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Our Review of Kaspersky Total Security 2021


Paid Anti-virus Programs

Introduction

Kaspersky Lab remains one of the best known names in computer security. Based in Moscow, this Russian company boasts over 400 million users and.

In spite of allegations of ties to the Russian government (without any solid evidence, we might add), this number doesn't seem to be going down.

Kaspersky's antivirus lineup includes three products. From least to most features, they are Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Total Security.

In this review, we'll focus on Total Security - the company's top, full-featured suite.

Total Security coverage for 5 devices will cost $99.99 each year, while 10 devices will cost $149.99 per year. It is available for Windows, Android, and macOS, while certain features can be activated on iOS.

The differences between Total Security and Internet Security (the next step down) are that Total Security includes a password manager, more parental control functions, and 5 licenses instead of 3.

Without further ado, let's take a full look at all of this premium software's features.

Features

Kaspersky Total Security is replete with features, including:

  • 24/7 protection against all forms of malware
  • A two-way firewall
  • VPN with 300 MB per day limit
  • Web extensions to protect your online browsing experience
  • Unlimited password manager
  • Unlimited data backup - you'll have to link with Dropbox
  • Secure browser for financial transactions
  • "Safe Kids" parental controls
  • Military-grade file encryption
  • Military-grade file shredder
  • PC Cleanup features
  • A vulnerability scanner
  • "Rescue Disk" that can clean your operating system from the outside in case of persistent malware
  • Installation & Setup

    First, go to your My Kaspersky page using the login information you used to purchase the program. Access this page from your Windows or Mac computer, or your phone, and download the corresponding installer.

    Here, we'll focus on Windows.

    Open the executable file, select your language, then press Continue.

    On the next page, choose whether or not you want to participate in Kaspersky's Security Network - this just sends information about your Kaspersky software and threats it encounters, which the company uses to make appropriate tweaks and keep their malware database updated.

    This will be checked by default, as will the option to install the Password Manager.

    If you have any conflicting programs (other antivirus suites), Kaspersky's installer will let you know and give you the option to automatically uninstall them. You'll typically have to reboot after uninstall.

    At this point the installation will begin. Once it's finished, you'll have the option to keep or discard a few recommended settings including a little, first-time startup tutorial, which may be useful if this is your first time using Kaspersky.

    As you'll see, however, the program is mostly self-explanatory.

    The password manager runs as a separate program and will take a few minutes to set up. To do so, click on Password manager, and then click open.

    Once the password manager launches, click Open under the introduction screen.

    You'll then be prompted to create a master password. This is the password behind which all of your other account passwords will be locked, so make it strong but somewhat memorable (for you).

    After that, you'll finally enter the program proper. Kaspersky Password Manager functions through browser extensions, so it'll detect which browsers you have on your system and give you installation links for each.

    We installed the extension for Google Chrome and, from there, the manager would ask us whether or not we wanted to save certain account passwords.

    The other thing you'll want to set up right off the bat is the Kaspersky Protection web extension. The program should detect which browser you're using. Click Details under recommendations (for instance, you may see 4 recommendations, as in the picture below)

    Kaspersky Total Security

    One of our recommendations read "Using Google Chrome?"

    Next to that (or the name of whatever browser you're using) click details and you'll be redirected to a page where you can download it.

    This extension will verify whether or not URLs are safe, as you can see here:

    Search URL

    It'll also protect you from phishing attempts, keyloggers, and other online threats.

    User Interface

    As you see in the above picture, Total Security's user interface is very simple, making good use of Kaspersky's iconic green and white color scheme.

    At the top you'll see if the software recommends any changes - click "Details" to see what those recommendations are.

    Below are two rows of four windows each. Let's go through each one by one.

    The Scan option lets you run quick scans, full scans, selective (custom) scans, and vulnerability scans. You can adjust the settings of each type by clicking on the little gear across from the scan type.

    Database Update simply checks for new forms of malware - this will run without your input but by clicking "Run update" you can do it any time.

    Next, we have Safe Money. Safe Money is Kaspersky's secure browser. What you'll do is add specific URLs to the list and choose whether you want the secure browser to always run with that site, for it to ask you whether or not you want it to run, or to never run for that site.

