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Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky: side-by-side comparison

Malwarebytes and Kaspersky are both heavy-hitters in the antivirus world. Malwarebytes delivers an easy-to-use antivirus solution with excellent malware detection rates. Meanwhile, Kaspersky boasts competitive pricing and a perfect malware detection record.

But, while Malwarebytes still enjoys massive popularity today, Kaspersky has fallen from grace. The Russian-owned Kaspersky has been reported to be in communication with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and is responsible for providing the FSB with real-time intelligence and identifying data of customers’ computers.

With that in mind, you might look at other options like Malwarebytes and wonder how it compares to Kaspersky. Well, that’s what this Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky comparison seeks to answer. Let’s see how they stack up in terms of features, security, performance, and more.

Editor's disclosure: We join the worldwide community in support of Ukraine and support the sanctions inflicted on the Russian government. Bloomberg reported Kaspersky Lab, the Russian-owned developer of Kaspersky antivirus software, to be in close contact with the country's Federal Security Service (FSB). The leaked emails indicate that the company provided FSB with real-time intelligence and identifying data of customers' computers. Cybernews does not tolerate the bloodshed, human rights abuses, and alleged Geneva Conventions violations the Russian army has inflicted on the Ukrainian people and won't stand in support of companies that might help enable it. Therefore, we will stop endorsing Kaspersky products.

Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky

⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#11 out of #23-
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💵 Price:From $33.74/yearFrom $29.99/year
✂️ Free version:YesYes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOS

Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky: which offers better protection?

Malwarebytes has the lead in the Kaspersky vs Malwarebytes security faceoff. While both nail independent lab tests and offer well-rounded features, Kaspersky’s security concerns tarnish its wins.

Here’s a look at how they performed in various independent lab tests:

SE Labs -AAA

Malwarebytes and Kaspersky pulled off the AV-TEST to receive the TOP Product certificates. Meanwhile, AV-Comparatives awarded Malwarebytes with the Advanced grade, which is a great result. But, Kaspersky one-upped it to snag the Advanced+ grade.

As for SE Labs, unfortunately, Malwarebytes wasn’t one of the antivirus programs tested. But, in contrast, Kaspersky did very well and scored the highest-possible AAA.

However, lab tests alone aren’t the be-all and end-all when you’re shopping for an antivirus. There are more factors to take into account.

For instance, in Kaspersky’s case, it’d be irresponsible to overlook its security issues as allegations of espionage, data theft, and more are certainly no laughing matter.

Plus, it’s worth noting that Kaspersky is banned or not recommended by many governments like the US, Lithuanian, and Dutch as well as companies like Best Buy, Barclays, and Twitter.

Wrapping up
While both providers excel in their independent lab tests, Malwarebytes is a muh more trustworthy option than Kaspersky. That’s because Kaspersky’s many controversies certainly call into question its security, which is far from ideal for a security solution.

Real-time protection

Both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky have strong real-time protection in place.

With Malwarebytes, you get multi-layered real-time protection that allows you to enable or disable each layer. One of such layers is Website Protection which protects against online scams and phishing sites by automatically blocking malicious or suspicious domains and IP addresses.

Meanwhile, its Malware & PUP Protection shields the system from malware, viruses, adware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and more. Exploit Protection, on the other hand, blocks and eliminates malware that leverages bugs and vulnerabilities in the system. Finally, its Ransomware Protection prevents malware from encrypting your files to extort money.

Kaspersky has its fair shares of real-time protection features to block common and complex threats, too. For instance, it continuously scans devices for viruses, ransomware, Trojans, and more. Plus, it also monitors all files and applications for threats when they’re being installed on the device.

Malware protection

Malwarebytes and Kaspersky have quite a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to malware protection, too. At the very basic level, both providers monitor, scan, and quickly remove all detected malware.

For instance, in Malwarebytes’ case, its 4-layered real-time protection is one of the main tools to protect against malware. In addition, Malwarebytes also offers additional features like Browser Guard — a free feature that blocks web pages that contain malware and other threats. Plus, if an infected file is detected, it’s immediately sent to the quarantine section to be neutralized.

