Let’s face it: the world Wide Web is no longer just a place to ‘surf’- We use Gmail; we participate in discussions on forums; we buy things on Amazon (and pay for them on PayPal); we foot our bills via online banking; we check our Facebook status…well, you get the idea. In this article, we take a look at Kaspersky Internet Security, now in its 2011 edition. It aims to give you an all round protection from ‘nasties’ such as viruses and malware, intrusions from hackers, phishing attempts, spam and banners, and dangerous websites. It costs $46 for single PC use, $70 for three, and $100 for five. Yearly renewal fees are pegged at $38, $58.90, and $80 respectively.

Safe Surf is the new headline tool in KIS 2011. It checks URLs against a database and informs you if it deems a requested URL dangerous. However, the final decision still lies with you: you can proceed to load the website, or return to the previous page, in the case when it’s unsure, it’d give you an option to run it in a ‘sandbox’ (more on that later). I could totally see the benefits of Safe Surf for users who without such warnings or promptings would go about clicking every link that catches their attention.

Parents would also be glad to find the extensive parental controls in KIS. You can set when and for how long the computer and the internet can be used, what applications or sites a user profile can have access to, and what data can be transmitted. And get this, you can even limit whom your child can receive messages from or send to in IM clients (such as MSN) and social networking sites (such as Facebook).

Another improved feature in KIS is the Safe Run mode. It can be used either for websites or applications. In this mode, a ‘sandbox’ is created to keep the rest of the system safe. A green border around the browser or desktop tells you that Safe Run is activated. A piece of advice here: if you’ve downloaded a file, and you want to keep it, you need to move it to the Safe Run shared folder before exiting Safe Run mode. Otherwise, the file would be removed. During testing, I intentionally downloaded and ran a piece of malware, within a minute, the system slowed to a crawl. The cure was simple enough: I exited Safe Run. All traces of infection disappeared. Lastly, for those who transact online frequently, and are afraid of their user names and passwords getting stolen by keyloggers, within the Safe Run tab is also where you’ll find the virtual keyboard.

Between Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti Virus, I’d recommend going for the former. It’s a no brainer really, since it includes the anti virus software, as well as a slew of other web related security tools (some of which are discussed above). And despite the staggering number of settings, l found them to be sensibly categorized and easy to locate, it was quite light on system resources too. All in all, if you spend a lot of time online and have 46 bucks to spare, do check out Kaspersky Internet Security 2011. It might just save your digital life.