Kaspersky is now rolling out a free version of its popular anti-virus software which is designed to safeguard systems against various types of security threats. As of now, the free version is available in the United States, Canada and a few Asia-Pacific countries. The anti-virus software will gradually be made available in various other countries as well, the company said.

Kaspersky Free
Image source: Pixabay

Not an alternative to the paid version

Kaspersky Free offers components aimed at protecting computers from threats such as network attacks and others. Each component of the anti-virus software is designed to handle different types of threats. It is up to the user to decide which component they want to activate or deactivate.

When releasing the anti-virus software, Kaspersky stated that it does not have any plan to replace the paid version with the free one and that the free offering is “the bare essentials” for services such as web antivirus and email protection. The free software uses the same technology as the paid one, although the company added that it is lighter on resources than the paid one. Further, unlike other free resources, there will be no advertising or tracking of user behavior, the company promised.

The launch of Kaspersky Free coincides with the company’s 20th birthday. Kaspersky has been working on the free version for the past 18 months, and the trial version of it was available in various markets, such as China, Ukraine, Russia and some Scandinavian countries.

Why a free version?

Explaining why they are rolling out a free version of their software, CEO Eugene Kaspersky said, “An increase in the number of installations of Kaspersky Free will positively affect the quality of protection of all users, since the big-data-bases will have more numbers to work with to better hone the machine learning.”

When announcing the Kaspersky Free anti-virus software, the CEO couldn’t resist taking a dig at Microsoft.

“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 (ye gods!),” he said.

Windows users will be able to download the free product directly from the Kaspersky website. The package will not be offered as a localized version, and therefore, a stub installer will be needed to download it, notes ghacks.net. The file size is 140 megabytes.

Kaspersky Free has no backdoors

Bloomberg recently noted that the Moscow-based company has had a close working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, but it has shied away from admitting this. Even though Kaspersky has denied any such alliance, the United States went ahead and blocked the company from its list of government-approved vendors.

Eugene, however, stands strong on their claim, stating that the free version will offer the same protection from malware without any compromise.

“The same protection without compromise: we detect any cyberthreat regardless of its origin or intention – even if certain folks don’t like it,” he said.