Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity giant, primarily known for its antivirus software. It is one of the larger cybersecurity providers, with arguably the most popular and controversial antivirus program available today.
We investigated how Kaspersky fares compared to other antivirus providers such as AVG, Avast, Avira, Surfshark One, and Bitdefender, including how its ties to Russia may affect customers’ privacy and security.
During our tests, we used the Kaspersky Internet Security package. The features in this plan are comparable to the most popular software packages of other providers. Here’s our comprehensive Kaspersky review in 2022.
Kaspersky Short Review
|Multilayered malware protection||Based in Russia with connections to the local FSB|
|Extended protection for Wi-Fi networks & peripherals||Moderate to high system impact|
|One, three, and five device license options||Sub-par customer service|
|30-day free trial||Few features on the basic package|
|User-friendly||The basic package is only available for Windows|
|Built-in VPN, password manager, and parental controls included in some packages||Built-in VPN offers limited traffic bandwidth|
|Packages available for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS devices|
For this Kaspersky review, we focused on four categories: security, privacy, speed and system load, and ease of use. As you can see above, Kaspersky receives an overall score of 7.4. This score was mainly affected by customer service issues and privacy concerns.
Kaspersky has been at the very top of the antivirus market for almost two decades, but recent events and the company’s history with Russia have us cautious about its ability to keep user information private.
Notwithstanding these concerns, Kaspersky offers some excellent security features. Some of its award-winning features include:
- Real-time antivirus
- Anti-phishing protection
- Performance optimization
- Payment protection
- File protection
- Password manager
You can protect up to five devices with one Kaspersky Antivirus subscription. With their 30-day money-back guarantee, you have a full month to test the software and see if it works for you.
Do you want to get a subscription to one of the Kaspersky packages straight away? Click on the button below to go to the site of this premium antivirus provider.
Kaspersky Specifications and Subscriptions
Kaspersky offers three antivirus packages with different programs and features. Each subsequent package offers the features of the previous option with some useful extras. Kaspersky Antivirus programs do not just protect you against viruses and malware, but also safeguard, for example, online payments and your privacy.
Note: The prices in the screenshot above appear to be subject to change. During our tests, we regularly encountered different prices, ranging from $10.99 to $29.99 for “Kaspersky Anti-Virus” and $26.99 to $59.99 for “Kaspersky Total Security.” It is unclear to us why these differences are so big.
Of course, all three packages offer a scan function. This can be a quick scan, thorough scan, chosen folder/subfolder scan, or a scan of external devices (a USB, for example).
Check our summary of Kaspersky’s packages below.
|Feature||Kaspersky Anti-Virus||Kaspersky Internet Security||Kaspersky Total Security|
|Pricing||From $11.99 (one year)*||From $17.99 (one year)*||From $26.99 (one year)*|
|Number of devices||One PC||One device||One device|
|Compatibility||Windows||Windows, macOS, Android||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Smart & Fast VPN||✖||✔||✔|
|Adult Content Blocker||✖||✔||✔|
|GPS Child Locator||✖||✖||✔|
|Download Link||Get Kaspersky Anti-Virus||Get Kaspersky Internet Security||Get Kaspersky Total Security|
Kaspersky also offers some additional packages for macOS and Android devices:
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac: $19.99 per year* (not available in all countries)
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Android: $9.99 per year*
* Kaspersky prices change regularly and fluctuate greatly depending on the time of your visit, your location, and your browser. If you find higher prices than listed above, it might help to use a different browser or activate a VPN. For the most recent prices, visit the Kaspersky site directly.
Security: Can Kaspersky Internet Security Be Trusted?
Kaspersky offers some of the best protection against malware attacks. These are our findings:
- Independent test results show that Kaspersky has a 99.98% online protection rate and a track record of very few false positives.
- Kaspersky has received multiple top product awards from AV-Comparatives and Top Product certified awards from AV-Test.
- Aside from solid real-time threat protection, Kaspersky offers many extra security options, as well as anti-fraud features.
We give Kaspersky a score of 8.5 for its security, earning it a good place in our rankings.
Security testing: How does Kaspersky measure up?
We completed our testing of Kaspersky’s security and also reviewed AV-Test and AV-Comparatives tests. We combined these findings to determine our security score for this Kaspersky review.
In our usage test, we noticed that Kaspersky’s real-time protection capabilities are excellent. We tried to download a number of test files, which were disguised as malware for antivirus scanners. Each time, we immediately received a notification regarding the malicious file or URL. In fact, in most cases, the files were blocked in the browser and never made it onto our system.
