Kaspersky Total Security review
Kaspersky's range of security products is a little bewildering at first: with Anti-Virus, Internet Security and Total Security all marketed alongside one another. Anti-Virus is the cheapest option at £30, but it doesn't contain all the security features of Kaspersky's more expensive products.
The anti-malware elements of Internet Security and Total Security are identical, so our Protection Scores apply to both. We'll be evaluating Total Security for its extra features, but if you don't feel you need them, Internet Security is a cheaper option with the same system-level protection.
Protection and Performance
Kaspersky was the only product on test that was able to achieve a perfect Protection Rating of 300, managing to effectively halt 100% of the attacks we threw at it. Unlike most anti-virus software, which sometimes let a threat run before neutralising it, Kaspersky didn't even let them get that far; all 100 threats were dealt with before running either through scanning of by preventing the offending file from being downloaded at all. Despite catching all of our malware, Kaspersky wasn't at all onerous when it came to blocking legitimate software; allowing us to run all the programs we tried to install on our test PC.
Kaspersky's system footprint is slightly larger than that of ESET Smart Security, with an overall system performance impact rating of 7%. This is partly down to its very large size: nearly 800MB on our test system. If you're on a cheap netbook with just 32GB of built-in storage, that could be a problem. Our test system also booted five seconds slower than it would have without any anti-virus installed; this was a couple of seconds slower than Norton and one second slower than ESET Smart Security. Overall, though, it's a lightweight piece of software that shouldn't cause any noticeable performance issues as you go about your day.
Kaspersky Total Security is a fully-featured software package with a large array of extra tools to justify the subscription costs. Kaspersky has spent a great deal of the last year building its brand around protecting families, and if you buy Total Security you'll also get a licence for Safe Kids, Kaspersky's separate parental controls application.
Kaspersky's task monitoring tools are a handy at-a-glance look at your system's status
In Total Security itself, there are some simple parental control settings, including an adult website filter, adult software filter and settings that let you limit how long your child can browse on weekdays and weekends.
Away from parental controls, there are some useful diagnostic tools for keeping an eye on your PC. A Task Manager-like interface shows you CPU and RAM usage, while the network monitor provides a slightly more user-friendly view of your bandwidth usage totals than Windows' own Resources Manager. There's also a file shredder and a tool for creating a bootable rescue disk, which can scan your PC for malware before Windows boots, bypassing the craftiest malware that that hides itself or disables your anti-virus protection when Windows has booted.
There's a Password Manager that integrates into Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Microsoft Edge isn't supported. You can also buy the Password Manager tool separately for £10.49 a year if you don't have Total Security.
Remote management is also included, although it's not particularly useful unless you have an Android device. The web-based interface lets you run scans and enable features on your Windows PC or laptop, but it doesn't extend further than that. If you install the Android app (see box) you can wipe your device remotely, take a snapshot with the front-facing camera, and sound an alarm if you think you might just have lost it down the back of a sofa cushion.
Kaspersky Total Security is the only security package on test here that was able to achieve both a perfect Protection and Legitimate Software score. That in itself is impressive, although with such stiff competition and such a high standard in this round of testing, there are fewer places to hide than usual. Kaspersky's software has a small system footprint and is reasonably priced, too, and the included smartphone anti-theft tools are very good indeed. If you use all the tools provided, it's very good value.
|Desktop OS Support||Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10. Mac OS X 10.8+|
|Mobile app||Android 2.3 to 5.x|
|Free version||One month free trial|
|Price including VAT||£30-56 per year|
|Product code||Total Security|