Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Kaspersky’s Free Antivirus will be available in the UK in October 2017

Kaspersky logoA few weeks ago I discovered that Kaspersky had launched a free antivirus program. I set out to find it but was initially thwarted as they were not making it available in the UK until October 2017. This is where a VPN comes in handy (see my blog post “What is a VPN and do you need one?“). Using TunnelBear I was able to log on to the US Kaspersky site without being diverted back to the UK site that wasn’t offering the product. Installing it was then straightforward.

Some of my computer support clients know that I’m not exactly a fan of Kaspersky antivirus products. I find them bloated and sometimes they have a serious impact on system performance. Nevertheless, I do accept that Kaspersky has a good reputation and loyal customers. Add this to the fact that a free antivirus program is likely to be “lean and mean”, offering only the bare essentials, and I thought it well worthwhile giving it a whirl. Another reason for trying it is that I’m constantly doing the rounds of free antivirus products trying to find the least annoying. The popup ads and cajoling to upgrade to a paid version are almost (but not quite) enough to get me to fork out for Norton.

So, I was quite keen to try a free product from a reputable company. And I have to say that I’ve been very pleased with it. No doubt this product is “a sprat to catch a mackerel”. Kaspersky don’t miss any opportunities within the software to point out the features that you can have only if you upgrade to a paid product. Some of the items they point out as being “unavailable” include:

  • Application Control
  • Firewall
  • Private Browsing
  • Webcam Protection
  • Anti-Banner
  • Network Attack Blocker
  • System Watcher
  • Parental controls
  • Safe Money
  • Privacy protection

Actually, the only one of these I would like to see in my antivirus is the last one as it “monitors activity of and prevents danger from malware (including ransomware)”.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of features not normally associated with free antivirus products that they do include, such as:

  • Password protection – if set, the program can not be modified or removed without the password
  • Web protection – scanning incoming web traffic to prevent dangerous scripts from running
  • Email scanning – scanning of both incoming and outgoing traffic
  • Protection against rootkits
  • Intelligent scanning that aims to minimise the impact when the computer is busy
  • Scanning of newly connected external devices (such as USB drives)

Kaspersky Free - Main Menu
You can have Scan and Database Update. You will have to “upgrade” (pay) to get Safe Money, Privacy Protection, Parental Control, and Protection for All Devices.
As far as I am concerned, the most important aspect of free antivirus (apart from its ability to stop viruses, of course) is that it should just get on with its job without endless un-necessary popups telling me how great it is, how much better it would be if I “upgraded” (to a paid product, of course) and so on. I’ve noticed that Windows Defender, for instance, has now started popping up a window telling you that no threats have been detected! Isn’t that a bit like a night-time security guard phoning his Managing Director to tell her that no-one’s broken in tonight?

Kaspersky Free - Virus Detected
Kaspersky did its job, but I don’t know why it popped up this notification 20-30 times
Anyway, Kaspersky Free Antivirus has done none of those irritating things in the time I’ve had it installed. The nearest it’s got to annoying me is to tell me a couple of times that a website doesn’t have a valid certificate. Just this morning, it intercepted a nasty email in my inbox and told me it contained a virus. That’s great. Thank you very much. But for some reason, it then popped up a notification somewhere between 20 and 30 times to tell me this. No idea what that was all about, but it certainly dealt with the problem.

So, a free antivirus product from a reputable company that doesn’t get in your face. As I write this, it has still not been made available in the UK, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find it as soon as it is released by googling for “Kaspersky Free Antivirus”.