How to uninstall kaspersky security cloud?
The Bottom Line
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers full-scale malware protection and even some suite-level features. It gets superb scores from the independent labs, and it won't cost you a penny.
- Settings and Scans
- Near-Perfect Lab Scores
- Hands-On Malware Protection Testing
- Perfect Phishing Protection Score
- Impressive Ransomware Protection
- Kaspersky Secure Connection
- More Tools, But Not All of Them
- Clean and Optimize
- Mobile Protection
- What's Not Here
- Excellent Free Security
Perfect or near-perfect scores from four independent testing labs.
Perfect score in our phishing protection test.
Good scores in our malware-blocking and malicious URL blocking tests.
Support for Android and iOS.
No direct tech support.
Editors' Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Lab's inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven, and continue to recommend Kaspersky's security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.
Everybody needs the protection of a powerful, effective antivirus utility, even people who think they can't afford one. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers all of Kaspersky's malware-fighting technology, minus some of the frills and bonus features. It doesn't cost anything, and independent testing labs give its protection excellent marks. It's an Editors' Choice for free antivirus protection.
Like most free antivirus software, Kaspersky Free is only free for noncommercial use. During installation, you create or log into your My Kaspersky account for full activation. The product also installs a toolbar for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, providing markup for dangerous links in search results and access to the on-screen keyboard.
Kaspersky Free automatically updates its antivirus database signatures in the background, but it couldn't hurt to manually call for an update right after installation.
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This product isn't modeled on the commercial Kaspersky Anti-Virus. Rather, it has the same bones as the high-end Kaspersky Security Cloud suite. Eight button panels carry the names Scan, Database Update, PC Cleaner, Password Manager, Privacy Protection, Safe Money, My Kaspersky, and Secure Connection. PC Cleaner, Privacy Protection, and Safe Money carry shield-shaped overlay icons that mean they're not available in the free edition, while Password Manager is a separate download.
Even this free version comes with the same feature-limited Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN that Kaspersky distributes with the paid suite and antivirus products. Clicking the More Tools button brings up a collection of five more tool categories. For most of the categories, some or all tools are locked away, only available if you upgrade to the commercial edition. I'll cover those tools later in this review.
If you need help using this free product, you can poke around in the FAQs and online documentation, or ask around in the forums, but that's about it. Those using the paid edition can get support via phone or online live chat, which can be very helpful.
Settings and Scans
Kaspersky's settings are simpler than some competitors. The Protection tab lists six types of protection, including scanning for malware in files, on the web, and in mail and instant messages. There's also the System Watcher component, a behavior-based system that can detect even zero-day malware. And the Network Attack Blocker aims to prevent dangerous network activity. All six features are enabled by default. When I last reviewed Kaspersky Free, the toggles were locked in the enabled position; the current edition lets you turn things on and off.
Scrolling down reveals 10 more toggles. However, these all relate to components that aren't available in the free edition.
A full scan with Kaspersky Free ran in 70 minutes, which is not bad given, the current average of 75 minutes. Like many antivirus products, Kaspersky can perform optimization during the initial scan to speed subsequent scans. When I last reviewed this product, "Scan only new and changed files" was turned off by default; now it's turned on out of the box. And it works; a second scan finished in less than five minutes.
Once you perform that initial full scan, the real-time protection and System Watch components should take care of any new attempts to subvert your computer. If you wish, you can set a schedule to run a full scan, a quick scan, or a vulnerability scan daily, weekly, or monthly.
Near-Perfect Lab Scores
Independent antivirus testing labs devote tremendous resources to evaluating antivirus products. I follow four labs that release regular reports on their findings. For as long as I can remember, Kaspersky has always taken perfect or near-perfect scores from all four. I should point out that the labs didn't specifically test the free edition, but given that free users now get all antivirus features, including the behavior-based System Watch, results should be comparable.
The experts at AV-Test Institute rate antivirus products on three criteria, powerful malware protection, low performance impact, and small number of false positives (valid files or URLs identified as dangerous). A product can earn six points in each category, for a maximum possible score of 18. That's just what Kaspersky did. F-Secure, Norton, and (for the first time) Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center also scored a perfect 18.
