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Kaspersky Anti-Virus review: is it safe to use?


Kaspersky Anti-Virus has enjoyed two decades of robust competition in the cybersecurity space. It might be quite user-friendly, and it might be quite popular. However, the reputation and security ties of the company are much more important than the bells and whistles of an antivirus app.

While we do not rate products based on political considerations, we cannot recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus because it is owned by a Russian company that has been reported to cooperate with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and leak real-time intelligence and identifying customer data.

Moreover, the domain of the Russian Ministry of Defense is hosted in Kaspersky's infrastructure, and Eugene Kaspersky, the owner of the company, has refused to condemn the Russian army's unlawful military actions in Ukraine.

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All put aside, this review will remain available for those who wish to decide whether or not to use Kaspersky Anti-Virus for themselves.

So is Kaspersky safe to use? Is it worth overlooking the scandals – especially when there are much more trustworthy antivirus providers, such as TotalAV or Bitdefender, available?

TotalAVKaspersky
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🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #25-
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💵 Price:from $19.00/year, 4 devicesFrom $38.49/year
✂️ Free version:YesYes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, Android, iOS
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Kaspersky antivirus pros and cons

Is Kaspersky safe?

Whether or not Kaspersky is a safe antivirus depends on what you consider to be safe. If you are looking for an AV tool that will not share your information with a government led by a dictator, then perhaps, Kaspersky is not the tool for you.

On the other hand, independent tests conducted by AV-Comparatives and AV-Test suggest that Kaspersky Anti-Virus can offer decent protection against malware.

On Windows, the antivirus was able to detect 90% of threats offline and 97.9% online. Moreover, it had only 2 false positives. In comparison, Bitdefender had 6 false positives, while TotalAV had 0 during the same tests. Both are considered some of the best antivirus tools of 2024. Overall, AV-Comparatives concluded that Kaspersky has a 99.96% protection rate.

Kaspersky AV Comparatives malware detection rates

AV-Test awarded Kaspersky with a 6.0/6.0 protection score for defense against zero-day malware attacks and the detection of widespread and prevalent malicious threats. Considering that the industry average for both are 99.2% and 100%, respectively, it was only expected for Kaspersky to match the results.

Kaspersky AV test results

Overall, when it comes to malware detection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus appears to be effective against malware. Nonetheless, do not forget to take into account how Kaspersky may treat your personal information. In some cases, safety goes beyond just the number of successful malware detections.

Kaspersky security features

While Kaspersky's reputation and ties with Russian secret services can give a lot of doubt about the company, the product itself claims to be good. Of course, as with any paid service, the actual set of available features will heavily depend on the pricing plan you pick. This means that it could range from basic virus and malware protection to an extensive suite with many additional tools.

Let's take a look at some of the features Kaspersky provides.

Virus scans

Firstly, there are the scans. Kaspersky antivirus solution includes these scans:

  • Quick Scan – checks the usual places on your device for malware, including the temporary files folder. If it finds any threats, the user gets a suggestion to perform a full scan.
  • Full Scan – scans the entire system.
  • Selective Scan – the user can choose particular folders or files to scan.
  • Removable Drives Scan – scans drives such as hard drives, USB sticks, and similar.
  • Application Vulnerability Scan – scans the applications for vulnerabilities.
  • Background Scan – scans system memory, disk boot sectors, and startup objects. The scan runs along with the Application Vulnerability scan and cannot be launched independently.
  • Instant File Scan – using this scanner, you can analyze files by dragging and dropping them right onto the application.

We did some in-house testing of some of these scans. Let’s take a look at our findings.

Quick Scan

The Quick Scan took around 1 minute and 30 seconds and scanned more than 3,000 files. The CPU load was between 25-58%. The scan did not find any of the 10 malware files, which is not that unusual for quick scans.

Full Scan

The Full Scan took a little more than 6 minutes to complete and scanned around 234,000 files. The CPU load was high – around 85% on average. The scan managed to find all 10 of the malicious files.

