Kaspersky Labs brings free anti-virus to counter Windows Defender

Kaspersky Labs has released a free anti-virus software to take on traditional freeware, including Windows Defender.

Picture for representation
An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cyber security company. Reuters

Taking a note from the swift increase of malware and spyware on personal computers, Kaspersky Labs has released its free anti-virus software. The new offering is a result of the development that was in the pipeline for more than a year.

Called Kaspersky Free, the software offers essential scanning that moves from system files and USB storage devices to emails and the Web. There are also basic features like automatic updates, self-defense and quarantine among others. However, the free model is not extended to advanced options such as privacy protection, parental control and safer online transactions.

You can opt for the advancements and add features like an online payment protection and a secure connection via VPN (virtual private network) to the free version by paying US$50.

Competitive move against traditional freeware

Mainly, the aim of releasing Kaspersky Free is apparently to take on traditional freeware, including Microsoft's Windows Defender that comes pre-installed on Windows 10 systems. "There are a lot of users who don't have the ~$50 to spend on premium protection; therefore, they install traditional freebies (which have more holes than Swiss cheese for malware to slip through) or they even rely on Windows Defender," the Kaspersky Labs team writes in a blog post.

Notably, the free software development emerges weeks after Moscow-headquartered Kaspersky Labs called Microsoft a "monopolist" for allegedly disabling its anti-virus programs on Windows platform.

Successful pilot

The Kaspersky Free software has been piloted in regions such as the Russia-Ukraine-Belarus belt, China and in the Nordic countries where it is claimed to have achieved several million installations with "zero promo" activity. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that the anti-virus is coming anytime soon to your system.

Partial global rollout

The global rollout of the free Kaspersky version is planned for the next four months with the first wave specific to the US, Canada and some Asia Pacific countries. The software will hit regions like India, Hong Kong, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Latin America in September and reach Europe, Japan and South Korea in October.