Tests by SE Labs simulate the actual user experience as closely as possible. Researchers capture real-world malicious websites and use a replay system to hit every product with the same attack. This lab offers certification at five levels: AAA, AA, A, B, and C. Kaspersky took AAA in the latest test, along with ESET, Trend Micro, and a few others.
Of the many tests regularly reported by AV-Comparatives, I follow four. Any product that passes a test gets Standard certification. Those that do especially well can earn Advanced or Advanced+ certification. Kaspersky took Advanced+ in three tests but only reached Advanced in the fourth, its only not-quite-perfect score.
Where most of the labs offer a range of scores, tests by MRG-Effitas use more of a pass/fail model. About half the tested products passed this lab's banking Trojans test, Kaspersky among them. Another test aims to measure protection against all kinds of malware. Level 1 certification identifies a product that directly prevents all malware infestations, while Level 2 goes to antivirus utilities that remediate all attacks within a day. Kaspersky earned Level 1 certification.
I use a formula to come up with an aggregate lab score, up to a maximum of 10 points. With all perfect scores except one near-perfect, Kaspersky's aggregate score is an impressive 9.9 points. Bitdefender also earned 9.9 points, also with just one not-quite-perfect score.
The free antivirus tools from Avast and Avira are among the few other free products tested by all four labs. My aggregate algorithm yields 9.0 for Avast and 9.7 for Avira Antivirus.
Hands-On Malware Protection Testing
When the labs unanimously praise an antivirus, you know it's very good indeed. Even so, I always run my own hands-on malware protection tests, to get a feel for each program's style. The test starts when I open a folder containing my current collection of malware samples.
When the flurry of popup notifications ended, Kaspersky had eliminated 85 percent of the samples on sight. In a couple cases, it disinfected a virus, leaving the host file malware-free. It identified a few others as unwanted but not necessarily malicious. I let it delete those as well. I ran this test (and all my tests) simultaneously on Kaspersky Anti-Virus($29.99 at Kaspersky Lab North America), with identical results.
After Kaspersky finished wiping out the samples it recognized on sight, I launched the survivors. It caught some of those as they tried to install, but let other pass by unmolested. One way or another, Kaspersky detected 87 percent of the samples and scored 8.7 of 10 possible points, a decent score, but not a great one. Tested against these same samples, Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus managed 100 percent detection and scored 9.7 points. Norton also scored 9.7 points, but I tested it using my previous set of samples, so results aren't directly comparable.
It takes a substantial investment of time and effort to prepare a set of malware samples for my detailed analysis, so I don't change that collection often. My malicious URL blocking test, on the other hand, uses the latest URLs discovered by MRG-Effitas, typically just a few days old.
The test itself is simple. I launch each URL, discarding any that are already defunct, or that don't truly point to malware. I note whether the antivirus blocks all access to the URL, eliminates the downloaded malware, or fails utterly. When I have around 100 data points, I check the stats.
Kaspersky blocked all access to 84 percent of the URLs. It blocked another 5 percent at download time, for a total of 89 percent detection. I did not attempt to execute the files, as this test specifically measures features that prevent download of malware to your PC.
That score of 89 percent is decent, but 11 recent products have done better. In particular, Trend Micro scored 99 percent, while McAfee and Sophos Home Free earned 97 percent.
Looking at free products, Avira protected against 96 percent of the malware downloads, and Windows Defender managed 93 percent. Avast and AVG AntiVirus Free were among those scoring 90 percent or better.
Perfect Phishing Protection Score
Where malware seeks to sneak past your computer's security, phishing attacks aim to sneak past your own common sense. The fraudsters prepare websites that look exactly like PayPal, or eBay, or your bank. Sometimes the URLs are close, like pyapal.com or bankofamorica.com. If you miss the warning signs and log in with your username and password, you've just given away your account to the bad guys.
Modern browsers have phishing detection built in, but the best security products outperform the browsers in my antiphishing test. To prepare for this test, I scour the web for the newest reported phishing URLs, preferably those so new they haven't hit the blacklists. I launch each URL simultaneously in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and in a browser protected by the product under test.
Just as it did last year, Kaspersky aced this test, with 100 percent detection, tying with McAfee for the top score. Tested at the same time, Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also scored 100 percent. Quite a few products have displayed near-perfect phishing detection. Bitdefender and Trend Micro scored 99 percent detection in their latest tests, while Avast and AVG took 98 percent.
