Antivirus Software Review: Kaspersky Internet Security
Kaspersky has built a name for itself in both cybersecurity and antivirus protection. Its Russian developers, Kaspersky Lab, have a large portfolio, however, their crusade against viruses and malware remains their company's mainstay.
Is a program's degree of familiarity among consumers a sign of its quality, or has Kaspersky been overtaken by its less well-known competitors in all but name recognition? Find out in our review below.
What Is Kaspersky Internet Security?
Kaspersky Internet Security is an antivirus program produced by the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab. More precisely, Kaspersky Internet Security is one of three antivirus packages offered by the company, the other two being Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Kaspersky Total Security. Rounding out the group, the dynamic Kaspersky Security Cloud also offers broader security options. Kaspersky's antivirus programs are compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Pros and Cons
Quick to install, intuitive
Lots of neatly packaged features
Includes extras such as a password manager and VPN
VPN data caps, regardless of subscription package
Slightly unremarkable password manager
Installation & Usage
Downloading and installing Kaspersky Internet Security requires little more than a few minutes. Once complete, you have the option to watch a video overview of the program's features, however, this is more of an advertisement than a tutorial. Even more to the point, the program's user interface is both intuitive and clearly arranged, so the tutorial isn't all that necessary.
Once installation wraps up, you can watch a video introducing the program's features.
The upper third of the home screen's interface displays your current security status. Clicking on "Details" will transfer you to the notification center, where you can review your license or install and activate additional programs and features.
Below, in the "Status" area, icons indicate the most important features: Manual Scans, Database Updates, Safe Money, Password Manager, Privacy Protection, Backup and Restore, Protection for kids, and My Kaspersky.
Should any problems arise, Kaspersky will let you know in the dashboard.
At the bottom of the interface, you can access settings, support, and check your license expiration date.
All other tools can be accessed by clicking on the "More Tools" button in the center of the interface. Available features are neatly organized into one of five categories ("Security", "My Network", "Manage applications", "Data Protection", or "Clean & optimize"). Clicking on any one of these will open a report, providing you with statistics and additional information.
All of Kaspersky's features are grouped into one of five categories.
Kaspersky Internet Security is well-organized and easy to use. All the same, it does take a bit of time to discover all that the program has to offer. Once you've gotten used to it, we're sure that you'll find Kaspersky's user interface to be comfortable and convenient.
Score: 4.7 / 5
All Kaspersky subscription packages provide basic security and protection. Beyond that, multiple categories of manual scans are offered there are four categories of scans: A "Quick Scan" of the most commonly used files and folders, a "Full Scan" of the entire system, an examination of external devices, or a user-defined scan of specific folders or files.
Apart from these, you can also search for weaknesses amongst any programs installed on your computer, or check your system's storage or boot drive sectors.
Highly detailed, configurable scans
Clicking on the gear symbol opens a menu with a variety of scans in which you can specify the steps to be taken if a threat or malicious file is found, as well as what methods should be used. In order to save time, you can limit scans to new or modified files.
Using the scheduling feature, you can plan scans in advance. The ease with which the software allows for scans to be configured greatly surpasses that of many other antivirus programs.
Kaspersky gives users a free hand when configuring scans.
Comprehensive real-time protection, regardless of your subscription
Real-time protection is offered across all of Kaspersky's packages, even though some of its features are only accessible to Internet Security or Total Security subscribers.
Under settings, you can configure security and toggle individual aspects on or off. One of these is Web Anti-Virus, which checks incoming data for malware, while Ransomware Protection wards off extortion attacks. During these, cybercriminals encrypt your data, only providing you with the decryption key in exchange for a fee.
There's also File Anti-Virus which checks all files that are opened, saved, or executed for viruses, as well as Application Control for all installed programs.
When clicking on a module, a menu will open in which you can configure the degree of security it provides.
Firewall, adblocker, email protection, and a file shredder
A firewall that guards your network against unauthorized access is also integrated. Then there's "Anti-Banner", a kind of adblocker/antivirus tool for instant messenger clients.
Beyond that, Kaspersky provides email protection and a file shredder, the latter of which allows you to permanently delete data so that it cannot be recovered.
Features available to Kaspersky Internet Security users and above
Webcam Protection, which bars hackers from accessing your webcam, is only included with the "Internet Security" package and above, as is protection from data collection, which prevents websites you visit from gathering information about you and your activities online.
