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Kaspersky antivirus review
If you can ignore the politics surrounding the Russian-headquartered Kaspersky antivirus, you can find powerful protection in its antivirus software.
It’s tricky to write anything about Kaspersky without addressing the elephant in the room. Kaspersky is based in Russia and, in terms of the global climate (at least at the time of writing this review), that’s not a good look. The reality is, I can’t find evidence to suggest that Kaspersky antivirus software should be evaluated as anything other than a reliable service. And in terms of antivirus, it still stands as one of the best.
How much does Kaspersky cost in Australia?
In top-level comparisons between Kaspersky and its closest peers, you’ll be flat strapped to find a better-value alternative for cheaper first-year pricing and ongoing annual fees. Kaspersky has the cheapest pricing for protecting a single device when stacked next to Bitdefender, Avast, Norton, AVG and McAfee.
To protect five devices, Bitdefender has the lead, but Kaspersky isn’t too far behind. If five devices isn’t enough, Kaspersky can also protect up to 10 devices for Kaspersky Anti-Virus (Windows only) and Internet Security, but the pricing is noticeably more expensive than Bitdefender and AVG. If five devices is too few and 10 is too many, Kaspersky Total Security maxes out at protecting seven devices, which is a device count that none of the other aforementioned antivirus providers offer.
Kaspersky Total Security is the main version that protects the typical Windows, Android, iOS and MacOS devices. At the time of review, it costs $74.97 to protect five devices for the first year before reverting to its typical $149.95 annual fee. I’d recommend starting with either Kaspersky Free or a 30-day trial for one of the premium options. If you like Kaspersky after this time, you can save money by opting for a two-year plan option.
Here's a quick overview of Kaspersky's available plans in Australia.
Kaspersky plans and product pricing in Australia
|Kaspersky Antivirus for Windows PCs|| |
|Kaspersky Internet Security for PC, Mac and Mobile|| |
|Kaspersky Total Security for PC, Mac and Mobile|| |
|Kaspersky Security Cloud Personal for PC, Mac, iOS and Android|| |
|Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection|| |
|Kaspersky Password Manager|| |
|Kaspersky Safe Kids|| |
|KasperskyInternet Security for Mac|| |
|Kaspersky Internet Security for Android|| |
The everyday user experience of Kaspersky
Kaspersky is a bit intimidating at first glance. There are technically three core Kaspersky versions, but the main sign-up page has dozens of options separated into different plans. Once you pick the Kaspersky version you want, you have to contend with a drop-down menu for the number of devices, one or two years, and you can even click through for more options if you want to protect more devices.
If you make it past that, things start to get easier, even if the Windows installation was very slow in comparison to Kaspersky’s peers. It’s worth paying attention to the prompts for the installation wizard as there are some great opt-in security features. Choose to keep or remove ad blocking, malware detection and/or malicious tool removal (I’d advise using all of those).
Installation of the Android version was a lot easier and there’s no need to create an account. The only quirk is to ensure you hit the little ‘x’ if you want to try the free version. Scans across Windows and Android are zippy but manually updating the threat database took a while on PC. Both Android and Windows user interfaces are easy to navigate, and you’ll find basic antivirus tools and extended features where you’d expect.
Kaspersky virus protection and performance impact
If you want 100% protection from viruses, you’ll want to look at Norton, Trend Micro or Avira. We defer to the extensive testing and independent expertise of AV-Comparatives and AV-Test for real-world threat protection results. Earlier in 2022, both Bitdefender and Norton had bragging rights to 100% threat protection for Windows devices according to test results from AV-Comparatives.
But after May 2022 test results, Norton, Trend Micro and Avira were the only three with 100% threat protection, while Bitdefender dropped ever so slightly to 99.9%. Meanwhile, Kaspersky blocked 99.6% of threats, including no compromises for user-dependent protection, and it reported an extremely low two false positives. Below is a table that shows how Kaspersky compared to the competition in terms of AV-Comparatives’ May 2022 test results.
