Every full-scale security suite has antivirus protection at its core. Beyond that, suites can differ wildly in the collection of features they offer. Some products include an antivirus, a firewall, a spam filter, parental controls, and little more. Others, like Kaspersky Total Security, pack in a vast number of features, covering every aspect of security. Among the goodies that this suite adds beyond what you get with Kaspersky's entry-level suite are file encryption, a backup system, and a seriously enhanced parental control system. It's an impressive collection.
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All these extras come at a price, however. A three-license subscription lists for $89.99 per year, and one for five licenses costs $99.99. Upgrading to the 10-license family plan raises that price to $149.99. With Bitdefender Total Security, $89.99 gets you five licenses and $99.99 raises that to 10, quite a bit less than Kaspersky’s 10-license price. These prices are often deeply discounted, it’s true, but the discount typically covers the first year only.
Norton 360 Deluxe runs $99.99 for five licenses, but that also includes 50GB of online storage for your backups and five no-limit VPN licenses. Removing the limits from Kaspersky's VPN costs an extra $4.99 per month.
You pay $119.99 per year for McAfee Total Protection, but that subscription lets you install protection on all devices in your household, whether they run Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS.
Bitdefender Total Security
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete
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Trend Micro Internet Security
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Kaspersky, too, offers cross-platform support—you can use your licenses on Windows, macOS, or Android devices, and some of the components specific to Total Security support iOS as well. To get started, you activate your purchase on the My Kaspersky web portal and then download the appropriate installer.
The entry-level Kaspersky Internet Security features six buttons for six major features: Scan, Database Update, Safe Money, Privacy Protection, Protection for kids, and My Kaspersky. When you install Total Security, you'll find that same group of six, plus two more buttons: Password Manager, and Backup and Restore. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free displays a slightly different group of eight buttons, with a shield overlay identifying features that require a premium upgrade.
As with the rest of the Kaspersky product line, a status indicator at the top shines a happy green when your security configuration is correct, but changes to glaring red if there's an issue. It also reports recommendations, with a button to get details.
This suite includes every one of the many security features found in Kaspersky Internet Security. I'll summarize those features briefly, then get on to what makes Total Security different. For full details, you’ll want to read my review of the entry-level suite.
All four of the independent antivirus labs I follow include Kaspersky in their set of tested products, and it earned perfect and near-perfect scores in all the latest tests. I use an algorithm to normalize the scores to a 10-point scale and derive an aggregate—Kaspersky scored 9.7 out of 10. Bitdefender Internet Security, scored higher, 9.9 points, but that was based on results from just three labs.
Scores in my hands-on malware protection tests weren't as uniformly good, but when the labs all agree, I defer to their judgment.
In the past, Kaspersky has done an excellent job detecting phishing sites—fraudulent sites that masquerade as banks or other sensitive institutions so they can steal your login credentials. Last time around, it managed 100 percent detection. The score this time was still good, 96 percent, but Trend Micro Maximum Security scored 100 percent in its last phishing test, and a half-dozen others did better than Kaspersky.
Kaspersky's System Watcher feature supplements other protective layers with behavior-based detection. While it tracks all kinds of malware behaviors, it proved especially effective at ransomware protection. Even with other protection layers turned off, it successfully detected and blocked my real-world ransomware samples. One screen-locker ransomware slipped past it, but Kaspersky's lock-breaker key combination defeated it.
The sturdy firewall blocked all port scans and other web-based attacks. Kaspersky’s application control system manages application access to network and system resources without bothering the user, assigning each application a trust level. In previous versions, you could use Trusted Applications Mode to ban any program not at the highest trust level. However, this feature was both complex and little-used, so Kaspersky retired it.
Protection against attacks that exploit security holes in Windows and popular apps is typically considered part of a firewall’s job, but in Kaspersky’s case, the Web Anti-Virus component handled it, and handled it well. Kaspersky detected 84 percent of the exploit attacks I generated, beating out Bitdefender’s impressive 74 percent. Only Norton 360 Deluxe has proven as effective in this test.
Kaspersky checks your system for missing security patches and automatically applies found updates. It includes webcam control for spyware protection, and an active Do Not Track feature to keep advertisers and others from snooping on your surfing habits. The Safe Money feature protects financial transactions, and a straightforward spam filter marks spam in your POP3 and IMAP email accounts. The entry-level suite has parental control, but it's the free, feature-limited edition of Kaspersky Safe Kids. With Total Security, you get all parental control features.
This suite offers a large collection of bonus features, some of which are shared with the standalone Kaspersky Anti-Virus. These include: a bandwidth-limited VPN; a privacy cleaner to wipe traces of browser and computer use; a Rescue Disk for cleaning persistent malware; and more.
You can use your Kaspersky Total Security licenses to install Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac, which is an Editors' Choice for Mac antivirus. As the name suggests, it's truly a security suite, not just an antivirus.
Kaspersky Internet Security (for Android), also available by using one of your licenses, naturally includes protection against malware, with an on-demand scan and real-time protection. The app also offers a full range of anti-theft features, including the ability to snap a mug shot of whoever's using your device.
