Review: Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

I bought my first computer back when I was in college, in 1993 – and even though it wasn’t the most sound financial decision at the time (credit card debt, anyone?), it still was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only was I able to learn skills that I would later put to use in my professional career (and beyond) but I was introduced to and became comfortable with surfing the Internet before it was well, everywhere. One thing that I learned early on back then – and still know to be true today, is that if you’re going online at all, you must have good anti-virus protection. Now I’ve had a few minor brushes with computer viruses over the years but have never had a major infestation – probably because I try to invest in a good anti-virus protection program that will keep my computer, my files, my data, my photos and everything else that’s stored in bits and bytes in my life, safe. I’ve tried a few different ones – generally the big-name companies in virus protection that we’ve all heard of. Then, a couple of years ago while I was working in the IT department of a local city, they switched the entire city’s computer system over to a different anti-virus software that I’d never heard of. I was laid off before I really had the chance to learn much about it, but I remembered the name – Kaspersky. So when I found out about the chance to review their Internet Security software myself at home through, I was eager and curious to see more of what they offer.

What it is:

Kaspersky Kaspersky Internet Security is more than just an anti-virus program – it also integrates protection against hackers, spam, identity theft and other malicious threats to your home or business computers, while running silently in the background. And it also includes parental controls – to help keep your children safe while they surf the web for entertainment or educational purposes. Some of the key features of this software include a two-way firewall, up-to-date, real-time protection against Internet threats, and advanced parental controls that allow you to not only limit the sites and information that your children are exposed to online, but also allows you to control the times when you let them do so. Here’s more information:

Without the right security software and without a little common sense, users can easily suffer from:

  • stolen credit card numbers
  • embarrassing spam-blasts sent to all your email contacts without knowing it was happening
  • losing all your pictures or music
  • an expensive trip to the computer repair guy

That’s where we come in! Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 has a number of features that outperform competitors, and some that you won’t find anywhere else that will keep you safe from these threats:

  • Desktop Security Gadget – to instantly see your protection status, drag-and-drop file scanning, and customizable one-click access to the reports and tools you use the most
  • Parental Controls – do more than block your kids from inappropriate content coming in…prevent your family’s personal information from being sent out, by designating account numbers, addresses and more as “private.”  You can also limit the amount of time your child can spend on the computer or online every day.
  • Identity Protection – Keeps you safe from “phishing attacks,” which are fake emails and websites designed to look legitimate, but actually are clever traps to steal your money and identity.
  • Surf Safely – At Kaspersky Lab, we keep a “naughty and nice” list of websites.  We always block the sites that are bad, and we alert you when visiting sites that have been recently used to infect visitors…these sites are most likely to be used again for attacks.
  • Safe Run- Provides an added layer of protection for running suspicious or unknown programs and websites. The Safe Run environment is completely walled-off from your data and PC settings, so you can “test drive” programs with total confidence that no harm will come to your system.

Courtesy of Kaspersky Labs and the Family Review Network, I received a copy of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 and a one-year license for up to 3 PCs to try out and review the software.

Here’s my take on it:

Kaspersky2 Although online protection software is vitally important, it also should be something that runs so quietly and smoothly in the background that you aren’t really even aware it’s there – unless or until you need it to be. That’s the one main issue I’ve had in the past with other anti-virus software programs – they have had a tendency to slow my system way down or otherwise interfere in my day-to-day computer activities by popping up windows or messages that I really didn’t need to see all the time. I also had been using a different parental control system on the computer that our kids use but I wasn’t completely happy with that either. Trying to find low-cost or free parental control software was difficult and the ones that I did find didn’t do what I was looking for – mainly to limit the amount of time that my kids spend online per day. That particular computer is older and not very updated – and we’d actually stopped running anti-virus software on it altogether because they bogged the system down so much that the computer was almost unusable for the girls. Risky, yes – but there’s no data or information on that computer that’s at all important. But it’s something that’s bothered me even so.

I initially installed the Kaspersky software on my laptop since that’s the computer that I use the most. I do really like that one license covers up to 3 computers since we have a desktop as well, plus the girls’ computer. I don’t know if other families have more than 3 computers in the house  – though I expect anyone with teenagers likely does. It would be nice if the software covered whatever number of computers you have, but I’m not sure how that would work while still protecting the software against piracy. I’ve installed Kaspersky on the girls’ computer now too – it’s not on the desktop right now, but that’s just because I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll add it to that one as soon as I have the chance.

It’s hard to gauge how well something like an anti-virus program is actually working because not having any problems is the desired outcome. I can say that I haven’t had any issues with viruses, spam or anything else since I’ve been running the Kaspersky software. What I can say for sure is that I do like the structure of how the dashboard is set up and everything that the software does. I have a lot of options in the settings to decide how and where I want it to protect my computer(s) – but everything is set up on recommended defaults as soon as you install it, so even if you don’t know (or want to learn) more about the various settings, you’re still protected. One thing that I did turn on is that the software will do a scan of any external drives I plug in – like hard drives, flash drives, or media cards. I also like that I can ‘train’ the system to better distinguish between e-mail messages that might seem spammy on initial review but are ones that I really do want to get and actual spam. You can control how the software protects your files, applications and Internet data separately and you can also use Kaspersky to create a ‘rescue disk’ for your system or clear all of your privacy and history settings.

I have set up the parental controls for each of my girls – and that was a very quick and easy process. You can control not only their Internet usage but also how and when they use the actual computer itself if you wish. You can also allow or block certain applications on the computer from running if you choose – which is a great option if you don’t have separate logins for each child or have software installed for an older child that you don’t want a younger one accidentally opening. My biggest requirement when it comes to parental controls is to specifically block or allow various websites (along with general categories) and Kaspersky offers that option. I also have it limiting each of my kids to the 30 minutes per day that we allow them to be online – which works extremely well for us. You can also set the system up to monitor for usage of certain words and you can view usage reports of what your children are doing online any time you wish too. Another thing I really like is that you can use the parental controls to protect your kids from accidentally giving out personal information online. As my kids are getting older and going online more often – especially for school research and projects, I feel so much better knowing that I’m doing everything I can do to keep them safe.

The bottom line:

So far I’ve been very happy with how Kaspersky Internet Security has been working on both of the computers I have it installed on. I haven’t noticed any differences in how the computers run and am glad that it even runs security updates behind the scenes – I know it’s updating when I see the little ‘earth’ icon on the ‘K’ button down in my system tray but there’s nothing that pops up or otherwise interrupts my work. I like that this software offers so much more than just anti-virus protection, because I do truly need more than ‘just’ protection from viruses.

Where can you find it?:

You can purchase Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 directly from their website at http://usa.kaspersky.com or also at Amazon (affiliate link) – and you can find it in retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. List price for the software is $79.95 for a one-year license for up to 3 PCs, or you can purchase a one-year single-user license for $59.95. For more information you can visit the Kaspersky Labs Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

This post courtesy of: Kaspersky Labs and the Family Review Network, who provided the product for review. No payment or compensation, other than product samples as described above, was received for this post. All opinions given here are solely my own or those of my family.

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