The Kaspersky antivirus software range for Windows offers a mix of fast scans and comprehensive protection, without missing out on additional applications.
The flagship product, Kaspersky Total Security, includes a password manager, parental controls and backup software. The mid-range product, Kaspersky Internet Security, offers fewer extras but includes webcam protection, enhanced web browser and limited parental controls. It is one of the best-in-class antivirus software.
If you're looking to save money, Kaspersky entry-level antivirus cannot compete in terms of functionality with the antivirus Bitdefenderavailable for the same price.
We are pleased to see Kaspersky at the forefront of the consumer antivirus industry. They are the first to implement dual authentication for online accounts. But there are also a few flaws, the full scans have slowed our system down a lot, and none of its packages include unlimited access to the company's VPN service. We go into more detail in this Kaspersky opinion..
Kaspersky Prize 2020 and what's covered 🛡️
Kaspersky antivirus programs offer an excellent malware scanner. The range starts with Kaspersky Security Cloud Free (formerly known as Kaspersky Free Antivirus) for those who just want the essentials without paying anything. It is a good alternative to Free Avast...for example.
These databases, however, now include the password manager and the Kaspersky VPN.
The password manager is limited to 15 login credentials, unless you pay 13.99€ per year or if you buy a Kaspersky Total Security license.
The service Free VPN is limited to 200MB per dayor 300MB per day with a My Kaspersky online account - unlimited data costs €24.99 per year (inexpensive compared to other VPN services) even for Total Security subscribers.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2020, starting at €29.99 per yearcan protect from one to five PCs and adds protection against phishing and spyware. The software can also examine email attachments and search for vulnerabilities.
From 49,98€/year to protect from one to five computers, Kaspersky Internet Security includes software for Mac, Android devices, and iPhones and iPads. It protects against unwanted applications and webcam hijacking and includes the Kaspersky Safe Money browser and limited parental controls.
Kaspersky Total Security is the most complete antivirus for 69,99€. ; it's 79.99€ for three machines and 149.99€ for three machines and two years of subscriptions. Total Security can back up, encrypt and "shred" files, and it can protect against an attack by ransom software. Parental controls are also part of the package.
Kaspersky Security Cloud is a cloud-based security package that costs €70 per year for three devices, or €100 for five, and comes with an unlimited password manager, up to 500 MB of VPN data per day and some identity protection features.
A family package costs €140 for up to 20 devices and adds better parental controls.
Be aware that some prices are introductory and increase at the time of subscription renewal.
Kaspersky security software works with Windows 7 to 10, MacOS 10.12 to 10.14, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and higher, and iOS 11 or higher.
In recent years, there have been allegations that the Moscow-based Kaspersky company is working with Russian intelligence services to spy on its customers. US federal government departments and subcontractors are not allowed to use the company's software.
To counter these accusations, Kaspersky has moved its data farms to Switzerland and other neutral locations..
We have seen no indication that Kaspersky's products are unsafe or contain deliberate security breaches or backdoors.
Virus protection 🛡️
Kaspersky's products combine scans for known malware, continuous monitoring to quickly identify suspicious behavior and code, and artificial intelligence analysis in Kaspersky's security network labs.
The company sends malware definition updates to its 400 million users several times a day.
Kaspersky has numerous dedicated defenses against specific threats, including file-less malware and attacks on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot system.
The Kaspersky Application Control Service can set restrictions so that only trusted programs are executed. In the meantime, almost all items have three levels of scanning intensity.
Gaming mode works with games, movies and even large Excel spreadsheets.
The System Monitor monitors the first signs of an attack by ransom software.
If all else fails, the Kaspersky Rescue Disk can reboot the system from a USB stick and remove any residual infection, but you will need to download the software to build it separately.
Kaspersky Antivirus Performance 🛡️
Kaspersky's malware has passed the most recent tests of the three labs whose results we use, providing excellent protection without false positives.
Kaspersky got a perfect detection score of 100 % in the "zero-day" (unknown) and "widespread" (known) malware categories that the German AV-Test laboratory studied in May and June 2019.
NortonTrend Micro and Microsoft Defender had the same results, although Norton had three false positives while the others had none.
In all bimonthly AV-Test evaluations dating back to January 2017, Kaspersky scored perfect only once out of 60 tests.
Kaspersky was also perfect in the Austrian AV-Comparatives lab tests of February-May 2019, detecting 100 % of online malware with no false positives.
Finally, SE Labs, based in London, gave Kaspersky (with ESETMicrosoft and Norton) its best score in tests conducted from April to June 2019. Each detected 100 % of malware with no false positives, although Microsoft gained by a hair's breadth because the other three neutralized rather than blocked 1 % of malware.
Security and Privacy 🛡️
Kaspersky's antivirus applications offer a wide range of features.
While Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a basic antivirus, it can now block phishing sites that use shortened URLs.
