Kaspersky Labs is celebrating its 20th anniversary by releasing a free version of its antivirus software that will expand the company’s market share and give it a larger user base from which to gather threat data from.
A number of other security vendors offer free AV software to users to boost their real time data collection capabilities, protecting both free and premium users from a wider variety of threats and mitigating ever more complex cyberattacks.
However Kaspersky argues the cost of premium antivirus and the inadequacy of some services, specifically mentioning Windows Defender, meant many systems have “holes” in their protection.
The company says ‘Kaspersky Free’ will not compete with its premium offering, which includes parental controls, VPN access and other features, and will in fact strengthen it because of the additional threat data.
“[Kaspersky Free] is a version with all the bare essentials: file, email and web antivirus; automatic updates, self-defense; quarantine; and so on,” said CEO Eugene Kaspersky.
“This arsenal ensures convenient and safe web surfing (is it still surfing? Sounds a bit 90s to me), working with USB sticks and other portable storage media, and protection against both phishing and infected files being run. In short, the indispensable basics that no one on the planet should do without.
“Kaspersky Free is also lighter on system resources and quicker than its big brothers. It’s based on the same technologies as those older brothers, which you all know always come out on top in independent testing. This means that, though it features just the bare basics, it still packs a punch – a punch we’re no less proud of.
“The same protection without compromise: we detect any cyberthreat regardless of its origin or intention – even if certain folks don’t like it. At the same time Kaspersky Free doesn’t come cut with all the usual nonsense like advertising-oriented user-habit tracking and confidentiality infringements – which free AV normally suffers badly from in order to make it financially worthwhile to its manufacturers.”
Kaspersky said it had been working on ‘Kaspersky Free’ for more than a year and noted that without any marketing activities, the product had been downloaded several million times in the test markets of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China and the Nordic countries.
The global rollout will be staggered, starting in the USA, Canada and Asia, before arriving in Europe and the UK this October.
The company has had a spot of bother in the US recently, where it has been accused by the US government of having ties with the Kremlin – an allegation Kaspersky vehemently denies. Indeed, Eugene Kaspersky has offered to release its source code to the US government.