Avira Ultimate Protection Suite
Kaspersky Total Security
• Great selection of system-security tools
• Good protection from various forms of malware
• Fully featured parental controls
• Not the easiest security suite to use
• Tuneup features are slightly lacking
• Poor protection from phishing websites
Kaspersky Total Security is an exceptional security suite that truly shines in several areas of system protection. In a few other areas, however, this software needs a bit of improvement. All things considered, users interested in a comprehensive system-security suite will not be disappointed with this product.
Recently, Kaspersky Total Security was released to compete with other products in the total-security market. In very little time, it earned a reputation as one of the best system-security suites available; we were eager to find out if Kaspersky Total Security could live up to its reputation.
To run Kaspersky Total Security, systems with Windows XP will need a 300MHz processor and at least 256MB of ram. Systems with Vista or Windows 7 will need a 1GHz processor and at least 1GB of memory to run Kaspersky well. On our system, which runs Windows 7, Kaspersky Total Security installed without any issues, but it did take awhile to complete. From the EULA agreement to the initial update, Kaspersky Total Security required slightly under 20 minutes to completely install.
Anti-virus – .
Firewall – Kaspersky's firewall offers more protection than most firewalls that we have tested. It works by placing applications into four different categories: untrusted, high restricted, low restricted, and trusted. While trusted applications are granted complete network access, applications in the untrusted category are blocked. Applications that fall into one of the other two categories are granted varying levels of network access. We found that this system worked quite well, and we had no problems adjusting program restrictions when necessary.
Parental controls – Unlike the majority of system-security suites, Kaspersky Total Security did not skimp on the features included in its parental-control component. In fact, this component's feature set rivals those of many standalone parental-control products. In addition to comprehensive web-filtering capabilities, Kaspersky's parental controls offer reports that provide detailed information concerning various types of computer usage, including web browsing and instant messaging.
In independent tests designed to rate the effectiveness of virus detection and removal, Kaspersky's scores are usually near the top. However, due to an excessive amount of false positives, Kaspersky Total Security occasionally scores lower than expected. In our tests, we were pleased to find that Kaspersky Total Security managed to detect and remove most threats without much trouble.
Kaspersky Total Security is excellent for backing up files and folders to local, removable, and network drives. The backup wizard guides users through the backup process, and it even automatically backs up files from commonly used folders, such as the My Documents folder. Specifying which files and folders need to be backed up manually is quite easy, and backups can also be set to occur regularly. Unfortunately, Kaspersky does not currently provide customers with online storage for backups, an option that many people expect from modern system-backup services.
Password vault – Kaspersky Total Security features the ability to conveniently store users' passwords in a secure, encrypted vault. To access the information contained in this vault, users only need to remember one master password.
Phishing protection – While Kaspersky Total Security does offer protection from phishing websites, the level of protection provided is pretty poor. In most instances, our browser was able to easily access phishing URLs. Effective phishing-protection software should hide and block most of these URLs; this is something that Kaspersky did not do well.
File shredding – Kaspersky Total Security has the ability to securely delete files. When a user deletes a file through Kaspersky Total Security's file shredder, it overwrites the file's data to ensure that it can never be recovered. This is a handy feature that most users will need at some point.
Kaspersky Total Security does offer a few PC-tuneup utilities, but they are clearly not the focus of this security suite. The utilities included perform standard system-tuneup tasks, such as registry cleanups. Kaspersky Total Security also has the ability to clear cookies, caches, and web-browsing histories.
Intelligent scanning – Kaspersky Total Security monitors PC usage to ensure that malware scans do not have a noticeable impact on performance. This means that users can enjoy their systems thoroughly without compromising their systems' security.
Gamer mode – This useful feature makes it possible to easily disable certain security features to ensure that games and movies can be enjoyed without interruption. While gamer mode is enabled, Kaspersky Total Security will reduce its resource usage and disable security-related notifications.
Ease of use
While Kaspersky Total Security is fairly easy to use, users who have little system-security experience may find a few of its menus and notifications puzzling. However, with the default settings in place and a little patience, most users will not have much trouble learning how to get the most out of Kaspersky Total Security.
Help & support
Kaspersky Total Security customers located in North America receive complimentary technical support. This comprehensive support includes complimentary help with technical issues via phone, e-mail, and online chat. Customers are also granted access to a large FAQ database that provides information concerning several common technical issues.
For home users who need comprehensive system protection, Kaspersky Total Security is a great option. The system-security areas that Kaspersky Total Security focuses on, such as anti-virus and parental control, are among the best in the industry. Other areas, such as system tuneup, could use a little work. Overall, this security suite provides everything needed to keep systems and their users safe.
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