Kaspersky Internet Security protects phones, tablets and Macs. It adds parental control, a two-way firewall and protection against hijacking webcams, however, pirate audio recordings are blocked separately.
With the private browsing setting, you can block sites that track your online movements. Safe Money, Kaspersky's enhanced browser, enforces the use of HTTPS encryption and blocks common web attacks and (with its on-screen virtual keyboard) keyloggers.
There are Kaspersky browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, but not for Microsoft Edge.
Kaspersky Total Security adds an unlimited version of the password manager. It also has better parental controls with Safe Kids Premium, which allows parents to monitor Facebook activities, block objectionable content and locate their children (or at least their phones).
Screen time may be limited on phones, tablets and PCs.
Total Security's backup and restore feature keeps copies of your most valuable files safe from ransom software attacks.
By default it saves "My Documents", "photos", "videos" and "music", and you can add more to the list, although complete hard drives cannot be archived.
If you have files that shouldn't see the light of day, Total Security can shred or encrypt them.
Total Security includes a good assortment of system optimizers to remove unwanted programs, reclaim storage space, remove traces of your online activity, and even a troubleshooting routine for Windows problems.
Finally, with My Kaspersky online accounts, you can monitor all covered computers, and you can now use two-factor authentication (2FA) for additional protection of your account.
The server sends a text message to your phone containing a one-time use code needed to connect. We hope that other antivirus software manufacturers will follow Kaspersky's example on the 2FA.
Performance and impact on the system 🛡️
Kaspersky Total Security offers excellent protection, but it can require a lot of system resources.
To measure the impact of the program, we used our Custom Benchmark Test, which measures the time it takes the CPU to match 20,000 names and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet.
Our Lenovo ThinkPad T470 testbed was equipped with a 2.5 GHz Core i5-7200U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state memory containing 43.3GB of files.
Before we installed the Kaspersky software, the T470 recorded an execution time of 7.8 seconds on our Excel testbed.
This time increased to 9.2 seconds after the installation of Kaspersky Total Security, or a loss of 18% of performance potential.
The Kaspersky software scanned through the system files in 10 minutes and 31 seconds on the first pass of a full scan, examining 339,537 items, about one-third of what Bitdefender saw.
After Kaspersky indexed the system, the third full scan of the software dropped to 5:17, examining 297,403 files. The fast scans were completed in an average of 52 seconds, half the time required by Bitdefender.
A Quick Scan slowed the benchmark only slightly, from 9.2 to 9.6 seconds (a drop of 4 % from background CPU consumption, but 23 % from baseline). In contrast, a full scan slowed the Excel spreadsheet completion task to 13 seconds. This drop in performance of 41 % from background consumption and 67 % from baseline is one of the worst we've seen in antivirus programs.
Kaspersky Total Security scored 7.9 on the AV-Comparatives Performance Impact Test, which is slightly better than Bitdefender's 8.3, but not as good as McAfee's 0.8.
Kaspersky Interface 🛡️
Kaspersky's main screen features a green checkmark and eight main tasks, with current security recommendations at the top.
Most of the items you will need are here, including scanning, database update, safe, password manager, privacy, backup and restore, parental control and access to my Kaspersky online account.
Other tools allow you to access security (cloud protection, quarantine and backup disk), my network (LAN and VPN scanner), application management (updates, vulnerability scanning and trusted app mode), data protection (encryption and file shredding) and cleanup and optimization (software optimization and troubleshooting).
A report generator shows updates, analysis and neutralized threats.
It is easy to schedule scans for daily, weekly or monthly runs with settings for full, fast or vulnerability scans.
The Kaspersky System Tray icon shows you the virus definitions if you hover over it and a left-click opens the Safe Money browser, parental controls or a software update.
Installation and support 🛡️
It took us 10 minutes and 30 seconds, a little long but not expensive, to install Kaspersky Total Security.
You start by creating a My Kaspersky online account by entering your activation code.
You then download the 2.5 MB installer (a link can be sent by email), which in turn downloads the 152 MB main installer, performs a quick scan and installs the entire product.
At this point, you can refuse to allow Kaspersky to collect data about malware and threats on your system.
Kaspersky has an after-sales service available from Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00 in English. You can reach them by phone, email or through a chat window, and they promise you an answer the next day.
Outside of office hours, the Kaspersky website, accessible from the program interface, offers practical videos and FAQs, articles and warnings about the latest threats.
Kaspersky has one of the most efficient support services in the antivirus world, don't worry about it.
Kaspersky Total Security remains the top security suite to beat, with protection and fast scans that no other program can offer. The password manager, enhanced parental control and two-factor authentication are the closest thing to hermetic protection.
But it's not quite perfect. Total security could be improved by offering unlimited access to the VPN service. Kaspersky also creates too much performance load during full scans.
If you don't need parental controls, backup software or a password manager, then consider Kaspersky Internet Security or Total AV.