Beijing based software development company Kingsoft Corporation – the one responsible for two excellent products: Kingsoft PC Doctor and Kingsoft Office - has released a new free antivirus software Kingsoft Antivirus 2012. Previously Kingsoft Antivirus was part of the now defunct Kingsoft Internet Security package which also includes Kingsoft Firewall and Kingsoft Antispyware programs. The new antivirus is a standalone product and is available free of cost as opposed to Kingsoft Internet Security.
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 is designed to work along with other antivirus products despite being a real-time antivirus and antimalware scanner. There might be a few exception. The developers warn that VIPRE Antivirus, Ad-aware, UnThreat and other products using the Vipre engine are not compatible with Kingsoft Antivirus 2012.
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 is a cloud powered antivirus program, meaning it will query the cloud servers to check on the status of the scanned file. However, unlike other cloud based antivirus programs this particular one is not helpless and orphaned when disconnected from the internet. When offline, the antivirus continues to protect the user by resorting to heuristics and behavior analysis. In addition, Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 includes additional modules that proactively protect users when using chat programs, browsing the Internet, and downloading files.
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 offers three types of scan:
- Full Scan – Completely scan of all files stored on the hard disk
- Quick Scan - Scan system file folders and other sensitive areas, to block threats from viruses
- Custom Scan – Scan only selected locations
The antivirus also offers a separate USB Drive Scan, and can actively block execution of any autorun programs, although this feature is not enabled by default.
Aside from the antivirus scanner, Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 includes several “defense” modules:
- Web Defense – Protects users surfing online, blocks malicious URL injection, and defends computer privacy and security
- IM Defense - Protects users while chatting with IM software, like MSN, ICQ, AOL etc
- Video Defense - Protect users' computer security while watching online videos
- Download Shield - Block suspicious files away from being downloaded to computer
- USB Defense - Block viruses which spread through removable USB drives.
In addition, Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 prevents Internet Explorer homepage hijacks and also includes a system vulnerability scanner identical to the one we saw on Kingsoft PC Doctor. The vulnerability scanner scans the computer for known system vulnerabilities for which hotfixes are available. The scanner, when allowed by the user, will also download and install these hotfixes.
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 appears to be a fine cloud based antivirus program that can provide an additional level of protection over and above that provided by your regular antivirus program.
There is one thing about which I want to protest and that is the lack of information. Kingsoft is not very clear as to how the cloud scanner works, and whether all files are uploaded to the cloud for scanning. According to their blog post, the antivirus auto updates local detection database daily. That sounds like regular virus definition files, but I’m not sure. Details about their new product is scarce and no independent antivirus testing organization has tested their scanners so far.
Does that mean you should be wary of Kingsoft Antivirus? I don’t think so. I’ve used and reviewed Kingsoft PC Doctor before and it’s an impressive product. Kingsoft Office is also an incredible free Microsoft Office alternative and their Android office app is arguably the best office program on the Android platform.
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 is extremely lightweight and should be a nice supplement to existing antivirus programs.