Kaspersky Internet Security has one of the best malware detection engines around, but its latest test performance didn’t quite achieve the full set of perfect scores we hoped for.
- Good range of features
- Low impact on system performance
- Lower protection rating than Windows Defender in one test
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
- 1 device
- Browser link checking
- Webcam protection
- Silent detection mode
- Parental controls
What is Kaspersky Internet Security?
Kaspersky is one of the biggest players in global internet security, regularly making the news for its discoveries of major malware incidents.
A single-device subscription costs a very reasonable £27.99 per year and per-device costs go down the more you spend. Unusually, that discounted fee also applies to renewals right now, although there is the possibility that future renewals may go back up to the software’s official RRP of £34.99.
Currently, Kaspersky Total Security, which adds online backup storage and a password manager, is available from Kaspersky’s site for the same current price of £27.99, discounted from £39.99.
As with many anti-malware suites, the most cost-effective option is to buy a retail key, which you can find for as little as £15 in the case of Kaspersky Internet Security.
Features, set-up and usability
Kaspersky Internet Security’s integrated firewall activates as soon as installation is complete and – for your security – disables a number of networking features without asking first. For example, unlike Norton Internet Security, it disabled RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) even on a private network – we had to manually enable the feature in the firewall’s packet rules.
Kaspersky does, however, ask if you want to enable extra adware and potentially unwanted program defences – selected by default – before it fully activates and loads the client. KIS provides the usual range of real-time, on-demand and scheduled scans, which you’ll also get if you use basic Kaspersky Free Antivirus.
Shortly after installation, we got a pop-up inviting us to secure our connection. This activates the free-tier version of the Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN, but doesn’t immediately make clear that you’re connecting to a VPN – potentially through a non-local endpoint – or that its bandwidth is limited to 200MB per day, although you are invited to learn more about it.
Other features include integration with Kaspersky’s free Safe Kids parental control software, Safe Money sandboxed browser and on-screen keyboard tools to help secure your online banking, integration with Kaspersky’s free password manager, a rescue disk creator, webcam protection to alert you if anything attempts to use your camera, and various network and application monitoring tools.
The advanced settings include highly granular control over exactly which modules are enabled and how the software behaves. By default, a silent mode to hide pop-ups activates whenever you run a game or any other application at full screen, along with a variety of behaviours to help save resources and extend laptop battery life.
Related: Best Antivirus 2019
Kaspersky – Performance
|Testing facility||AV-TEST||AV-Comparatives||SE Labs|
|Real-World Threat Protection||100%||99.1%||100|
It put in a perfect performance in the most recent SE Labs real-world malware exposure tests, with no false positive misidentifications of legitimate software. Similarly, in AV-TEST’s latest trials, it protected against all tested real-world and reference malware, with just a single false positive for legitimate software and minimal impact on system performance.
However, it didn’t get a perfect score from AV-Comparatives, with a 99.1% real-world malware protection rate giving it a worse performance than Windows Defender this month.
Should I buy Kaspersky Internet Security?
A wealth of features including parental controls and a sandboxed browser, allowing for secure checking bank statements online, as well as integration with the Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN (if you want it) make Kaspersky Internet Security a strong offering.
General performance is also good, although not flawless. Kaspersky Internet Security is always in close competition with Symantec’s Norton Internet Security, but, in that most recent test, it was outperformed. While Norton includes a full, rather than capped, integrated VPN service, Kaspersky is a bit cheaper and has a more unobtrusive silent mode.
Priced at £27.99 for one device, £35.99 for three and £43.99 for five, Kaspersky Internet Security is also one of the more generously priced antivirus services on the market, and multi-platform support means that this is a good choice for families and busy households.
Kaspersky Internet Security has one of the best malware detection engines around, but its latest test results see it losing out slightly to Symantec.