Kaspersky offers webcam protection, which prevents miscreants from exploiting your webcam.
Secure online transactions
In addition, subscribers to the Internet Security package will be able to take advantage of the service's secure online payment feature, Safe Money. This is based around Kaspersky's Secure Browser, and automatically opens URLs for sites on which you'd like to make safe payments. You can do this manually, or have Kaspersky automatically identify them.
Kaspersky can professionally encrypt your online transactions and credit card data.
A VPN for secure connections
Then there's Kaspersky's in-house VPN, Secure Connection, based on Hotspot Shield, which, in our test, performed well, possessing an extensive server network and a nice palette of features. There are a few issues with the program when it comes to privacy, however.
You can surf anonymously with Kaspersky's VPN, albeit, only for 300 MB per day.
It is somewhat unfortunate that irrespective of the subscription you have, you'll have a daily data limit of 300 MB with the service's VPN.
Should you be looking for a full-fledged VPN, be sure to check out our comprehensive evaluation of the best providers on the market.
Internet Security subscribers can also take advantage of parental controls, blocking specific content that children shouldn't be exposed to. It's also possible to configure how much screen time kids should have and to lock access to computers or mobile devices if this is exceeded. Total Security subscribers can even track their children via GPS around the clock.
You can manage all parental controls in your browser, which can be easily accessed via your desktop-based My Kaspersky account.
You can GPS locate your children with Kaspersky's parental controls
Features available in Kaspersky Total Security
Starting with the Total Security subscription, you'll gain access to the service's password manager. As mentioned above, this isn't a rudimentary add-on, as is the case with some of the other services from our sample, but a full-fledged, stand-alone program. Unfortunately, it wasn't one of the better services we evaluated, performing decently, but having a few issues here and there.
On its own, we had mixed feelings about Kaspersky Password Manager, however, we can't criticize it as a free add-on in the Total Security Package.
In contrast to other programs on the market, Kaspersky's VPN simply lacks too many features, while possessing one too many security weaknesses. From self-proclaimed security specialists, we expect more.
The number of features offered by Kaspersky Internet Security is so large that we're still not finished: These include a network monitor, which allows you to review the activity of all applications installed on your system, and a screen keyboard, that should help you outwit keyloggers. In the quarantine section, you can find backups of files that Kaspersky has deleted or changed owing to the potential or real threat they pose.
For space considerations, we can't list all of the features provided by Kaspersky Internet Security, so, suffice it to say that the program is absolutely filled to the brim with useful extras.
Kaspersky also offers a digital bodyguard for your Android and iOS devices. The basic version of the Internet Security app is free, however, most of its features are restricted to paying subscribers. Similar to the desktop version, the mobile app allows you to scan your device or turn on real-time protection (again, only if you're a paid subscriber), along with a handful of other features. Of particular interest is Call Filter, with which you can create a blacklist of numbers that are barred from calling you.
With Anti-Theft Protection, which requires a My Kaspersky Account and a premium license, you can lock or locate your device in the event that it is stolen, restore it to factory settings, delete files, or even activate an alarm. Similar to other providers, there's also a camera trap with which you can clandestinely photograph the thieves who took your phone. Using SIM Control, you can set when the device should automatically lock, for example, if a new SIM card is detected.
Even in its smartphone app, the service's list of features is impressive.
The subscriber-only premium features include real-time protection and an app lock which you can use to set parameters for specific apps, such as a PIN or fingerprint scan, further minimizing the risk of unauthorized access. There's also mobile web protection for blocking malicious websites or phishing attempts.
In sum, Kaspersky Internet Security is one of the most feature-laden programs we've reviewed; what really sets it apart, however, is that it doesn't sacrifice organization or design to accommodate these. At the same time, we can't help but notice that some of these extras are a bit lacking in the quality department, with the password manager (in particular) having quite a bit of room for improvement. Even in the Total Security package, Kaspersky could be somewhat more generous and remove the VPN traffic limit.
Score: 4.7 / 5
Security & Performance
Kaspersky Internet Security received good-very good scores from both of the testing labs we consulted. AV-Test regularly awards the software perfect scores in both security and performance.