AV-Test ranks antivirus services between zero and six in terms of protection, performance and usability. The list below compiles the latest available data for Android, MacOS and Windows software (no iOS, unfortunately), and shows how Kaspersky fares against the competition. There are a lot of perfect scores across the board, and Kaspersky is one of those.
|Avast Mobile Security 6.48 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Avast Security 15.1 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|Avast Free AntiVirus 22.1 & 22.2 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|AVG AntiVirus Free 6.48 (Android)||6||6||6|
|AVG AntiVirus 20.1 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|AVG Internet Security 22.1 & 22.2 (Windows)||6||5.5||6|
|Avira Antivirus Security 7.12 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Avira Security 1.11 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|Avira Internet Secuirty for Windows 1.1 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|Bitdefender Mobile Security 3.3 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 9.0 (MacOS)||6||5.5||6|
|Bitdefender Internet Security 26.0 (Windows)||5.5||6||6|
|G Data Mobile Security 27.4 (Android)||6||6||6|
|G Data Total Security 25.2 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|K7 Total Security 16.0 (Windows)||5.5||6||5.5|
|Kaspersky Internet Security 11.83 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Kaspersky Internet Security 21.1 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|Kaspersky Internet Security Suite 21.3 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|Malwarebytes Premium 4.5.5 & 4.5.7 (Windows)||6||6||5.5|
|McAfee Mobile Security 6.7 (Android)||5.5||6||6|
|McAfee Total Protection 25.5 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|Microsoft Defender 4.18 (Windows)||5.5||6||6|
|Norton 360 5.31 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Norton 360 8.7 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|Norton 360 22.22 (Windows)||6||6||6|
|TotalAV 2.1 (Android)||6||6||6|
|TotalAV 5.6 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|TotalAV 5.16 (Windows)||5.5||6||6|
|Trend Micro Mobile Security 12.15 (Android)||6||6||6|
|Trend Micro Antivirus 11.0 (MacOS)||6||6||6|
|Trend Micro Internet Security 17.1||6||6||6|
|VIPRE AdvancedSecurity 11.0 (Windows)||5.5||6||6|
Kaspersky additional features
Whichever version of Kaspersky you buy, you’ll get real-time antivirus, anti-phishing protection and performance optimisation. Upgrading to Kaspersky Internet Security adds some great features, including webcam protection, an ad blocker and online payment protection. There are also family-focused features like screen-time management and an adult-content blocker.
Kaspersky Internet Security also comes with a virtual private network (VPN). While it gets the job done as an antivirus add-on, there are better VPN options out there. The 300MB daily VPN limit in particular isn’t great for all-day protection (the VPN standard is for unlimited data). For extended protection, particularly for parents, Kaspersky Total Security adds a GPS child locator as well as encrypted file protection and a password manager.
Together, this makes for an attractive suite of protective software.
Is Kaspersky worth paying for?
Kaspersky is a robust and fully featured antivirus service. There’s money to be saved if you’re only interested in protecting one device or a few. But it’s great to see the option to protect five, seven or 10 devices for homes with more compatible devices. While threat protection was imperfect in the most recent tests, it’s still towards the top of the list of popular providers. Ultimately, if you’re curious about Kaspersky, try the free version or opt for the 30-day trial to see if it ticks the right boxes for you.
How we review antivirus software
We understand that the main job of antivirus software is to effectively protect devices from viruses, malware and, ideally, other looming threats like ransomware. While our team collectively shares decades of experience across consumer tech and software, we lean on antivirus experts when it comes to real-time threat protection.
AV-Comparatives and AV-Test are the two big ones, and we use their latest available reports at the time of reviewing to determine how effective antivirus software is at blocking real-world threats. AV-Test also performs tests to determine the performance impact of antivirus software and its usability, across three of the four main platforms that antivirus services tend to protect.
Our more active hands-on testing involves downloading, installing and using antivirus software or apps under everyday conditions. We test across computer and mobile versions and keep an eye out for any instances where it impacts everyday functionality. When it comes to scoring, we value real-time threat protection above all else, then factor in pricing (initial and ongoing) relative to the competition and included features.