Kaspersky has recently launched the 2015 version of their security products across North America and they will soon follow in Europe and other regions. While this version doesn't promise any spectacular new features, it does promise to provide many improvements over the 2014 edition. If you would like to learn more about what this new generation of products has to offer, read this review for Kaspersky Internet Security 2015.
You will download the full setup file which has 161MB. On top of that, the first major update of the suite will have at least 99 MB of files and it will only grow as time goes by. In total, expect to download at least 260 MB of files.
Before the installation starts, the setup searches for incompatible software and informs users when conflicts are found. This is a sensible approach that helps eliminate frustration with using Kaspersky. During the installation process you have to make only two clicks and you can't configure where the suite is installed or which modules are installed. However, any module can be easily disabled after the installation, if you don't plan to use it.
Once the installation is finished, the process for loading the security suite and enabling all its modules takes quite a bit of time. When done, its main user interface is shown, together with a message window that welcomes you to Kaspersky and informs you about this product's extra features. This window is shown each time you start the security suite unless you check the box that says "Do not show anymore".
No Windows restart is required and you can fully utilize Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 as soon as it is installed on your computer. However, its first automatic update starts after quite a bit of time and you might want to force a manual update as soon as the installation is finished.
Download and installing Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 is a an easy process that requires you to provide only an email address. The installation experience is very similar to that of previous versions which isn't a bad thing.
Integration with Windows 8.1 & Modern Apps
Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 is well integrated with Windows and all its security and networking features. When the suite is installed, it automatically disables the Windows Firewall and Windows Defender, so that it eliminates any possible conflicts and performance issues.
When it comes to integration with web-browsers, Kaspersky has a different approach from other vendors: it scans all your HTTP traffic so that you are protected in all browsers. They also offer a set of extensions that work only in Internet Explorer and Firefox: Content Blocker, Safe Money, URL Advisor and Virtual Keyboard. For Google Chrome they offer only the Virtual Keyboard and the URL Advisor while for Opera no extensions are offered.
When using this suite, I was able to access the network, share files and folders, stream media, play online games, etc. Updating modern Windows 8.1 apps also worked fine, without any manual configuration being performed. The only small integration issue we discovered is that Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 doesn't use smooth scaling icons for all its shortcuts. For some of its shortcuts still uses the same small ugly looking icons from the Windows XP era. But that's not impacting the security it provides in any way.
Kaspersky also offers Kaspersky Now - an optional app for Windows 8.1 that you can install from the Windows Store. This app keeps you updated with security news and information about Kasperky's products.
In terms of memory usage, this suite requires 87 MB of RAM, in normal conditions. When performing scans or when dealing with all kinds of attacks or malware infections, the memory usage goes up. Kaspersky does a good job at protecting its services and they cannot be terminated by users or malware. This suite is so well protected that, when using some of its features, you will have a hard time making screenshots. Screenshot taking tools like SnagIt will have a hard time taking screenshots of this suite.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 added only 1 second to our test system's boot time of 36 seconds. We also ran the PC Vantage and 3DMark Vantage benchmarks to see how much of an impact this suite has on performance. Both benchmarks did not reveal any meaningful performance difference after installing Kaspersky.
Kaspersky is well integrated with Windows 8.1 and its networking and security features. Also, it has a negligible impact on performance, which is great.
Ease of Use & Configuration
The user interface has been changed in the 2015 version. While we enjoyed the way things looked in the 2014 version, the new version has a rather weird looking interface. Yes, you can still find your way around this product and access everything you need, but our impression is that the new user interface takes a bit longer to get used to than that of the 2014 version.
As you can see, on the main screen you'll find a quick status update for this product and four big buttons that allow you to perform scans, make a product update, start Safe Money and Parental Controls.
If you press on "Show Additional Tools", you will have access to other tools that are included in this suite, as well as a few visual reports.
If you go to Settings you will first find a list with quick settings and switches for turning On and Off the different protection modules that are available. If you then select a protection module, you can change its more advanced settings. This is a good approach that works well for both novices and advanced users.
The only downside is that there is no Home button. As a result, you will end up pressing the Back button quite a lot and this might frustrate users when they go too deep in Kaspersky's configuration menus.
As always, Kaspersky offers lots of advanced configuration options. You can set complex rules for the firewall, choose the protection level you want for each module, add exclusions, configure the default scheduled scans or add your own custom scans. We very much enjoyed the fact that Kaspersky has scheduled scans for when your computer is sitting idle. Therefore, its regular quick scans and anti-rootkit scans won't bother users when they have work to do. We hope to see this approach emulated by other security vendors.
Help information is offered both in the form of local help files and online documentation. In terms of support, you can find all the available options directly in the suite. You can access online databases with tips and frequently asked questions, use the Kaspersky forums or use the built-in tools for gathering information about your device and reporting it to Kaspersky.
If you want access to more advanced support options, including support over the phone, you need to create a Kaspersky account and use it to report, track and solve your issues.
In terms of alerts, Kaspersky informs you when threats are detected and dealt with. You will see both anti-malware and firewall related prompts, only when appropriate.
When it comes to reports, Kaspersky offers both visual summaries on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, as well as detailed logs for all of its protection modules.
The user interface used by Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 is new but not necessarily better than that of the previous version. However, this product continues to work well and, after spending a bit of time learning where everything is placed, users should have no troubles in using this security product.