Kaspersky Full and Quick scans

Application Vulnerability Scan

The Application Vulnerability Scan was very quick – it took around only 15 seconds to scan around 7,000 files. It did not find any vulnerabilities.

Kaspersky Drive and Application Vulnerability scans

Background Scan

The Background Scan ran together with the Application Vulnerability Scan but took a lot longer. In around 2 minutes, almost 3,500 files were scanned, and no threats were found.

Malware protection

Kaspersky’s malware scanner has been tested by major testing labs, including AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. Both showed that Kaspersky performs extremely well, capturing 99.2% of zero-day malware and 100% of widespread malware, with an excellent result of minimal false positives.

Kaspersky File Anti-Virus settings

The most recent tests performed by SE Labs confirmed these great results 100% threat detection record. With 0 false positives, Kaspersky Anti-Virus earned a 100% Total Security evaluation.

All tests considered, Kaspersky offers excellent malware protection measures. Few antiviruses can boast the same results – one example is TotalAV, making it a great Kaspersky alternative.

Online Payment Protection

Online Payment Protection comes with all Kaspersky Anti-Virus plans, including Standard, Plus, and Premium. This tool ensures that your credit card details and financial information are protected against cybercriminals whenever you make an online transaction from your computer.

It does this by launching a separate web browser for the transactions to take place. This browser is more secure than your average browser. It automatically checks the payment page in Kaspersky’s constantly updated trusted sites list.

The feature also checks the security of your connection and scans your PC environment for threats that could endanger the transaction.

Many users buy online with barely a second thought, but payment transactions on popular web browsers do get targeted by cybercriminals. So, added protection is always welcome.

Real-Time Protection

Kaspersky Real-Time Protection is a feature that protects your device from online threats, most commonly malware disguised as legitimate files.

Kaspersky We've Got You Covered screen

During our tests, it worked quite well and deleted 8 out of 10 threats. The process was a little different than that of other antivirus programs, though. First, it flagged the malware, then marked it for termination, and only then deleted it, while other programs would put files into quarantine and ask the user how to proceed.

Two-Way Firewall

The Two-Way Firewall feature comes with all Kaspersky Anti-Virus plans. Its main function is to protect users against cyberattacks on the computer by monitoring outgoing and incoming network requests. It also makes it easy to allow or block suspicious requests.

The firewall feature is activated by default, but users can also disable it. Either via the main application window or the application settings window.

App Lock

Kaspersky’s App Lock feature is mostly designed for mobile devices. It allows users to restrict access to chosen mobile apps, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or others. This ensures maximum privacy protection.

The App Lock works by locking an app, and then asking for a code when someone tries to access it.

Safe Browsing

Kaspersky’s Safe Browsing tool scans various links for phishing website addresses and prevents the user from visiting them if any threats are found. A similar feature is a URL Advisor, which checks websites and flags them as safe, suspicious, or dangerous.

Kaspersky Safe Browsing settings

This feature is available on the Kaspersky Anti-Virus app and is included in all plans.

Kaspersky additional features

Kaspersky also offers an array of additional features that go beyond basic antivirus functionality. Here are a few worth consideration.

Password Manager

The full version of Kaspersky Password Manager is available for the subscribers of Plus and Premium plans. It allows you to store unlimited passwords and vaults behind a master password.

kaspersky password manager

Most internet users have many password-protected accounts, and internet security specialists recommend using a different and strong password for every account. Since most people can’t memorize that many random strings of characters, password managers are an increasingly essential component of web browsing as they fill in the login credentials for you.

Kaspersky Password Manager includes:

  • Password generator that generates up to 99-character long passwords.
  • Password check that notifies if the password is weak or old.
  • Leak detection that notifies if any of your passwords have been leaked online.
  • Document vault that offers storage for all your sensitive documents.
  • Auto-fill that enables you to automatically fill out login information on websites or apps.
  • Ignored websites list that allows you to ignore certain websites if you don’t want the Password Manager to save passwords.

Kaspersky has developed extensions for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari browsers. When you install the browser extension and activate it with your master password, you can autofill passwords from your vault whenever you visit the relevant site on that browser.