As for Kaspersky, its basic protection to prevent and neutralize malware includes automatic exploit prevention, automatic Trojan removal, and instant threat detection. And, for fileless malware, it tackles it with features like malicious link detection, malware defender, and custom hardened browser.

Firewall protection

A firewall is a very practical additional feature that monitors and filters your network traffic as well as protects your devices from external threats.

Unfortunately, Malwarebytes doesn’t include a firewall in any of its antivirus plans.

In contrast, Kaspersky includes a two-way firewall for Windows in its two higher-tier packages. The firewall lets you view, assess, and manage all incoming/outgoing network connections.

Kaspersky Windows firewall settings

Here, you can edit the firewall’s network properties, configure network connection rules for individual applications, configure packet rules, and define a range of IP addresses.


Scans are the staff of antivirus programs and the very best ones usually offer assorted scanning options for more flexibility. That’s what you’ll find with both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky.

With Malwarebytes, you get a quick scan which checks for threats in the device's memory and startup objects. Then there’s the threat scan – daily scan for memory, startup, registry, and file system objects.

Malwarebytes Windows scan options2

Lastly, you can scan any file and folder of your choice thanks to the custom scan. It also doubles as the full scan since Malwarebytes doesn’t offer a dedicated full scan

On the other side of the coin, Kaspersky also has multiple scanning options. To start, its full scan canvasses all files, folders, and areas of your device. Meanwhile, a quick scan only goes through selected ones.

Kaspersky scan options

And, like every other antivirus, its custom scan lets you choose the files, folders, or drives. To examine removable storage media, you’ll need its removable drives scan.

Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky: feature comparison

Virus scans
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Phishing protection
Malicious website protection
Password manager
Quarantined files
Parental control

Both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky provide all the necessary basic measures. But it’s also plain to see that Malwarebytes is missing some important additional features like a firewall and webcam protection. Yet, it still offers some very useful extras like exploit protection, quarantined files, and a VPN.

But things get murkier when it comes to Kaspersky’s additional features. On the face of it, it’s slightly more inclusive and liberal with its features than Malwarebytes.

However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that most of Kaspersky’s extra features are limited to its higher-tier packages. Plus, a number of them come with restrictive limitations as well. For instance, its VPN is limited to just 300MB of traffic per day.

Wrapping up
Overall, both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky aren’t exactly the most generous antivirus out there. Neither of them offers a complete security suite but both have the fundamentals well-covered.

Malwarebytes features

Malwarebytes doesn’t offer an all-inclusive security suite but it has quite a number of very useful additional features to make it worth your while.

To start, its Premium subscribers get multiple layers of real-time protection that run in the background and safeguard against various threats. The different layers include malicious website protection that keeps you safe against online scams and phishing sites. Then there’s also exploit protection that prevents exploits from leveraging software vulnerabilities.

Apart from its real-time protection, Malwarebytes also provides three system scan modes in all of its packages: Quick, Custom, and Threat. And if infected files are detected during these scans or whenever, Malwarebytes immediately quarantines the files to mitigate harm.

Plus, if you’re willing to spring for its Premium + Privacy plan, you’ll get a 256-bit encryption VPN with the WireGuard protocol and over 450 server options.

Malwarebytes VPN feature

Alternatively, budget-conscious users will appreciate Malwarebytes’ Browser Guard. This is a free extension for Google, Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge that blocks ads and protects against a variety of threats.

To learn more about its features, read our Malwarebytes review.

Kaspersky features

Kaspersky has some very nifty measures in its reserve, too. Just be warned that most of these features are limited to its high-tier packages.

First up is Kaspersky’s Password Manager, which lets you protect and securely store things like logins, passwords, payment information, and other personal data behind a master password. This feature is only available to those on its premium Total Security plan.

kaspersky password manager

Another handy premium feature is Safe Money, which protects your financial transactions by opening banks, payment systems, and online store websites in protected mode.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky also offers a VPN in its two higher-tier plans. However, there’s a 300MB traffic limit per day, which might be sufficient for web browsing but likely too restrictive if you’re streaming.