AV-Test reported that Kaspersky has 100% threat protection during their tests in November and December of 2021. These tests were against malware attacks, inclusive of web and e-mail threats.
When we reviewed AV-Comparatives’ tests for 2022, we found that the antivirus program had a 95.4% online detection rate, which is high, but not among the highest in this particular test. It was able to fend off 99.98% of the threats, with only two false positives. These are incredibly good results compared to other antiviruses: only Panda, NortonLifeLock, and G Data had higher protection rates — and those showed many more false positives.
False positives occur when an antivirus program incorrectly identifies a file as a threat. This can be highly inconvenient if the files you are trying to download are harmless, but are quarantined regardless.
Real-time threat protection
Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Total Security do not only automatically scan all incoming data, but they all use a firewall for real-time protection as well. The firewall provides the first level of defense by either allowing or blocking certain traffic.
The scans cover data coming from all sources, including the internet, email, and external drives like a USB stick. It also checks the activity of all installed programs, preventing them from executing any harmful actions. Scans can be scheduled or user-initiated, and they range from quick to thorough checks. You’ll read more about this in the “Speed and Performance” section.
Kaspersky offers extremely high functionality and excellent real-time protection. Even so, most antivirus software in the same price range is comparable in this department, so while Kaspersky does a good job, the competition is tough.
Anti-fraud and anti-ransomware features
When it comes to extra safety features, Kaspersky has a few interesting options:
- Anti-banner filter: This filter can disable displays of annoying advertisements within your browser.
- Anti-phishing: You can protect yourself against phishing via text messages and e-mails with Kaspersky’s extensive database that automatically recognizes phishing messages in email programs such as Outlook.
- System Watcher: This feature helps prevent ransomware and other malicious programs from locking you out of your PC. It also scans your system for network attacks, so they can be stopped before reaching your device.
- Virtual keyboard: This protects you against keyloggers. Instead of typing on your regular keyboard, you can simply use the virtual one to securely enter sensitive information, such as your online banking details.
Privacy: How Does Kaspersky Handle Your Data?
- Kaspersky offers multiple privacy features, including its own VPN and a private browsing option.
- Most of the information collected by Kaspersky is necessary and optioning out of (some forms of) data collection might influence the performance of the product.
- Despite a lack of data breaches and giving in to government requests, the possible influence of governing authorities makes us uncertain of the level of protection Kaspersky can offer users.
After reviewing all the areas above, taking into account the necessity of data sharing and the possible influence of the governing bodies, we gave Kaspersky a score of 5.5 for privacy.
Privacy protection features
Kaspersky offers users an impressive level of security, and their privacy features include some extra options which are especially helpful for keeping your information private. These features include:
- Kaspersky VPN: Kaspersky added a VPN to their Internet Security and Total Security packages. While this is a nice bonus for users, the VPN isn’t the most impressive due to its bandwidth limit of 300MB per day. You can easily use up to 300MB in less than an hour when streaming online. But, it can suffice for browsing online when you’re on public Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop. If you’re looking for better VPNs, the dedicated providers in our top 5 VPN list will serve you better.
- Kaspersky privacy browsing: This allows users to keep their activities and data from being tracked by websites. This, in addition to the included VPN, gives users some anonymity while surfing the web. If you add websites to a “Safe Money” list, they will automatically be opened in Protected Browser mode.
Kaspersky also offers protection against data collection via websites, as well as protection against third-party takeovers of your webcam.
- You can opt out of certain data used for marketing personalization.
- Promotional offer pop-ups can be disabled.
- Users can choose to opt out of Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), but this can cause issues with the viability of the product or service.
- Per Kaspersky’s support, the only information the company shares with third parties is the one-time password for activating the program on your device. For example, the one-time password is sent to Google when you use Google Play to download the application.
- Other information that Kaspersky could collect and use includes: license and subscription information, product information, device data (type of device, operating system, etc), threats and suspicious files detected, information on installed applications, URLs visited, Wi-Fi connection data (including your access point), user contact information, emails, child’s device information (including their location), and the unique identifier of a mobile device.
While that may seem like a lot of information, much of that data is required for the services and products to function properly. Kaspersky even states:
“[I]f you do not provide personal data when requested, you may not be able to benefit from the full range of Kaspersky Lab products and services and we may not be able to provide you with information about products, services, and promotions.”
This combination of vague statements about opting out of data collection and the fact that they need a lot of information about you, your system, and your online behavior to provide you with their service makes us a little wary.