Again, all these features of Kaspersky Internet Security are also present in Total Security. Note that basic security protection for macOS and Android devices is precisely the same in the two suites, but Total Security offers additional utilities for those two platforms, and for iOS. For a deeper dive into those shared features, read my review of the entry-level suite.
Kaspersky Safe Kids
The first time you click the Protection for kids button, the suite prompts you to install Kaspersky Safe Kids, You can also go to My Kaspersky online and download the appropriate installer for Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS. Note that as a separate product, Kaspersky Safe Kids costs $14.99 per year. If you've paid for Total Security family plan, you get the premium features at no extra charge. We've reviewed Safe Kids and given it four stars. For full details about its capabilities, please read that review.
You manage Safe Kids online, defining child profiles and aligning them with the devices each child uses. There's no limit on child profiles or devices. A local agent on each device enforces the rules you define online and gives the child a summary of those rules.
You can set Safe Kids to block or allow websites in 14 categories, or to allow access but warn that parents will receive a notification. You can also set limits on when and for how long the child can use each device. For mobile devices, you can check the child's location. An advanced geofencing system lets you define safe areas along with the time the child should be in each area.
Safe Kids can monitor social media activity on Facebook or on VK (which is popular in Russia). However, monitoring requires the child's cooperation. Parents can define applications as Allowed, Forbidden, or Limited (meaning they're allowed on a specific schedule). As with many of the features, application control is limited under iOS. The main thing it can do is hide apps that have a too-high age rating.
In testing, we discovered that under Windows and macOS, the content filtering system relies on Kaspersky’s browser extension to handle secure HTTPS websites. In an off-brand browser with no extension, forbidden websites that use a HTTPS connection slip right through. That means a smart teen could totally evade content filtering by going through a secure anonymizing proxy. The recommended solution is to use application control to ban use of off-brand browsers.
On Android, parents must disable all browsers except Chrome. Content filtering on iOS devices only works in the Safe Kids browser, so parents must disable all others.
Parents can control the notifications they get, and the online console offers detailed reports on every facet of the child's activity. Overall, this is a modern, cross-platform parental control tool. It didn't make Editors' Choice—that honor goes to Qustodio—but it's very good.
Kaspersky Password Manager
Kaspersky's password manager makes a cameo appearance in Kaspersky Internet Security on various platforms. However, it's just the free version, which limits you to a total of 15 passwords, credit cards, notes, or other saved items.
With Total Security, you get the full Kaspersky Password Manager, available separately for $14.99 per year, and you can use it to sync passwords across all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. It does the basic job of password management, and has a few unusual features, but it's not a standout. Please read my review for the nitty-gritty details; I'll recap my findings here.
On Windows, Kaspersky offers an extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and the Russian browser Yandex, and can also import passwords from these browsers. The extension handles the expected capture and replay of passwords. Your devices sync through the My Kaspersky online portal; you can also access your passwords and secure data via the portal.
The Security Check rates the strength of your passwords and flags any duplicates. It also reports passwords that may have been exposed in a breach. You can use the password generator to gin up new, strong replacements for bad passwords. And the password manager can also fill in credit card info and other personal data on web forms.
The unusual secure document storage feature seeks PDFs and scanned images that look like they represent documents, offering to move them into secure online storage. But you won't find advanced features like two-factor authentication, secure sharing, or password inheritance. To get those, you need a more advanced password manager.
Backup and Restore
Backing up your essential files is, in a way, the ultimate form of security. If ransomware destroys your files or a rogue asteroid smashes your computer, you can recover from a backup. Kaspersky offers a straightforward backup system that lets you create as many backup jobs as you need for local or Dropbox backup.
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Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete comes with 25GB of hosted online storage for your backups. Norton 360 Deluxe gives you 50GB, while other Norton bundles offer as much as 500GB. Because these products control the secure online storage, they can offer advanced features like remote access and file syncing. With Kaspersky, you supply the online backup storage yourself by linking with Dropbox, so these advanced features aren't available.
A wizard walks you through the steps of creating a backup job, starting with what to back up. If you accept the default, it backs up everything from the Documents and Desktop folders. You can instead choose all pictures, all movies, or all music files, or put together your own set of folders for backup.
You can store your backups on Dropbox, as noted—you simply give Kaspersky permission to use your Dropbox account. Any local, remote, or removable drive can also be your backup storage destination. Until recently, true techies could choose to store backups on an FTP server, but Kaspersky has quite reasonably removed this little-used feature.
By default, backups run on demand, but you can also set a schedule for regular backups. The scheduler supports daily, weekly, and monthly backups. It also lets you back up every weekday, or every weekend day. You do need to give the backup system your Windows account password if you want to use the scheduler, something I haven’t seen in other products.
Restoring from a backup is simple. You can restore all files, selected files, or an earlier version of a file, and put the restored data in its original location or a new location. Kaspersky's backup system has hardly changed in the last several years. It doesn't have the bells and whistles that some competing suites do, but it gets the job done.
