Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (£49.99 for one year and three PCs) placed fourth in a recent survey of 2012 security suites. Although it finished outside the top three, it's a solid all-around suite that will do an effective job at keeping you safe.

In our real-world malware blocking tests, Kaspersky's suite fully blocked all samples that it encountered. This result means that it should do very well in protecting you from brand-new, as-yet unknown malware. In addition, it detected 99.34% of known malware samples in more-traditional signature-based detection tests. On its own, that's a great showing - but believe it or not, that's merely an average result this year due to the overall strength of 2012's suites.

False positives are largely a nonissue: Kaspersky’s product misidentified only one safe file out of a pool of 250,000 files as dangerous. And the suite was effective at disinfection, detecting and disabling all sample infections on our test PC. It removed all traces of malware 60% of the time, performing slightly above average in that regard.

In general the Kaspersky suite has a low impact on PC performance, though it did slow our test machine a fair amount when we copied files over a network: It took 3 minutes, 34 seconds to complete this test, landing well behind the average of 3 minutes, 2 seconds.

It was faster than average, however, at scanning. It completed an on-demand scan (which runs when you manually click the 'Scan Now' button) of 4.5GB of data in 1 minute, 11 seconds - the third-best showing compared to its rivals, and a considerably better result than the average of 1 minute, 59 seconds for the suites we looked at. It wrapped up on-access scanning (which kicks off when you open or save a file) of 4.5GB of data in 4 minutes, 40 seconds, about 8 seconds faster than average.

On the rest of our speed tests, Kaspersky finished either around average or above average as compared with its competition.

Kaspersky gave its software a face-lift in 2012, abandoning the curiously divided interface in last year's suite. While the new interface is fine, it isn't outstanding. Kaspersky uses a fairly standard multistep wizard installer that's fairly painless, but some of the other suites we looked at this year have one-click installation processes. Once the package was installed, we navigated its screens fairly easily. The main screen gives a clear indicator of your protection status, with buttons along the bottom to adjust settings for the suite's major components. Some parts still could use a redesign, though. For example, a few panels open in the main window, while others spawn new windows, which can be a little disorienting. And from a purely aesthetic perspective, I wasn't a huge fan of the teal-and-white theme - but that's picking nits.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 falls a little short of the absolute top competitors, mainly because of the all-around strength of this year's suites. Nevertheless, Kaspersky’s latest offering is worth a look.

OUR VERDICT

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 falls a little short of the absolute top competitors, mainly because of the all-around strength of this year's suites. Nevertheless, Kaspersky’s latest offering is worth a look.