Kaspersky offered Kaspersky Antivirus Free to certain countries for quite a while. But yesterday, Kaspersky finally released it for everyone to use, worldwide.
Kaspersky Antivirus Free however does come with few limitations however (no way, really? 😀 ). As you can see from the main panel image, they disabled few options. And this trend continues in settings as well…
While most features missing in settings aren’t big show stoppers, lack of SystemWatcher however is. A bit. SystemWatcher is Kaspersky’s flagship behavioral blocker which is very powerful. Missing this component in Free version means it’ll perform considerably worse than their paid versions. Only consolation is the fact that Free version still connects to KSN, Kaspersky’s cloud system which does interact with SystemWatcher component on paid versions, meaning Free users benefit from SystemWatcher, but indirectly rather than directly. In an essence, a paid user of Kaspersky has to encounter a super brand new malware, that person will then supply the detection metrics to the KSN and you as a Free user will receive protection against that malware from someone else’s SystemWatcher indirectly via KSN.
This is how a detection dialog looks now on Windows 10. It’s utilizing native Windows notification system to show malware detection alerts.
While I don’t think it’ll pose an immediate threat to avast! or AVG which do provide full behavior blocker even in their Free version, it’s nice to have another option among free antiviruses. Kaspersky, despite lacking some core protection features will for sure still provide sufficient protection beyond what most of other free antiviruses provide. That especially applies to Windows Defender.
Only thing that is still uncertain is the fact that license says it will last for 365 days. What happens after that? avast!, AVG, AVIRA, Panda Antivirus free, all these are free forever. Will Kaspersky Antivirus Free only be “free” just for one year and then the fun is over or can you extend/renew this? Can’t find any info on this. We’ll see I guess…
It seems Kaspersky Antivirus Free will be available for more than 1 year (365 days license). Some user on Kaspersky forum changed his date to 2020 and Kaspersky Antivirus Free said it expired and that it has limited functionality. After clicking RENEW button, he got another 365 days license. So, I guess that explains it all. Things may change down the line, but it seems to be set for free renewals as things stand now.