaspersky Internet Security 2012

     By Jay Andrew Allen | December 14, 2011

Kaspersky Let's be honest: in the anti-virus marketplace, "Kaspersky" isn't exactly a household name. Perhaps it ought to be. For several years running, Kaspersky has released compelling products with sleek interfaces, great anti-virus performance, and rich features. We were so impressed last year that we bestowed a "Very Good" rating on Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) 2011. With KIS 2012, Kaspersky continues to evolve its product line with a focus on rich features and robust anti-virus technology.

1) Features & Usability:  13/15

Dashboard: The 2012 Dashboard sports a streamlined design. Kaspersky Internet Security 2011's navigation sidebar has been removed in favor of a scrollable button bar along the Dashboard's base. This permits Kaspersky to grow its feature set and add new shortcuts without cluttering the UI. The larger buttons also permit using KIS easily on a touchscreen-enabled monitor.

KIS 2012 Dashboard:

Kaspersky Internet Security is already feature-rich compared to its competitors. Instead of adding a slate of flashy new features, Kaspersky has focused its 2012 release on enhancing every component of its anti-virus technology - anti-virus, phishing protection, Web protection, and anti-spam - to leverage cloud computing. Rather than relying solely on a local database of virus definitions and malicious Web sites, Kaspersky incorporates anti-virus knowledge drawn dynamically from its millions of users. KIS components such as anti-virus and phishing query this collected cloud knowledge to help decide whether a specific artifact (such as a file or a Web site) is safe or malicious.

Kaspersky has made a few additional tweaks to its protection technologies that are more obvious to Joe User. For example, in last year's version, the anti-spam filter required "training" before it could activate. Kaspersky has removed this requirement, replacing manual training with cloud-based technology. Instead of requiring each user to train the anti-spam filter individually, Kaspersky feeds it anti-spam algorithm an extensive network database of verified spam messages.

One quirk of KIS 2012 is that there is no visible Firewall function. The application does ship with a robust firewall that Kaspersky activates it by default, and otherwise keeps hidden. Users made of sterner stuff than Mom & Pop can click Settings -> Firewall to change their firewall protection levels and set custom rules. We like this approach to firewall security, as most users don't have the technical acumen to make decisions regarding network protection.

For users interested in performance, KIS 2012 offers the Applications Activity window, which displays a list of running processes, and the Network Activity window, which shows how many incoming and outgoing Internet connections are active. It can be surprising to learn which applications do a poor job of terminating TCP connections. (For instance, we found Google Chrome could launch as many as 20 new connections when opening a Web site, but only successfully terminate 3 to 5 when the relevant tab was closed.)

The Task Manager in Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 displays a list of the most recently run virus scanning tasks, and links each task to a results report. Task Manager is available by clicking the Manage Tasks button on the Scan window. The feature is rather ill-named, given that it doesn't manage anything: it's an historical record of completed or canceled scans.

Kaspersky still has one of the best (if not the best) Parental Controls features on the Internet Security market. The feature is easy to activate, and permits parents to control their child's usage times, Web site permissions, and IM contacts.

As in 2011, the best unsung feature of KIS 2012 is Anti-Banner, a Web browser ad blocker that works like a champ. It's not enabled by default, but can be activated under Settings -> Anti-Banner. We would buy KIS 2012 for this feature alone. (Further Reading: What's New in Kaspersky Internet Security 2012?)

Virus Scanner:
Kaspersky Virus Scanner:

Scan Speed: On our reference system*, KIS 2012 swept through our 1GB test matrix in an impressive 31.2 seconds, or a scan speed of 32.8 MB/second. That's a nice improvement over last year's scan speed of 27.3 seconds.

Updates: KIS 2012 matches last year's virus definition update frequencies of 12 updates per day.

*Reference Computer:  Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200 (64 bit), with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.

2) Performance Testing:  7/10

Below are the results of our in-house Performance Tests. Our tests found that Kaspersky isn't just blowing smoke in its claims of improved overall performance in this release.

Memory Use: Kaspersky Internet Security uses 29.3 MB of system memory. #9 ranked program of the 15 Internet Security programs we tested.

