Kaspersky Launches Free Antivirus

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 52 Comments

Kaspersky Launches Free Antivirus

It’s not available in the US yet, but Kaspersky Labs this week announced a free version of its flagship antivirus solution.

“We’ve been working on this release for a good year-and-a-half, with pilot versions in a few regions, research, analysis, tweaks and the rest of it,” Kaspersky Labs Eugene Kaspersky writes. “And we realized we had to do one thing, and fast: Roll out a Kaspersky Labs freebie all over the planet!”

Kaspersky Free, as the product is called, is aimed at those who can’t afford the $50 or more that retail AV products cost. And because it works better than Microsoft’s (also free, and bundled in Windows) Defender product—according to Mr. Kaspersky, anyway—everyone will benefit from the Internet being just that much safer.

As important, Kaspersky says that the free product won’t compete with the company’s paid products because it’s only AV. Those who do pay the $50 premium for the paid version get additional features like parental controls, online payment protection, a secure VPN connection, and more, he says.

That said, Kaspersky Free does appear to offer the essentials: AV protection across file, email and web, with self-defense and quarantine capabilities “This arsenal ensures convenient and safe web surfing, working with USB sticks and other portable storage media, and protection against both phishing and infected files being run,” Kaspersky says. “In short, the indispensable basics that no one on the planet should do without.” It also takes up fewer system resources than its paid siblings.

The bad news, if you want such a thing, is that Kaspersky Free is not yet available in the United States. Today, it’s available in Russia, Ukraine, China, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. And then the US, Canada, and other countries will get access to Kaspersky Free in a wave two release over the next month. The product will be rolled out globally by November, the company says.

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Comments (52)

52 responses to “Kaspersky Launches Free Antivirus”

  1. Narg

    I do not trust this Russian company, not one bit. Sorry. No, not sorry...

    • IanM

      In reply to Narg:
      Narg makes a really interesting point here. How can we trust companies to be fully independent from their countries' intelligence agencies? And let's not kid ourselves that the US is entirely innocent in this regard!


      • chrisrut

        In reply to IanM: Agreed. I think Narg's concerns are well-founded. The "computer spook" agencies would have to be brain-dead stupid to not put as many of their people as possible inside security companies, particularly when said company is located within one's borders.

        I just hope our spooks are better than "their" spooks.

        As I've mentioned in other posts, I take the DOD's - and hell, even China's official nods toward W10 (with their own encryption tools) as unmistakable handwriting on the wall. W10 is more secure.

    • barry505

      In reply to Narg:

      Besides that, it's completely unnecessary. I've been using nothing but Microsoft Security Essentials and now the built-in Defender since the XP days, and have never had a virus.

      • Jaxidian

        In reply to barry505:

        Perhaps that's your (valid) experience but I think that experience is insufficient to say that Kaspersky offers no value beyond MSE/Defender to others. You're probably an experienced enough person to avoid most ways people pick up a virus. For people not as smart as you, Kaspersky can have some real value in protecting them.

      • johnlavey

        In reply to barry505: Same here. Defender now also scans and REPORTS to me. How can you beat that no cost antivirus?


    • Waethorn

      In reply to Narg:

      It's not okay to have software ties to a former-Communist country, but having manufacturing tied to a fully-Communist country is just fine?


      #hypocrisy

      • RonH

        In reply to Waethorn:

        That could be an interesting topic for a full post.

      • Narg

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Style of government is not in question. Intentions of their State is...

        • Waethorn

          In reply to Narg:

          China is taking over all of the US's debt to undermine their economy. They also install spyware onto hardware. Just look at the recent news of forced spyware installation in Xinjiang. The Chinese government isn't even concealing it.


          What proof do you have of any intentions of Russia as a counter-argument? #fakenews?

          • chrisrut

            In reply to Waethorn: China wants to own the US, not wreck it. Microsoft's F/Us with Nokia notwithstanding, you don't typically buy something just to wreck it. They want the unfettered right to sell us stuff.