Impressive Ransomware Protection
Kaspersky's System Watcher component aims to detect ransomware and other malicious software based on behavior. It should have no trouble handling even the newest attacks. I test such ransomware protection components by turning off the main file antivirus, simulating a situation where that component misses the attack. In my previous review I couldn't do that, because the free product didn't allow toggling components on and off. This time I had no trouble turning off File Anti-Virus and, for good measure, Web Anti-Virus.
With my virtual machine testbed isolated from the internet, I launched a diverse collection of real-world ransomware samples. In most cases, System Watcher detected suspicious activity, terminated the attacker, and offered to disinfect the system and reboot. For a couple of them, it simply deleted the suspicious program. Another couple of samples apparently refrained from any malicious activity, perhaps because they detected Kaspersky's presence.
Most of my samples are file-encrypting ransomware, the most common type. Kaspersky had no trouble dealing with my one whole-disk-encrypting sample. I also have a single screen locker sample, the kind that takes over your desktop and won't let you do anything until you pay. This one got past System Watcher. However, Kaspersky has a built-in system for breaking through this kind of lock. I simply Googled the lock-breaker key combination—it worked! You can type this configurable key combination (by default it's Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F4) to spur Kaspersky to act even when your PC's interface is locked, as it was here.
I also ran the RanSim ransomware simulator from KnowBe4. This tool simulates 10 techniques used by ransomware, along with a couple of legitimate uses of encryption. Kaspersky correctly left the legitimate scenarios alone and blocked all but one of the ransomware scenarios. I don't ding antivirus tools for a low score in this test—after all, the scenarios aren't real ransomware. But getting a good score is a plus.
Kaspersky did fail one test, but I can't blame it. I have a small program that simulates encrypting ransomware in a extremely simple-minded way. It finds all text files in the Documents folder and uses reversible XOR encryption on them. Protection systems that rely on blocking unauthorized access to the contents of protected folders typically fend off this test. However, its utter lack of sophistication let it fly beneath the radar of System Watcher.
Kaspersky Secure Connection
All programs in the current Kaspersky product line come with a bandwidth-capped copy of Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN. You can use 200MB of secured connectivity per day on each device, and the VPN chooses the server you'll use. For $4.99 per month, you can upgrade to the premium edition, which removes the bandwidth cap and lets you choose the country you want to use for your connection. Please read our review of the VPN for full details.
Bitdefender's product line offers a very similar VPN arrangement, with 200MB and no server choice for free, or unlimited bandwidth and choice of servers for a premium. It's no surprise that the two are similar, since both are backed by the server network of AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite. We have dinged Hotspot Shield in past reviews for some iffy privacy policies. Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky put severe limits on the user info they share with AnchorFree.
More Tools, But Not All of Them
As noted, this product is a free version of Kaspersky Security Cloud, not Kaspersky Anti-Virus. When you click More Tools, you see an impressive multi-page collection of additional tools. However, since this is the free edition, many of them are locked away.
The main Security page gives you a view of quarantined files, a system to create a bootable rescue disk, and a report of stats from the Kaspersky Security Network. In addition, the Weak Settings Control scan checks for Windows settings that make your PC vulnerable to attack. These are all available in the free edition.
By contrast, all the tools on the My Network and Manage Applications pages are premium-only. These include a network activity monitor, a software update scanner, and a whitelist-type system that can block all but trusted applications from running.
On the Data Protection page, backup, encryption, and a hard drive health tool are locked. But even free users get a file shredder, designed to securely delete sensitive data so nobody can recover it. The on-screen keyboard, which lets you foil keyloggers that try to steal your passwords, is also free.
Clean and Optimize
The tools on the page titled Clean and optimize aren't security tools as such, and they have certain limitations. These scans can be helpful, but they feel dated, and they overlap in places. I'd like to see a remodel on the cleaning and optimizing area, perhaps rolling all four scans into one.
The Unused Data Cleaner aims to help you stop wasting disk space on useless files. After a speedy scan, it displays strongly recommended actions, recommended actions, and additional actions. Clearing temp files and browser caches are strongly recommended, and emptying the Recycle Bin is recommended. Among additional actions I found clearing the Recent Documents list and emptying the thumbnail cache in Windows Explorer. By default, all actions are checked except the additional ones.
