Kaspersky Internet Security 2019 review: Features and performance
The first is that it’s a supremely effective antivirus tool. The latest figures from both AV-Comparatives and AV-Test saw Kaspersky achieve a flawless clean sheet against all types of malware. What’s more, it did so with a phenomenal false positive rate of just 0.01% – this is as near to perfection as makes no odds.
Note that percentage is compared to using no protection at all – if you’re using Windows Defender with its lowly 78% performance score, installing Kaspersky will actually give you a significant speed boost.
The third thing Kaspersky has going for it is one of the most extensive feature sets in the business. Indeed, we several years ago reached the point where there were no major functions left to add, and compared to last year’s release, the 2019 version is much more of a tinkering-with than an upgrade.
The one thing that’s really new is the front-end: it exposes all the same functions, but has a cleaner, cooler look, with the medical green highlights of the 2018 edition replaced with a much more sombre shade. There’s been a bit of a reorganisation too.
Where the interface was previously characterised by dense lists of links and toggles, it’s now more structured, with more subdivisions, more white space and jaunty illustrations to add visual interest to the various panes. The detailed stats and grungy technical settings are still there, but you now have to dig a little more deeply to find them.
Another change is that Kaspersky now blocks adware, web trackers and “potentially unwanted applications” by default, where previously you had to opt into those behaviours. We think this is the right call, although all it means in practice is that some of the boxes that come up at installation are now pre-ticked.
Along with the revamped interface, it makes the package feel a little more consumer-friendly, and less of a techie product; whether that’s a good or bad thing, we’ll let you decide.
So, let’s talk about the functions themselves. One of our favourite features remains Kaspersky’s Trusted Applications mode, which automatically blocks all software that isn’t on the company’s own whitelist. This makes Kaspersky ideal as a fuss-free security suite for less technical friends and family; indeed, it’s a good starting point for most users, as if a program you trust is blocked, you can always individually approve it.
We also like the way that Kaspersky smoothly transfers you into the suite’s hardened Safe Money browser when you visit a banking site, or any other site on your own customised list. It takes a lot of the friction out of the process – although for obvious reasons it won’t store your passwords.
Other welcome abilities include a software cleaner, for apps that you can’t get shot of via the normal avenues; a webcam protection module that warns you if anyone’s trying to snoop through your camera; an automatic software updater and vulnerability scanner; and a parental control module that allows you to restrict not only internet and application usage but social media access as well.
The one feature we have never been quite so sold on is the VPN component, because it’s a limited trial that allows you only 200MB of traffic a day. Still, Kaspersky hardly shoves it in your face; we’re pleased to see that it’s now discreetly tucked away in the Tools menu. And if you do want to upgrade to the unlimited service, it costs a very reasonable £20 a year for up to five PCs.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2019 review: Verdict
That brings us to the fourth and final reason we keep coming back to Kaspersky: sure, you can pay £45 for the software on Kaspersky’s own website, but hop over to third-party sites and you can buy a three-device licence for just £25, making this not only one of the best, but also one of the cheapest internet security suites out there. Considering that the subscription includes Android support as well, it adds up – not for the first time – to a package that simply can’t be beaten