Data Encryption and Other Tools
Like AVG Internet Security - Unlimited, ESET, and others, Kaspersky's encryption system creates virtual disk drives called vaults to hold your sensitive files. When open, a vault acts like any other drive. When locked, no access to the contents is possible. Unlike most, Kaspersky focuses on the files you plan to protect, not just on vault creation. As the first step in vault creation, you drag the files and folders that you want encrypted onto the application, or select files by browsing for them.
Next you select the vault size. Naturally, it must be large enough to hold the files you selected. As with most such apps, you can't change the vault size after creation. If you need more space, you must create a new, bigger vault and move your files into it.
At the next step, you create a password for encryption. The app warns that if you forget the password, you can't get back your files. Passwords must have at least six characters and contain capital letters, lowercase letters, and numbers. Kaspersky rates password strength as you type and checks off the requirements as you meet them.
As a final step, and a very smart one, Kaspersky offers to put the unencrypted originals of your sensitive files through the shredder, so that even forensic recovery tools can't bring them back.
By default, the shredder overwrites a file's data area once with zeroes and once with random bits. That should really be enough. But if you want to really, really scrub the data, you can open the file shredder app and choose from another half-dozen algorithms, most of them military-approved.
The Unused Data Cleaner is unusual in that it appears in the free Kaspersky Security Cloud, but not in the entry-level Kaspersky Internet Security. To use it, click the More Tools button on the main window, click the Clean and optimize tab, and click Unused Data Cleaner. This tool scans for temp files, cache files, logs, and other data that you don't really need. As with the other cleanup and optimization components, it organizes actions into strongly recommended, recommended, and additional. All actions in the first two categories are checked by default. Click Next and the unnecessary data vanishes.
Excellent but Expensive
The real value of a security mega-suite lies in the features it adds beyond what comes with the corresponding entry-level suite. In this case, Kaspersky Internet Security, the entry-level suite, offers a huge number of effective security features, along with cross-platform security. The features Kaspersky Total Security adds don't entirely measure up.
The Kaspersky Safe Kids parental control system is excellent, but not everyone needs that feature, and those that do may not realize they own it. In addition, you can manage unlimited kids and unlimited licenses for a separate fee of $14.99 per year. The backup component lacks online hosting for your archives; you must provide that yourself. The password manager handles just the basics. And this product's pricing is out of line with the competition. It's still an excellent suite, with the same outstanding features found in Kaspersky Internet Security, but our Editors' Choice for security mega-suite remains Bitdefender Total Security.
This suite does offer cross-platform security, but it doesn't own the Editors' Choice honor in that realm either. Its biggest competition comes from Kaspersky Security Cloud, which gives you all the same features, plus more, at a better price. Kaspersky Security Cloud is an Editors’ choice for cross-platform security. It shares that honor with Norton 360 Deluxe, which gives you award-winning protection for five devices, five no-limit VPN licenses, and 50GB of online storage for backups.
Editors' Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Labs' inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven, and continue to recommend Kaspersky's security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.
Kaspersky Total Security
Kaspersky Total Security Best Price
- Comprehensive parental control
- Backup system
- Tons of bonus features
- Lacks hosted storage for online backup
The Bottom Line
The excellent Kaspersky Total Security offers nearly everything you could want in a security suite, but it’s eclipsed by Kaspersky Security Cloud, which gets you even more features, at a better price.Security Watch</strong> newsletter for our top privacy and security stories delivered right to your inbox.','first_published_at':'2021-09-30T21:22:09.000000Z','published_at':'2021-09-30T21:22:09.000000Z','last_published_at':'2021-09-30T21:22:03.000000Z','created_at':null,'updated_at':'2021-09-30T21:22:09.000000Z'})' x-show='showEmailSignUp()'>
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Kaspersky Total Security – Multi-Device is touted as the ultimate security for your PC, Mac & Android devices.It comes packed with all the features of Kaspersky Internet Security, including the Safe Money feature, a vulnerability scanner and parental controls. In addition, you also receive a password management tool, an encryption tool and a backup module.
Key Features include:
- Privacy and identity protection.
- Secures PC, Mac & Android.
- Parental control.
- Secure banking tools.
- Password Manager.
- Backup utility.
- Range of functionality.*
A noteworthy feature of this robust security suite is the password manager. This handy tool is able to synchronise your passwords across multiple devices, generate strong credentials and automatically fill web forms. The encryption is created using ‘data vaults’ which are basically on-disk archives that use industry standard 256-bit AES encryption.
Another great feature that’s included is the backup tool. With it you can make one off or scheduled backups to either local storage, or to a network drive or FTP server. Any backups you make can be password protected and you can configure the length of time to keep old versions for.
Kaspersky Total Security Multi-Device for the Android platform is a solid offering. It provides tools to scan installed apps for malware, block calls and texts from chosen contacts, and hide your contacts, call history and SMS history. It also comes with a handy anti-theft tool as well.
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Overall, Kaspersky Total Security – Multi-Device is a strong, all-around security suite for whatever device you choose, whether that be PC, Mac or Android. The antivirus protection scores highly in independent testing, and both the privacy protection and banking security are first rate. If you use various devices, then this suite is definitely one to consider.
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Note: This is a 30-day commercial trial.
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*depends on the type of device being used.