Kids protection is also available in the highest-priced Total Security plan. It includes several measures like adult content blocker, app screen-time management, YouTube blocking, and GPS child monitor/locator.

For all features, read our Kaspersky review.

Pricing and plans

Both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky have flexible pricing options. The entry plan is rather similar in terms of pricing, but Kaspersky’s entry plan is only available for Windows. However, Kaspersky also offers a cheaper higher-tier plan.

In turn, Malwarebytes returns the balance with an outstanding 60-day money-back guarantee. Kaspersky, in contrast, offers only the standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

Malwarebytes Premium (1 year)/ Kaspersky Anti-Virus$33.74/year$29.99/year (only for Windows)
Kaspersky Internet Security-$39.99/year
Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy/Kaspersky Total Security $99.99/year$44.99/year
Check latest dealsRead Kaspersky review

Starting from Malwarebytes, its free plan is limited to virus scans only. And most users will find the Premium package – whether billed for a year or two – to offer the best value for money. Despite its very reasonable price, it has all you need for basic protection.

  • For the best prices, check out our Malwarebytes coupon codes.

As for Kaspersky, the Anti-Virus plan is an economical option for Windows users. It includes the basics like virus protection and anti-phishing technology but is still affordable.

Meanwhile, the Total Security plan can protect multiple devices. Plus, it comes with additional features, such as a password manager and GPS child-locator.

Wrapping up
To sum up, both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky are flexible in terms of pricing options. However, if you need protection for multiple devices, Kaspersky is the cheaper option. Alternatively, for better after-sales service, Malwarebytes is the answer courtesy of its extensive money-back guarantee.

PC performance

Performance impact is a vital factor to consider when shopping for antivirus and both Malwarebytes as well as Kaspersky could do better in this regard.

It’s very common for antivirus software to slow down devices since they’re constantly scanning the files and programs for threats. And yet, there’s no dodging these scans since they’re necessary to update virus definitions for new threats, sweep for viruses and malware, and uncover advanced issues.

On the bright side, Malwarebytes and Kaspersky’s performance impacts, when tested by AV-Comparatives, are better than what you’d see in the average antivirus programs. Malwarebytes ranked 13th with an impact score of 7.2 and Kaspersky ranked 3rd with an impact score of 1.5.

For this Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky comparison, I also tried to run quick and full scans to gauge their CPU, memory, and disk usage.

Wrapping up
Overall, it’s clear that both providers could do better in terms of performance. Kaspersky doesn’t go as hard on system resources as Malwarebytes during quick scans. However, the latter shows much lower average CPU load during full scans.

Quick scan

Quick scan0 h 2 min 21 sec0 h 3 min 14 sec
CPU load100% maximum, 65% average61% maximum, 50% average
Memory load50%35%
Disk load79%15%

It’s visible that Malwarebytes is much faster when it comes to quick scans, wrapping things up at just slightly over 2 minutes. However, the scan took a bit of a toll on resource consumption — especially on CPU and disk.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky took around a minute longer to complete it. Yet, the average CPU load was better than that of Malwarebytes. The memory and disk load results also weren’t high, meaning Kaspersky’s quick scan shouldn’t take too much of a toll on system performance.

Full scan

Quick scan0 h 36 min 13 sec0 h 27 min 21 sec
CPU load100% maximum, 75% average100% maximum, 98% average
Memory load55%39%
Disk load62%42%

As for full scan, Malwarebytes took over 36 minutes, which is very reasonable. Yet, Kaspersky completed the scan faster this time.

At the same time, the latter was very intense on the CPU. During the scan, the CPU load averaged 98% compared to Malwarebytes’ 75%. This means you’re likely to see a decline in system performance during the scans.

Apps and interface

Both Malware and Kaspersky offer a very simple and quick setup process. It takes barely a few minutes to install the software and start your first scan.

Malwarebytes offers apps for all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Kaspersky, on the other hand, also supports Linux.

In terms of app interface, Malwarebytes has the upper hand. For starters, its apps are vibrant, streamlined, and very easy to use with no learning curve.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky’s version is slightly old school and rather packed, which could be slightly intimidating to new users. Plus, it doesn’t have one dedicated antivirus app on mobile devices but rather a few different ones for separate features.