When compared to other top password managers, such as NordPass or Keeper, Kaspersky Password Manager is quite good, but not on the same level as the market-leading solutions. For example, the browser extensions don’t always work, and the free version allows for only 5 data entries, whether they’re passwords, photos, documents, or other types of files.

Privacy Protection

A premium feature of Kaspersky, Privacy Protection guards your browsing activities in a number of ways.

Kaspersky Privacy Protection menu

By default, Privacy Protection alerts you of attempts to collect your data – the way Facebook creepily knows what you have in your cart on Amazon and markets it to you, for example. The feature can also be armed to block data collection if you prefer to browse privately and not have your browsing history harvested for marketing.

Privacy Protection includes an intelligent ad blocker that doesn’t block ads when doing so would disable the website, as is the case with many banner ads.

Privacy Protection also includes a setting to block external access to your webcam by Peeping Toms. Note that popular apps like Zoom and Loom require access to your webcam, but these domains can be added to a “safe” list to selectively enable access to the webcam.

Protection for kids

Kaspersky’s Safe Kids feature for Premium plan subscribers includes a GPS monitor to track the location of your kids’ smartphones. On the devices themselves, it blocks inappropriate content, activates text and call screening, social-network monitoring, YouTube blocking, and YouTube search alerts.

Safe Kids was not designed for iOS and doesn’t work as well on an iOS device as it does on an Android.

VPN Secure Connection

VPN Secure Connection is a Kaspersky feature included in Plus and Premium plans. It’s easy to use and adequate as a basic VPN. Powered by Hotspot Shield, it offers a smaller range of locations compared to more competitive virtual private networks.

Kaspersky desktop app

The Kaspersky VPN paid version features include:

  • Smart protection – VPN automatically connects when an unreliable network is detected.
  • Kill switch – temporarily shuts down your internet connection to prevent data leaks in case the VPN connection accidentally drops.
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 2000+ servers in 100+ locations

There is also a free version of Kaspersky VPN available; however, it only offers one VPN server location in the Netherlands, no kill switch, and has a 200Mb/day data limit. That is not nearly enough data for anything, and it will take you only a few internet search queries before it runs out.

Compared to top VPN providers, such as NordVPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN is lacking in features, server count, and overall functionality.

Plans and pricing

PlanFeaturesPrice
FreeMalware protectionFree
StandardMalware protection, Two Way Firewall, Online Payment Protection, Crypto Threat Protection$38.49/year
PlusMalware protection, Hard Drive Health Monitor, Data Leak Checker, Password Manager, VPN$52.99/year
PremiumMalware protection, Identity Protection Wallet, Smart Home Monitor, 24/7 Remote IT Support$74.99/year

Note: We don’t recommend getting Kaspersky because of its ties to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). We strongly suggest looking into some alternatives, such as Bitdefender, TotalAV, or Norton.

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Kaspersky offers a range of plans – a free one and 3 paid subscriptions. The free version is basic and fairly limited, providing you with malware protection only.

If advanced security is what you’re looking for, then the Kaspersky Standard plan is a solid solution. On top of protection from malware, you’re also secured from ransomware and are informed about your data collection practices.

If you opt for the Kaspersky Plus plan, you’re going to get the same benefits as with the Standard plan. Additionally, you’ll also get a Password Manager and a VPN.

If you want the highest protection levels, the Kaspersky Premium subscription is where it’s at. With it, you get the same features as with the Plus plan, along with an Identity Protection Wallet, a Smart Home Monitor, and 24/7 Remote IT Support.

Keep in mind that the Standard plan only supports 3 devices simultaneously. However, Kaspersky Plus and Premium plans allow up to 5 and 10 devices, respectively.

Ease of use and setup

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is very easy to install. Once you select and purchase your plan, a download link gives you access to the installer file. It walks you through a total of 2-3 screens. You have the option to participate in the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) and the option to install recommended settings.

Windows

Once installed, Kaspersky offers a new and intuitive, visually appealing control panel with the main sections laid out as convenient tiles on the left side of the screen. Most features are very easy to find, but if a feature is not available with your plan, you may be prompted to upgrade. A gear icon in the bottom left allows you to access settings.

