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Monday, May 15, 2006

Kaspersky Internet Security 6

Quick—think of three antivirus programs. Are they all from American companies? If so, you may want to broaden your horizons. This full-scale security suite from Moscow adds spyware protection, a spam filter, and a powerful firewall to the well-respected Kaspersky Anti-Virus (KAV)—a household name in Russia and Europe but less well known in the U.S.

Independent antivirus testing labs give KAV high marks. West Coast Labs awarded it Checkmark certification for virus detection and removal as well as for Trojan and spyware detection. ICSA Labs certifies it for virus detection, and Virus Bulletin has given it the VB100% award. You won't find the protection for private data or the parental control that many other suites offer, but all the essentials are there.

KAV includes features designed to block as yet unknown threats, commonly called zero-day attacks. Real-world tests by AVtest.org show that the antivirus really is effective against such assaults (and the company is quicker than most to boil a new threat down into an identifying signature).

KAV saves time by scanning only new files and those that have changed since the last scan. With previous versions, that could cause problems. The method used to mark files as having been scanned, Alternate Data Streams, caused some other detection tools to report that a malicious rootkit might be present. Though Kaspersky maintains there's no way that malware could have taken advantage of the technology, the company now uses a different approach. The speedup in scanning is impressive; I haven't seen anything quite like it in other security products.

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