Kaspersky Internet Security 2009

Not having an antivirus program is like living in a house without doors or windows. Besides the antivirus, a firewall is also necessary aspect of PC security since it keeps your PC invisible from the virtual world and thwarts network attacks. This is where a product like Kaspersky Internet Security comes into play.

Once you’ve finished the installation, the application allows you to choose between two protection modes — automatic and interactive. The automatic mode is recommended as this puts Kaspersky in charge of making the right decisions when (if) threats are encountered. The interactive is more for the advanced or paranoid user since it will insist on keeping you in the loop for just about every action it takes.

The main interface shows all the modules that are enabled or disabled. If any of the modules is disabled other than the Banner Ad Blocker and Parental Control, the green orb turns yellow. Red on the other hand indicates that either file and memory protection has been turned off or your signatures are out of date. The suite is built around four main protection layers which include Anti-Malware, System Security, Online Security and Content Filtering modules.

The Anti-Malware module is the core of the application. It monitors file accesses in real-time. You can adjust the settings, but remember that altering the protection level will directly impact system performance. You also have email and IM protection that basically scan all incoming and outgoing traffic. Furthermore, email attachments can be renamed or even deleted depending on the filters selected. There is also a web traffic module that prevents dangerous scripts from executing on the computer.

System Security has three subcategories — Application Filtering, Firewall and Proactive Defense. Application filtering labels all installed software as trusted, low restricted, high restricted or not trusted. Programs are then given access rights according to rules which can be altered by the user.

The firewall ensures that your machine stays protected on the local network and the Internet. Here again programs are placed under predefined rules, minimizing user intervention. Online Security protects your computer from network attacks and phishing web sites. A virtual keyboard helps prevent keyloggers from capturing keystrokes. You can also check Internet Explorer for vulnerabilities by clicking on 'Browser configuration'.

Finally, Content Filtering allows you to block unwanted sites that your child might stumble upon. You can either define the sites that need to be blocked or simply allow KIS to analyze all web pages. You can also limit surfing time by specifying slots when access is allowed.

On the performance front, KIS performed rather well consuming only 50 MB of memory. Even when running a manual scan memory consumption was balanced at an average of 75 MB. There weren’t any significant system slowdowns during scans.

We ran a few simple tests to check the effectiveness of the scanner. The site ‘eicar.org’ allows you to test if your antivirus scanner is capable of detecting viruses before they get downloaded onto the machine. The test is simply a text file containing 68 random characters renamed with a COM extension. We tried downloading both, the zipped as well as the COM file. The page was immediately blocked, with an error message telling us it was infected.

You need to enable ‘Scan Encrypted Connections’ via the settings menu for HTTPS pages. You can also revert to the default settings in case you mess up. All in all, KIS worked like a charm.

All things considered, at its price of Rs. 1,795; the Kaspersky Internet Security is an effective suite that will keep your system well protected and won’t bring it to a crawl.

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