New Kaspersky Windows app

The app’s main screen displays a green checkmark or a red X to tell you whether your device is protected or not, and recommended actions are accessible via the Details button. It takes just a few minutes a day to square away your device with Kaspersky Standard, Plus, or Premium.

The Windows app has some unique additions like weak settings control. It prompts you to fix the issues to patch the holes, which could be used as an attack vector. There’s also the Rescue Disk feature that creates bootable CDs. You can use it in cases when your system is out of order and Windows refuses to load.

macOS

Although the offered feature set is undoubtedly smaller on the macOS version, the service does bring additional value. You can perform system-wide scans, disable your webcam, and block ads and intrusive scripts. There are some extra additions to increase your overall online security, like a VPN and a Password Manager. If you were wondering, this doesn't include parental controls, as the app doesn't seem to be working on macOS.

kaspersky page block

During our tests, we noticed that the broken parental controls app wasn't the only issue. The installation itself proved to be a challenge in itself. After running the app, we got an error that some protection components weren't running. Even after reinstalling the app, the suggested fix from their support page did nothing. It wasn't possible to ask the community for help either, as there was no code or indication of which component failed to install.

All in all, it seems that antivirus programs such as TotalAV, Bitdefender, or Norton would be better alternatives for easy setup than Kaspersky in this case.

Best Kaspersky alternatives:

Kaspersky mobile apps

Mobile users, instead of one app that has all the features get four separate apps on all platforms. iOS users get Secure VPN & Proxy, VPN & Antivirus, Kaspersky Safe Kids with GPS, and Kaspersky Passwords & Docs apps.

Kaspersky iOS app

Android follows the same clunky model and consists of VPN & Antivirus, VPN Kaspersky, Password Manager, and Kaspersky SafeKids with GPS apps.

You have to combine all of these apps to make a comparable desktop experience. That said, with these apps, you can check your device for vulnerabilities, view the devices on your network, check if your credentials have been leaked, scan for viruses, and enable real-time protection.

Some functions are more tailored to phones, such as blacklisting phone numbers, checking SMS messages for malicious links, locking certain apps, and anti-theft features.

Customer support

Kaspersky
24/7 live chat
Email
Phone line
Guides or articles
FAQs

Kaspersky has a bunch of customer support options available, whether you need human assistance or want to solve issues yourself. For starters, there’s a 24/7 live chat available, letting you find solutions to your issues at any time of the day.

In terms of human support options, there’s also a phone number you can use to contact the support team for more complex issues. And if it’s not a time-sensitive problem, or you just want to ask a particular question, you can simply fill in an email form. Keep in mind that all support options are available 24/7.

If you like to fix everything independently, Kaspersky provides you with an extensive knowledge base as well as FAQs. So, whatever the case, you’ll have plenty of support at your doorstep.

Is Kaspersky Anti-Virus good and worth getting?

We don't recommend using Kaspersky Anti-Virus, because there might be security issues related to its user identification ties to the Russian secret services.

In fact, the connection is so well established that Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) actively recommends not to use Kaspersky antivirus, and urges its users to consider alternative products.

However, as a product itself, Kaspersky Anti-Virus offers decent protection against malware, protecting your devices. Kaspersky also provides lots of useful features, such as Webcam Protection, a fast VPN, and an Ad Blocker to help you maximize your device’s security at all times.

Keep in mind that all of these tools are designed to use as minimal resources as possible, so the antivirus has little impact on your device's memory and system performance. Just keep in mind that there are way more secure and reliable alternatives to choose from.

All in all, the decision whether or not to use Kaspersky is entirely in your hands. It can be good if you're looking for simplicity, ease of use, and a couple of extra features to make your online experience safe – even at a pretty high price.

The taint of Russian espionage allegations remains, as do the bans by the US government, Twitter, and Best Buy. Kaspersky has been proactive in its attempts to rehabilitate its reputation, but when an internet security company is accused of being an avenue for espionage, proceed with caution.


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