            • Waethorn

              In reply to chrisrut:

              Um....what?!?


              You can't own a country's economy without breaking it first. If China own's the US, it'll put people out of jobs. They'll be consumer slaves where their own citizens are already producer slaves.

  2. Gary Dexter

    You forgot to mention the most important part..


    "The company says the software isn't riddled with advertisements like other free antivirus offerings. Instead of trying to make ad money off your patronage, Kaspersky will use the data you contribute to improve machine learning across its products"

  3. Martin Pelletier

    BitDefender has one too

  4. DaveHelps

    I wonder if or how the paid product will fall back to the free product should the user allow their license to expire?


    And moreover, whether it will do so in a way that harms consumers by not informing them about other free products they can use...</snark> :)

  5. rth314

    Seems like it would have been reasonable to mention that the U.S. government has warned citizens against using products made by Kaspersky Labs, and has banned their products on U.S. government computers. And to find out that Michael Flynn received $11,250 from Kaspersky makes me pause before accepting "free" products from this cast of characters.

  6. SRLRacing

    Russiaphobia aside. I have never trusted Kaspersky. Back in the XP days, I used to find malware, Trojans, and viruses all the time that were identified as being from them. I would not put any of their products anywhere nears my information.

  7. mruszczyk

    If I feel the need to install a home AV for users I support I tend towards the free offering from Sophos. https://home.sophos.com/ It's not ad ridden and doesn't compete with a consumer level offering from the same provider so they are not trying to upsell anything.

  8. George Rae

    I'm sure this marketing move isn't related to the GSA dropping them as a vendor and other issues surrounding them. Google Kaspersky and siloviki plenty of stories going back to 2012 about this.

  9. John Scott

    Lot of poor countries have users running Windows XP yet, or Windows 7. Probably don't spend money on security. I used to be a solid AVG user but Defender in Windows 10 has done Ok for me. Malwarebytes is a good backup scanner.

  10. MikeGalos

    Let's see:

    Windows already includes full anti-malware that works just fine (disclaimer, I worked on an earlier version)

    Kaspersky has ties to the Russian government

    Why would I want this?

    • Waethorn

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      So what if Kaspersky does have ties to the Russian government.


      Microsoft's manufacturing partners have ties to the Chinese government.


      And Microsoft deflects questions about tech support scams from India (where the vast majority of them come from) because "it insults the CEO's heritage".

      • skane2600

        In reply to Waethorn:

        The concern over Russia relates to spying on the US, I've never heard that MS products manufactured by partners that "have ties to the Chinese government" have been compromised.

      • rameshthanikodi

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Dude. How are you not getting this? Russians have been behind many state-sponsored attacks and are known for spying, China less so, and no one is talking about using chinese software here. China is mostly involved with hardware and if you don't trust their hardware then you probably have an issue with globalism in the first place, more than China.

        • Waethorn

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          All I have to say is:


          Where's the beef?


          China has been spying on citizens and foreign nationals for years - they don't even conceal that fact. Where is the proof on state-sponsored attacks from Russia? Even the billionaire Clinton Foundation can't provide that.


    • Brian Devins

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Fully agreed. I'd advise anyone to search for "Kaspersky Russian intelligence" before deciding whether they want that software on their computers.

      Windows Defender is all a reasonably responsible computer user needs to stay safe. It's a great product from a trustworthy company.

  11. Waethorn

    No.


    Not even once.

  12. Waethorn

    Kaspersky is just crap anyway. I don't trust it because they've had numerous false positives that bork Windows, and security researchers are saying that it itself is insecure, and makes the computer LESS secure - not more. Kaspersky has fought Microsoft before to reduce security in Windows so that Kaspersky can sell a product.


    Kaspersky is just catching up to the premium up-sell market on this one. It's ad-ware to sell their full security suite. Nothing more.

  13. oao

    Aside from the connection to Russian intelligence, I tried to install their products and they give you no control over where you want them installed. I never allow this for any software -- it reflects disrespect for the user and cannot be trusted.