Reboot Time: Kaspersky added 15.7 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #5 ranked program.

Installation Size: Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 requires 671 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #13 ranked program.

Initial Scan Speed: Kaspersky Internet Security scans files the first time at a speed of 32.8 MB/s. #5 ranked program.

Subsequent Scan Speed: Kaspersky performs subsequent scans at a speed of 284.4 MB/s. #3 ranked program.

Initial Application Launch: Kaspersky Internet Security added 0.453s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #7 ranked program.

Subsequent Application Launch: Kaspersky added 0.170s on average for subsequent web browser launches. #5 ranked program.

File Conversion Time: Kaspersky added 0.54s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #9 ranked program.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a cumulative score tallied from the above 8 tests. Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 scored a total of 72 out of 120 points when compared to the other Internet Security programs tested. This placed Kaspersky as the #5 ranked overall program we tested this year. Good, but not great.

View above Internet Security Performance Tests.

3) Effectiveness: (Virus Protection) 18/20

The most important function of an antivirus program is to protect a computer from Viruses and other Malware. Below we examine some of the industry's top Virus/Malware testing.

a) AV Comparatives is an independent antivirus testing lab in Austria
providing some of the most trusted virus detection tests in the industry. They have 2 major virus/malware tests that they perform. In the most recent test in May 2011, the Proactive Test, Kaspersky was rated 3 out of 3 Stars (Advanced+ rating). Avira was the only other antivirus platform to receive a 3-star rating in the May testing. In the 2nd test back in February 2011, the On Demand Detection Test, Kaspersky also received a 3-Star rating.


b) AV-Test is another major antivirus testing lab which is located in Germany. Every 3 months they run over 20 antivirus programs through a battery of tests on a different operating system (Win 7/Vista/XP rotated every 3 months). In their recent antivirus testing in June 2011, Kaspersky received a 16 / 18 score on the Windows XP platform. In the 2nd set of tests run on Windows 7 in March 2011, Kaspersky received a 14 / 18 score. While on the 3rd test run on Windows Vista in December 2010, Kaspersky received a 15.5 / 18 score. All 3 of these scores were good enough to receive AV-Test's Certification level (11 points needed for Certification). Overall, Kaspersky was one of the top programs tested in these 3 tests.

Win 7: Win XP: Win Vista:
c) Virus Bulletin - VB 100% Certified. Kaspersky passed the most recent VB100 test (June 2011), but Kaspersky has a more checkered past with these VB100 tests than one would expect from such a well-known antivirus solution. Kaspersky has failed 6 of the last 25 Virus Bulletin tests - which isn't too good for such a basic antivirus test that should be relatively easy to pass. The VB 100% award is given to antivirus software that detects all viruses "in the wild".

4) Help & Support:  3/5

Kaspersky's help documentation is still written in woefully baroque English. (To wit, this howler from the What's New doc: "Intellectual system of updates downloading has been implemented.") Would it kill the company to hire a native speaker to edit copy? Fortunately, Kaspersky offers plenty additional support options, including live support through telephone or Internet Chat, an active user forum, and a new series of How To videos.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Customer Support Contacts
     • Internet Security Support Home
     • Kaspersky User Forum


Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is a mature, full-featured product with good performance and a stellar record for virus scan accuracy. Its feature set offers both ease of use for average computer users, and rich detail and configurability for power users and gearheads. We recommend it highly.

Overall Rating: Very Good    (Total Score: 41 / 50 = 4 Stars)

Misc Info:

    • Reviewed By:
Jay Andrew Allen
    • Install Time:
    • Version Tested:
    • Release Date:
August 12, 2011
    • Review Date:
December 14, 2011
    • Last Updated:
December 14, 2011
    • Previous Version:
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

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Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 Screenshots

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Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 System Requirements:

Windows 7 & Win Vista: 1 GHz 32-bit/64-bit or higher Processor, 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit).

Windows XP: 800 MHz or higher Processor, 512 MB available RAM.

Minimum Requirements:

    • 700 MB available hard-drive space
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher
    • Microsoft Windows Installer 2.0
    • Internet connection for product activation
    • CD-ROM or DVD drive (if not installing via Download)

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