Kaspersky is finally offering top-notch antivirus protection for free

Kaspersky Lab has provided a stellar antivirus program for some time now, but until now users have had to pay to download it.

But now, the company has announced it is making a pared-down version of the software available free of charge, for the first time.

Kaspersky Free comes with antivirus protection for files, emails, and the web, plus there’s added features such as automatic updates and a quarantine for flagged files.

Related: Best Free Antivirus

It also works with USB sticks and other portable storage media, and provides protection against both phishing and infected files being run.

The paid version comes with even more features, including Parental Control, Online Payment Protection, and Secure Connection, but it’s undoubtedly a welcome development to see a free version arriving.

The company wrote in a blog post: “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!).”

And it seems the new version will have a net benefit for all users, as Kaspersky is planning on using the data from the free version to increase the information available in its protection databases to bolster all its antivirus protection.

As the post explains: “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.”

In terms of performance, the company is promising that Kaspersky Free is lighter on system resources than the more fully-featured version, and that it will run quicker.

On top of that, you can expect an ad-free experience, unlike with most free software packages, with Kaspersky promising a lack of “advertising-oriented user-habit tracking and confidentiality infringements.”

Kasperky’s free software has launched in the US, Canada, and “many of the Asia Pacific countries”, and will begin arriving in other countries over the next four months, with Europe scheduled to get it in October.

Will you be downloading the free antivirus? Tweet us @trustedreviews.