About the product
Excellent scores from four antivirus labs
Comprehensive parental control
File encryption and shredding
Tons of bonus features
Lacks hosted storage for online backup
Every full-scale security suite has antivirus protection at its core. Beyond that, suites can differ wildly in the collection of features they offer. Some products include an antivirus, a firewall, a spam filter, parental controls, and a little more. Others, like Kaspersky Total Security, pack in a vast number of features, covering every aspect of security. Among the goodies that this suite adds beyond what you get with Kaspersky’s entry-level suite are file encryption, a backup system, and a seriously enhanced parental control system. It’s an impressive collection.
Kaspersky, too, offers cross-platform support—you can use your licenses on Windows, macOS, or Android devices, and some of the components specific to Total Security support iOS as well. To get started, you activate your purchase on the My Kaspersky web portal and then download the appropriate installer.
The entry-level Kaspersky Internet Security features six buttons for six major features: Scan, Database Update, Safe Money, Privacy Protection, Protection for kids, and My Kaspersky. When you install Total Security, you’ll find that same group of six, plus two more buttons: Password Manager, and Backup and Restore. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free displays a slightly different group of eight buttons, with a shield overlay identifying features that require a premium upgrade.
As with the rest of the Kaspersky product line, a status indicator at the top shines a happy green when your security configuration is correct but changes to glaring red if there’s an issue. It also reports recommendations, with a button to get details.
Kaspersky Safe Kids
The first time you click the Protection for kids button, the suite prompts you to install Kaspersky Safe Kids, You can also go to My Kaspersky online and download the appropriate installer for Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS. Note that as a separate product, Kaspersky Safe Kids costs $14.99 per year. If you’ve paid for the Total Security family plan, you get the premium features at no extra charge. We’ve reviewed Safe Kids and given it four stars. For full details about its capabilities, please read that review.
You manage Safe Kids online, defining child profiles and aligning them with the devices each child uses. There’s no limit on child profiles or devices. A local agent on each device enforces the rules you define online and gives the child a summary of those rules.
You can set Safe Kids to block or allow websites in 14 categories, or to allow access but warn that parents will receive a notification. You can also set limits on when and for how long the child can use each device. For mobile devices, you can check the child’s location. An advanced geofencing system lets you define safe areas along with the time the child should be in each area.
Safe Kids can monitor social media activity on Facebook or on VK (which is popular in Russia). However, monitoring requires the child’s cooperation. Parents can define applications as Allowed, Forbidden, or Limited (meaning they’re allowed on a specific schedule). As with many of the features, application control is limited under iOS. The main thing it can do is hide apps that have a too-high age rating.
In testing, we discovered that under Windows and macOS, the content filtering system relies on Kaspersky’s browser extension to handle secure HTTPS websites. In an off-brand browser with no extension, forbidden websites that use an HTTPS connection slip right through. That means a smart teen could totally evade content filtering by going through a secure anonymizing proxy. The recommended solution is to use application control to ban the use of off-brand browsers.
On Android, parents must disable all browsers except Chrome. Content filtering on iOS devices only works in the Safe Kids browser, so parents must disable all others.
Parents can control the notifications they get, and the online console offers detailed reports on every facet of the child’s activity. Overall, this is a modern, cross-platform parental control tool. It didn’t make Editors’ Choice—that honor goes to Qustodio—but it’s very good.
Kaspersky Password Manager
Kaspersky’s password manager makes a cameo appearance in Kaspersky Internet Security on various platforms. However, it’s just the free version, which limits you to a total of 15 passwords, credit cards, notes, or other saved items.
With Total Security, you get the full Kaspersky Password Manager, available separately for $14.99 per year, and you can use it to sync passwords across all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. It does the basic job of password management and has a few unusual features, but it’s not a standout. Please read my review for the nitty-gritty details; I’ll recap my findings here.
On Windows, Kaspersky offers an extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and the Russian browser Yandex, and can also import passwords from these browsers. The extension handles the expected capture and replay of passwords. Your devices sync through the My Kaspersky online portal; you can also access your passwords and secure data via the portal.
The Security Check rates the strength of your passwords and flags any duplicates. It also reports passwords that may have been exposed in a breach. You can use the password generator to gin up new, strong replacements for bad passwords. And the password manager can also fill in credit card info and other personal data on web forms.
The unusual secure document storage feature seeks PDFs and scanned images that look like they represent documents, offering to move them into secure online storage. But you won’t find advanced features like two-factor authentication, secure sharing, or password inheritance. To get those, you need a more advanced password manager.
Kaspersky Total Security Specs