Review: Kaspersky Internet Security 2014

Version 2014 improves every aspect of last year's release, including cleaner design and faster scans.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 returns as a top-notch security suite with improved overall performance, a slight interface refresh, and new countermeasures against zero-day attacks.

Since last year's release, Kaspersky 2014's design comes with minimal changes to its interface. The mobile-style drawer also makes a return, which reveals extra tools like parental controls, network monitoring, and application controls.

The extraneous arrows and flap-like carousel buttons have all been consolidated into a single-drawer button, following Windows 8-like behaviors. The main interface has been stripped down even more for a much cleaner, uncluttered look.

Menus and settings have also gotten a much more approachable overhaul, as well; the Protection Center, for example, now looks less archaic thanks to having its older radio buttons and checkboxes replaced with a more modern toggle setting for each security function.

New in 2014 is the Application Control Center, a hybrid between a system monitor and task manager. From here, you can monitor and control what applications and process run, to reduce load on your CPU and memory usage. At first glance, it looks like a rebranded task manager, but Kaspersky incorporates a Popularity cue that indicates a level of reliability, presumably from other Kaspersky users.

Under the hood, Kaspersky also announced incorporation of an in-house built protection technology called ZETA Shield (ZETA = Zero-day Exploit and Targeted Attack). Originally unveiled last year in Kaspersky Labs, the latest version indicates its eventual trickling into the consumer versions of the company's flagship security suite.

Kaspersky is known for taking its sweet time when it comes to system scans but this year's version definitely marks a huge speed boost. Initial full scan took about 18 minutes and 43 seconds, vs. the 1 hour and 32 minutes from last year. Rootkit scans also completed at a respectable three minutes flat, vs. the eight minutes and 32 seconds scan time from version 2013.

Boot up times averaged out to be 45.43 seconds, which is slightly faster than our initial testing setup. Shut down times took a hit, averaging at 11.48 seconds vs. the normal 7.8 seconds. Cinebench scores were minimally impacted at 17147. All numbers are improvements across the board vs. last year's Internet Security edition, meaning that Kaspersky 2014 is just about in every way faster, smarter, and cleaner than its former self. That's saying something.

As of yet, both AV-Test and AV-comparatives.org have yet to post results for 2014. Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 has consistently maintained high marks in AV-Tests.org's evaluations, with perfect 6/6 scores in Protection and Usability, and a commendable 4.5/6 in Performance. However, we'd expect these numbers to go up once AV-Test releases their own evaluations of version 2014.

Kaspersky Internet Security maintains its price at $79.95, which seemed steep last year, but this year's scores indicate a well-rounded update that continues to highlight corporate level security in the hands of consumers, as marked by ZETA Shield's making its way into this year's products. Last year's excellent Safe Money features are also still present, giving you some peace of mind when logging into your financial accounts via the sandbox browser. Both Anti-Virus and Internet Security should provide ample protection for your PC and minor footprints.

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