Wrapping up
To sum up, Malwarebytes offers a more pleasant user experience than Kaspersky on all devices. Meanwhile, Kaspersky doesn’t have one dedicated mobile app for Android or iOS but rather a couple of separate ones for different features.

Desktop Apps

Malwarebytes’ desktop app keeps things extremely easy and beginner-friendly. It sports three white blocks that contain all the essential tools categorized under detection history, scanner, and real-time protection.

Malwarebytes Windows interface-1

All other features are neatly hidden away and could be easily reached by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner, which leads to settings.

In contrast, Kaspersky’s desktop app prioritizes functionality over simplicity. While not complicated to use, the app is slightly fuller. However, it could be said that it’s a matter of personal taste.

Kaspersky Windows interface

Either way, be it a beginner or a regular antivirus user, you’re not likely to get lost or not find something. Everything is neatly sectioned on the left-side menu.

Mobile Apps

Whether you’re weighing Kaspersky vs Malwarebytes Android versions or their iOS counterparts, they all have pros and cons.

In Malwarebytes’ case, its Android version is a great adaptation of its desktop app. The mobile app has full-blown scan options as well as tons of features, including ransomware protection, privacy audit, and Google Play Protect.

Malwarebytes android application

On the flip side, its iOS version is more bare-bones with features to block spam calls, ads, and spam websites. But, while not ideal, it’s not too much of a deal-breaker because of Apple’s strong security.

Kaspersky’s mobile users, meanwhile, get very different experiences on different apps. For instance, Android users get the full-on antivirus with device scanning options and extra features, such as a VPN.

Kaspersky android application

At the same time, iOS folks get three separate apps. So, you’ll have to switch between the three apps to make full use of its services.

While I appreciate Kaspersky’s rich mobile apps, the switching between different apps gets old fast and is just plain troublesome. A single app with all the features in it would be a much better alternative.

Customer support

Live chat
Knowledge base

While both providers offer great customer support options, Kaspersky, unlike Malwarebytes, also offers channels that are available 24/7.

Malwarebytes and Kaspersky’s wide assortments of support channels include email, live chat, and phone. For those who prefer a DIY approach, they also have forums and knowledge bases for independent research.

But one notable difference between their services is that Malwarebytes’ support is only available during business hours while Kaspersky’ is available 24/7.

Wrapping up
In brief, Kaspersky is better in terms of customer support as it tipped the scale in its favor by offering 24/7 services.

Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky: final verdict

PC Performance
User Interface

Malwarebytes is a better antivirus than Kaspersky because of its security aspects and user experience. Malwarebytes has a clear reputation, giving it the upper hand when it comes to security. Plus, it also doesn’t neglect the ‘secondary’ aspects like user experience.

As for Kaspersky, it’s feature-rich, affordable, and has great support. However, all of its pros are undoubtedly and heavily tainted by its many controversies and security concerns. After all, a non-secure security solution is simply pointless.

Wrapping up
Ultimately, Malwarebytes offer much better service quality than Kaspersky. It’s a through and through solid A+ antivirus with well-rounded features, excellent security, and great user experience.

Alternatives to Malwarebytes and Kaspersky

If both Malwarebytes and Kaspersky aren’t the right choices for you, there are many more alternatives in the market. The two top options are Bitdefender and Norton Antivirus.


An extremely well-known antivirus, Bitdefender topped the list of best antivirus providers for both amateurs and professionals.

Delivering excellent performance and remarkable malware detection/elimination rates, Bitdefender is also often praised for its affordability and rich features. From just $17.99/year, its plans come with tons of advanced features like built-in VPN, anti-theft tools, and password manager.

Norton Antivirus

Norton has a great reputation in the market because of its incredible malware detection rates as well as great real-time protection. But, beyond everything, Norton is most known for its feature-rich plans.

From $19.99/year, its plans include fundamental protection as well as additional features like parental control, a VPN, dark web monitoring, and more.

Malwarebytes vs Kaspersky FAQs

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