The software took an excellent second place on the most recent performance test conducted by AV-Comparatives, however, in the group's real-world protection test (February-May 2021), it only received 2 out of 3 stars. All the same, it's worth noting that most of the programs tested received similar security scores from AV-Comparatives. In Kaspersky's case, even though it didn't register any false positives, it "only" detected 99.5% of threats.
Full scan without noticeable lag
During our assessment, a full system scan required around 70 minutes, however, our PC didn't exhibit any sluggishness. Launching programs, copying files, or performing other regular tasks weren't noticeably affected in any way.
Overall, Kaspersky did well with the testing labs and appears not to consume too many system resources when performing a full scan.
Score: 4.3 / 5
Kaspersky Internet Security includes an in-app support area that links users to FAQs, an extensive and well-sorted knowledge database (somewhat hidden under "Recommendations" in the settings area), and a forum. You can also turn on activity logging which helps support team members solve any issues you might encounter.
You can access different support areas through Kaspersky's app, however, to get in touch with live support, you'll need to visit the developer's website.
Unfortunately, users aren't able to open a support ticket in the app, or even directly contact the support team for that matter. It seems that Kaspersky has adopted a strategy similar to that popular amongst some of its competitors, namely, offering as much non-human and DIY support as possible in the hope that users will be able to solve issues on their own.
Nevertheless, a contact form for getting in touch with Kaspersky's support team is available on the developer's website. We received an extensive answer to our query in around 14 hours. Live chat and a support hotline are also offered 24/7. During our assessment, we waited around two minutes to be put in touch with a support staffer.
Kaspersky provides a nice variety of static resources for users who want to sort out issues on their own, while also offering a number of ways for those who prefer soliciting help from the software's support team to get in touch.
Score: 4.7 / 5
Kaspersky offers three different antivirus protection packages: Kaspersky Anti-Virus provides basic protection exclusively for Windows PCs, whereas Kaspersky Internet Security protects Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users, while also serving up extras like digital payment and webcam protection. More extravagant features like a password manager are included with Kaspersky Total Security. All three products can be licensed for one, two, or three years and for one, three, or five devices.
In addition to these, there's also Kaspersky Security Cloud, which is, for all intents and purposes, identical to Kaspersky Total Security, albeit with the addition of a web dashboard. The word "cloud" is perhaps a bit of a misnomer, as Security Cloud provides you with the same benefits offered by the other packages with the added ability to oversee them via cloud management.
For corporate users, Kaspersky markets a range of cloud and local solutions, the prices of which depend on the organization's size.
Below, we've provided a current price list:
|Antivirus||Internet Security||Total Security|
|Price per year||from $59.98||from $79.98||from $89.98|
|Contract period (months)||12||12||12|
|Max. Number of devices||5||5||5|
|Special Protection Features|
Since subscription packages for each program vary, the table below compares each provider's offering on the basis of a template that we created. On this, the subscription which most closely matches our template (or is identical to it) is used as a benchmark.
It's possible to test any Kaspersky subscription for free for 31 days. All purchased subscriptions come with a 14-day, money-back guarantee.
The name Kaspersky still stands for quality, with the company's antivirus suite offering a highly intuitive program loaded with features (including a password manager and VPN). On the surface, there are few weaknesses, and even under the hood, at least so far as the testing labs are concerned, everything is in order. Beyond that, prospective users can look forward to a nice blend of reliable static and live support.
On the downside, considering the prices of the service's premium packages, Kaspersky could offer more features. The issue which comes immediately to mind here is that of extremely limited VPN usage, even for those paying top dollar for the developer's most comprehensive package. In addition, we weren't swept off our feet with Kaspersky's password manager, owing to a few security faux pas. All the same, Kaspersky definitely offers one of the most feature-heavy antivirus packages on the market.
Kaspersky Internet Security came in for a considerable amount of praise amongst the customer reviews that we assessed, with many noting its simplicity, reliability, and tenacity in contending with malware and viruses. The only criticism was leveled at the program's impact upon computer performance.
Alternatives to Kaspersky Internet Security
If you're looking for a program that offers similar features albeit with better testing lab results than Kaspersky Internet Security, we recommend Bitdefender. A complete list of popular alternatives can be found here:
- Trend Micro
- G Data
- 360 Total Security
- Internet Security
- Virus Protection
- Free Antivirus
- Android Antivirus
- Avast vs. Avira