Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 offers supreme effectiveness, extensive features and minimal performance impact
- Extremely fast and affordable
- Broad feature-set
- Granular PC control for power users
- Great false-positive detection
- VPN has a daily data limit
- Password-manager is similarly limited
- No iOS app
In our latest independent malware tests, Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 fell just a little short of greatness. Historically it’s always been a strong performer, and its overall protection score of 99.6% isn’t bad by any means, but against fierce antivirus competition it ranks below average. On the plus side though, it was the only suite to achieve a perfect score in the false-positive tests.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 review: Features and Performance
Some of the Kaspersky Internet Security’s features are immediately familiar from earlier versions. The Safe Money browser does the same job as any other secure browser, although the green border helps ensure that you don’t get your windows mixed up, and we also like the way it can be set to spring up only when you arrive at a site that processes financial transactions.
More innovative features include the Network Monitor tool, which is really a firewall in disguise: you can see which processes are accessing the internet or your local network, and create rules to block anything that doesn’t look kosher.
The Application Control feature lets you set granular permissions for every program’s access to system files, services, registry branches and so on, as well as its ability to read and change Windows settings. It’s the most advanced process inspection and management tool we’ve seen in any security product, and power users will love it.
The program’s Trusted Applications mode locks down Windows so only programs that have been positively validated by Kaspersky as safe can be opened – perfect for a kid’s PC, or for a less technically able family member.
There’s also a fair set of PC maintenance tools to hand, including a smart clean-up tool that highlights rarely used applications and blocks third-party installers from sneaking unwanted bundleware onto your system. It’s complemented by a scanner that finds non-standard Windows settings that might have been changed without your knowledge, an automatic application updater and a history cleaner.
These functions are a bit extra to the core role of an internet security suite, but it’s great to see them all included in the price, as other publishers tend to push such things as paid-for extras.
With all these features crammed in, finding your way around can be confusing. While the six big buttons of the main interface look invitingly simple, many components are hidden behind the “More Tools” button, beyond which you’ll find a proliferation of tabs, panes, links and free-floating windows.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 review: Additional features you need to pay to unlock
There are a few parts of Kaspersky Internet Security that you do have to pay to fully unlock. One is the Safe Kids parental control module – but it makes a degree of sense to separate these functions out as not everyone needs them.
Indeed, parents may find that the basic free functions suffice, letting them enforce safe searching, category-based website blocking and time limits. Only if you want to add location tracking and social media monitoring do you need to cough up for the full edition, which costs £15 a year for any number of children.
Another restricted feature is the Kaspersky Secure Connect VPN. Like Bitdefender’s VPN, this is operated by Hotspot Shield, and it comes with the same limitations: you can’t choose the location of your exit node, and you can only transfer 200MB of data each day. To gain access to the full set of servers and unlimited data, you’ll have to pay an extra £50 a year for up to five devices, which is higher than Bitdefender’s £38.
Finally, Kaspersky Internet Security invites you to download the company’s free, cross-platform password manager: the catch here is that it’ll only store passwords for up to 15 sites. The unlimited version costs £10.49 a year. We suggest you skip it and use a dedicated cross-platform password-manager like LastPass instead.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 review: Verdict
Kaspersky has nearly the lightest touch of any security product we’ve tested, with an excellent performance rating of 96.8%. In the current climate, you might be reluctant to entrust your online safety to a company based in Russia – but we’ve no reason to doubt Kaspersky’s good faith, and it delivers a superb breadth of protection at a terrifically affordable price.