Kaspersky privacy issues and government connections
Kaspersky has its share of privacy concerns, but not due to data breaches or lax controls. For example, although the company had some issues with certain scripts on web pages that could be exploited to steal data, no evidence of actual abuse was ever found.
Instead, Kaspersky’s privacy concerns have to do with the composition and location of the company. Kaspersky was founded in and is still based in Russia, meaning they could be bound by law to aid the Russian intelligence service if requested.
Kaspersky is governed by the laws of the country where the original purchase was completed. This means that, if you live in a country with more government control, your private information could be shared with local government authorities without your permission. This is a cause for concern, but there is good news.
When reviewing Kaspersky’s Law Enforcement and Government Requests Report, we noticed that, although Russia has, by far, requested the most user data, Kaspersky has not complied with their requests in the past two years.
|Year||Number of Requests||Requests Approved|
This doesn’t mean they have not complied in the past or will not comply again in the future, but it supports the company’s claim of being a more transparent global entity. If Kaspersky can keep up this way of working and bolster the level of privacy provided to users, we might improve their privacy score in the future.
In the meantime, however, multiple governments across the world have taken notice of Kaspersky’s privacy issues and banned the use of Kaspersky Antivirus on, for example, federal agencies’ networks. Official organizations have also warned Kaspersky users about possible privacy issues.
Usability: How User-Friendly Is Kaspersky?
In our opinion, the Kaspersky software is generally easy to use. However, their customer support could use some minor improvements.
- Kaspersky has a very insightful website, and the installation process is easy.
- The Kaspersky dashboard is designed to allow you to access all the options easily and quickly.
- This provider has a straightforward cancellation process with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- It can be a struggle to get in touch with Kaspersky’s customer service, but you’ll get great assistance once you find the right contact information.
We awarded Kaspersky 8.0 for ease of use.
How do I install Kaspersky?
Kaspersky’s installation process is user-friendly with self-explanatory prompts, similar to many other antivirus programs. Kaspersky’s website looks clean and professional, making it easy to get a subscription and download the app.
Here’s how you can install Kaspersky on your computer:
- Go to the Kaspersky website. In some countries, you first have to select whether you’re a business or a home user. In other countries, you can go straight to the product section. To install Kaspersky, click on “View Products.”
- Choose the system and package of your choice and click “Learn More.”
- Choose the number of devices you’d like to get a subscription for as well as the length of your plan, then click “Buy Now.”
- Fill in your billing information and choose your payment method, then click “Buy Now.”
- Once your payment is processed, you can download the software by following the link that shows up on the confirmation page and clicking “Download.”
- Open the file you’ve downloaded and click on “Run.”
- Follow the steps and agree to the license agreement by checking the boxes and pressing “Accept.” We advise you to decline the agreement about data collection for marketing purposes.
- Click “Install” and wait for Kaspersky to finish installing.
- Add your MyKaspersky account for full access to all the features of the software.
You’re done! Kaspersky will immediately scan your system, after which the start screen appears.
You might have to indicate what part of the world you live in to make Kaspersky work properly before the installation file is downloaded. If this is the case, you can do this on the drop-down menu as shown below.
Make sure you pay attention during this step. Otherwise, the program you download might not work properly.
The options Kaspersky’s Internet Security software offers are not much more extensive than other providers’. However, the software comes across as very transparent and easy to navigate.
It is, for example, very easy to view details of different parts of the software. By clicking on a section’s button, you can see what is protected and what is not at a glance.
A brief explanation appears on your screen when you open a program component for the first time. With “Safe banking,” for example, it isn’t immediately clear from the standard interface what this feature entails, but then the pop-up explanation tells you how to use it.
You can view these user manuals at any point later in time by clicking the “How does it work?” button. This is very user-friendly and makes Kaspersky easy to use for beginners.
These explanations don’t appear in the Privacy Protection section, but the interface is more self-explanatory. This shows that the developers have really thought about the design of the software so you won’t be confronted with annoying and unnecessary content.
How easy is it to cancel a Kaspersky subscription?
With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you have a full month to test the Kaspersky software. If you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel and get a full refund. The cancellation process is pretty easy:
- Log in to your account online.
- Click on Existing Customers and then My Kaspersky.
- Click on Subscriptions.
- Click on the subscription in question.
- Click manage subscription.
- Click on the “Cancel” button at the bottom of the screen.
- Confirm your cancellation.
Keep in mind that, if you cancel your subscription when the first 30 days of your subscription have elapsed, you won’t get a refund.