In a similar fashion, the Privacy Cleaner looks for and removes traces of your computer and browsing activity, organizing its findings into the same three buckets. There's some overlap with the Unused Data Cleaner. If the Privacy Cleaner causes problems, you can run it again to roll back its changes.
The Browser Configuration check sounds wide-ranging, but in truth it strictly performs diagnostics on the fading Internet Explorer. On my test system, it found a handful of problems to fix, but didn't checkmark any of them for repair by default.
Finally, there's Microsoft Windows Troubleshooting. This scan looks for damaged and non-standard system settings, whether caused by malware, a system crash or some other reason. On my test system, all the items it reported involved Autorun for different types of drives.
You can install Kaspersky Security Cloud Free on your mobile devices as well, though you don't get everything that comes with the commercial Kaspersky Security Cloud. Apps exist for Android and iOS; as usual the Android app has a lot more going on.
I sent an installation link from My Kaspersky to get the ball rolling. On my Android test device, the installer created two icons, one for Security Cloud and one for the VPN. However, when I launched Security Cloud it pointed out that it includes VPN, and wouldn't proceed until I uninstalled the separate VPN. A notification pointed out that my package includes several apps. I skipped the password manager, but made sure to install Kaspersky Internet Security for Android.
The mobile Kaspersky Internet Security app ran a quick scan immediately after installation, reporting all clear. Strangely, it advised getting network protection by installing the VPN. Right, the same app that Security Cloud insisted I remove.
In addition to malware scanning, you get a full set of anti-theft features including lock and locate, data wipe, mugshot, and alarm. It also offers to block calls from numbers that you blacklist; I couldn't test this feature because the Android device I use for testing isn't provisioned for calling.
One thing you don't get with this free installation of Kaspersky Internet Security is real-time malware protection. The App Lock and Internet Protection features also require a premium license.
Back in the main Security Cloud app, I could see that the home network monitor is also a premium feature. The free app can check known breach lists for the email address associated with your My Kaspersky account; checking other accounts is a premium feature. In testing, it found several possible breaches for me, but offered little detail and no advice on what to do, not even the full URL of the site that leaked.
The Security Live feature checks your device's settings and offers pro tips to enhance security. Another component identifies apps you rarely use, and apps that have dangerous permissions. That's about it. Note that the premium edition also comes with a license for the Kaspersky Safe Kids parental control system.
As for iOS protection, there's not much. The app includes VPN technology and offers the optional password manager. Security Live checks for weak settings and displays security news from Kaspersky. The Account Check feature works just as on Android, meaning checking additional email addresses requires an upgrade to premium.
What's Not Here
You might expect purveyors of free antivirus products to reserve the best features for paying customers, but some competing products offer quite a lot at the free level. AVG comes with a secure deletion shredder and a web protection component that marks up dangerous search results and actively foils trackers. With Avira, the bonus features come as separate installations, including a free, bandwidth-limited edition of Avira's Phantom VPN, a privacy-centered browser, a vulnerability scanner, and a price comparison tool.
Avast Free Antivirus really piles on the bonuses, at no charge. Its Wi-Fi Inspector checks all networks, wired or wireless, for security problems, and recommends fixes. It includes a full-featured (if basic) password manager, a vulnerability scanner, and an ad-stripping browser that switches to hardened Bank Mode for financial transactions. It marks up dangerous links in search results, watches for URL typos, and (like Avira) seeks better prices when you're shopping online.
Kaspersky's bonus feature collection isn't quite as sparse as that of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. However, as noted the More Tools section locks away quite a few components for premium users only.
Excellent Free Security
If you're a security-conscious person on a tight budget, you'll love the fact that Kaspersky Security Cloud Free gives you all the basics of antivirus protection at no charge. It even includes a VPN and a small collection of suite-level features. This is the same malware-fighting technology that gets top scores from the independent labs. It's true that Kaspersky didn't do quite as well in our hands-on tests, but when the labs all praise a product, we listen. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free is an Editors' Choice for free antivirus protection.
Given that the product is completely free, you can install it and kick the tires without spending a penny. But if you do, we suggest you also check out our other top-rated free antivirus utilities. It doesn't cost anything to try them, after all.