    We added paypal.com, and set the secure browser to run whenever the site was opened. As you can see, it worked like a charm:

    Safe Money

    Pay Pal

    The Password Manager will store your various online passwords behind a main password.

    Every time you login into an account online, the web extension will ask if you want to store the password, or not. Alternatively, you can add them to the password manager by clicking "+ Add" on the top of the Password Manager's main window. From there, fill in the appropriate web address and login information.

    Under the Privacy Protection tab, you'll find Webcam protection - which, when activated, keeps intruders from accessing your computer or phone's camera, and private browsing, which will keep websites from collecting your data and, for instance, targeting you with specific advertisements.

    Backup and Restore connects with Dropbox to store as many of your files as you want, while Protection for Kids is where you'll access parental controls.

    Finally, we have My Kaspersky, which functions as a central hub for all your different devices.

    What Kaspersky Total Security Offers

    As you can see, Kaspersky Total Security offers a lot!

    You have the two "security pillars" of very strong protection against malware along with a robust firewall, along with all the features you'd expect in a top-tier security suite.

    The password manager will store unlimited passwords and make it so you don't have to remember a bunch of tough-to-guess passwords that are very different from each other.

    The VPN will allow you to browse the Internet anonymously and can be turned the on and off with the click of a button, while the file encryption ability lets you store sensitive information in secure vaults using 56-bit AES encryption.

    VPN

    Data backup ensures that, even if your hard drive were to be fried, you'd still have copies of all your important files.

    Data Backup

    Unlike with Kaspersky Internet Security, with Total Security you'll get full parental controls. With the "Safe Kids" software, you can monitor your kids' locations and Facebook activity, prevent access to certain types of websites, and put limits on how long they use each device or certain programs and apps.

    What Kaspersky Total Security Does Not Offer

    One of Kaspersky Total Security's most obvious drawbacks is that it doesn't come with an unlimited VPN. In order to get unlimited data usage, you'll have to pay $29.99 a year, which gives you coverage for 5 devices.

    Additionally, unlike some other antivirus suites, Kaspersky doesn't provide its own backup - what you're doing here is just linking with Dropbox, where you'll get unlimited storage.

    Because of this, Kaspersky's backup is missing some important security features like two-step verification.

    Lab Results

    In AV Comparatives July-October 2020 Real World Protection Test, Kaspersky software was found to detect 99.7 % of malware. This put it on par with Avast and AVG. It was only beat out by F-Secure, Panda, and Trend Micro, which had 100 % detection ratings.

    Whereas those antivirus programs were awarded two stars by AV Comparatives because of their frequent reporting of false positives, Kaspersky was awarded a full three stars.

    AV-Test found in November-December of 2020 that Kaspersky detected 100 % of known malware and 100 % of previously unknown (zero-day) threats.

    Some antivirus software will only deal with malware after it has installed and attempted to execute. SE Labs found that Kaspersky was the only antivirus tested that eliminated 100 % of malware before it installed.

    Impressive stuff!

    Before we announce our final verdict, let's sum up Kaspersky Total Security with some pros and cons.

    Pros

  • Top-notch protection against malware, beating out most other antivirus packages
  • Excellent file encryption with 7 different options
  • All the features you could want in a security suite
  • Fairly minimal system impact
  • Cons

  • Limited VPN
  • No independent backup data hosting
  • No antivirus for iOS
  • Final Verdict

    Kaspersky Total Security is definitely one of the best antivirus suites available, there's no question about it. It consistently gets perfect or near perfect scores from independent labs.

    This means you can trust the company to keep your devices safe in a way few other pieces of software can and everything you'd want in a security suite is here.

    If you don't need parental controls, and only need protection for 1-3 devices, you may be fine with Internet Security. If you buy Kaspersky's Password Manager separately ($15 a year), you will technically pay about $5 less per year for Internet Security plus the Password Manager (that's $79.99 + $14.99 = $94.98) than you would for Total Security.

    Alternatively, you could use a cheaper password manager from another developer.

    Click The Button For Next The Malware Review.