Kaspersky’s customer support
When you go to the “Customer Support” section under “Existing Customers” on the homepage, you’ll see that Kaspersky offers different options to connect with customer service. These had varying degrees of success when we tested them:
- Knowledge base and FAQ: Kaspersky’s online support library can help you find the answer to a question, as long as it’s a more general one. These sections are only available in English.
- Kaspersky’s forum: Here, users can post their questions and get help from other users and Kaspersky moderators. Searching the forum for answers might help you out when you encounter an issue.
- Live chat: Live chat is usually a quick, reliable way for customers to get support, but unfortunately, Kaspersky’s version is an AI assistant that never connected us with a human. The prompts only led us to links on the website or provided a phone number.
- Phone: Phone support is available in different languages, including English, French, and German. When we called them, we were aided quickly and efficiently.
- Email: You can send in a support request, to which you will receive an answer by e-mail. This is fine if you are not in a rush, as it can take a full day for the support team to get back to you.
Kaspersky’s knowledge base and chat assistant are both great resources, but their live support is lacking. Although the support page provides an email and phone number for general inquiries, you have to pay for premium support to get technical support from a real person.
On top of that, Kaspersky asks a lot of information about your system, account, and issue before they connect you to support, which takes a lot of time and isn’t great for your privacy.
One bright spot in our experience was how quickly our questions were answered once we finally connected with customer service. In short, the speed and effectiveness of the customer support service are great, but the options for support could’ve been more accessible overall.
Speed and Performance: Will Kaspersky Slow Down My System?
In terms of the speeds of scans and the performance of the antivirus overall, Kaspersky scored well. Here are our findings:
- Kaspersky’s quick and thorough scans took a little while and worked well.
- The specific “gaming mode” allows you to be undisturbed by the antivirus while it works in the background.
- Kaspersky didn’t have a major impact on our CPU speed, although it heated our computer considerably.
Kaspersky’s good system performance resulted in a decent score in this category. We did subtract 0.5 points for the intense, thorough scan, which demanded a lot from our system. Overall, we gave Kaspersky a score of 7.5.
How long does a scan take?
Kaspersky’s scanning function gives you two options: a quick scan and a thorough scan. The thorough scan took us approximately 12.5 minutes, while the quick scan only took 40 seconds. These are excellent speeds, meaning you can quickly do a scan without it disturbing your other activities.
Aside from that, Kaspersky has several functions that make your PC easier to use and boost its performance. The gaming mode, for example, guarantees that you’ll not be disturbed by antivirus notifications while gaming. Furthermore, no scheduled antivirus tasks are performed when the battery is low.
How does Kaspersky impact my CPU?
Kaspersky was pretty light on our system. You’ll barely notice when a scan is running or when real-time malware protection is active in the background. During our tests, these processes used a total of approximately 110MB of working memory when running in the background. The CPU usage remained below two percent.
In addition to checking facts and figures, we have extensively tested whether other programs stay stable in combination with Kaspersky. We can conclude that, in that regard, little or nothing gives away that an antivirus program is running.
However, during scans, CPU usage and working memory usage go up quickly. Although this is to be expected with good virus protection, it is worth noting, as this might affect your system as well when using it. For us, these increases did not affect the performance of other software.
Unfortunately, during the thorough scan, our computer got very warm and the fans were running at their full power. We can imagine that some devices might suffer due to excessive system load.
Final Verdict: Is Kaspersky a Good Virus Scanner?
Would you like to take out a Kaspersky subscription? Click on the button below to go directly to the Kaspersky website.
Are you curious how other antivirus solutions compare to Kaspersky? Have a look at our antivirus review page for in-depth research on the most popular virus scanners.
Do you have a question you want a quick answer to? Check the FAQs below and your problem may be solved immediately.
The prices currently listed on Kaspersky’s website are:
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus for $11.99 per year (one device)
- Kaspersky Internet Security for $17.99 per year (one device)
- Kaspersky Total Security for $26.99 per year (one device)
However, subscription plans show up with different prices depending on your location, the time of your visit, and sometimes even your browser, making the subscription process slightly confusing.
In Windows 10, Kaspersky can be removed by taking the following steps:
- Right-click the “Start” button in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen to open the context menu.
- Select “Apps and Features“.
- The “Apps and Features” screen opens.
- Select “Kaspersky Security Scan“.
- Click the “Uninstall” button.
For Mac, Kaspersky can be removed as follows:
- Open the installation file of your package.
- Double-click “Uninstall“.
- Enter your username and password.
- Kaspersky will be removed.