Kaspersky has released a free version of its end-point security software. Rather than taking an ad-supported route, the security software company will be using data contributed by users to improve the machine learning systems across its entire product portfolio.
According to a post on the company's blog, the new product, which has been in limited testing for a while, doesn't include features such as VPN, online payment protection and parental controls. Those remain part of the paid product suite. But you still get file, email and web antivirus with automatic updates and other basic protection features.
With Kaspersky doing battle with Microsoft over allegations of Microsoft acting anti-competitively, this seems like a good way to increase their market penetration and counter Microsoft's advantage with Defender already being part of Windows.
It's a bold move. I'm at the RSA Conference in Singapore (as a guest of RSA) and one of the things that really stands out is that there's very little focus on end-point. I've been to many security events and this is the first where end-point security vendors are barely represented. One expert I spoke with says end-point is being relegated to a bit player - a far cry from the days when it was key plank of security strategies.
Perhaps this is a way, not only of collecting more data, but of ensuring they stay a part of security conversations.