Kaspersky Total Security Review

Here's what to know about Kaspersky's Total Security antivirus software.

Editor's note: We no longer recommend Kaspersky security products since the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared Kaspersky Lab a national security threat.

Based in Moscow, Kaspersky Lab is one of the best-known names in computer security. The company's antivirus lineup includes three products, and from least to most features, they are Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Total Security.

In this review, we'll focus on Kaspersky Total Security, its premium suite. Total Security is available for Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS devices, and comes with special features like the GPS Child-Locator and a Password Manager.

Kaspersky Total Security pros and cons

Pros

  • Top-notch protection against malware, beating out most other antivirus packages
  • Excellent file encryption with 7 different options
  • All the features you could want in a security suite
  • Fairly minimal system impact

Cons

  • Considered a national security threat in the US
  • Limited VPN
  • No independent backup data hosting
  • No antivirus for iOS

Kaspersky Total Security price

Total Security coverage for 5 devices costs $99.99 each year, while coverage for 10 devices costs $149.99 per year.  But Kaspersky often offers discounts, such as the 70% off deal that's live at the time we're writing this.

Kaspersky Total Security plans

Plan Price Number of users
3 Devices | 1 Year $89.99 every year 1 user
5 Devices | 1 Year $99.99 every year 2 users
10 Devices | 1 Year $149.99 every year 3 users
3 Devices | 2 Years $179.98 every 2 years 1 user
5 Devices | 2 Years $199.98 every 2 years 2 users
10 Devices | 2 Years $299.98 every 2 years 3 users

The differences between Total Security and Internet Security (the next step down) are that Total Security includes a password manager, file protection, and more parental control functions in the form of its GPS Child-Locator feature.

You can also choose additional add-ons, such as:

  • Expert installation and set-up: $19.99
  • Premium support: $39.99

Total Security features

Kaspersky Total Security is replete with features, including:

  • 24/7 protection against all forms of malware
  • A two-way firewall
  • VPN with 300 MB per day limit
  • Web extensions to protect your online browsing experience
  • Unlimited password manager
  • Unlimited data backup - you'll have to link with Dropbox
  • Secure browser for financial transactions
  • "Safe Kids" parental controls
  • Military-grade file encryption
  • Military-grade file shredder
  • PC Cleanup features
  • A vulnerability scanner
  • "Rescue Disk" that can clean your operating system from the outside in case of persistent malware

How to install and set up Kaspersky Total Security

First, go to your My Kaspersky page using the login information you used to purchase the program. Access this page from your Windows or Mac computer, or your phone, and download the corresponding installer. Here, we'll focus on how to install and set up Total Security on Windows.

1. Open the executable file, select your language, then press Continue.

2. On the next page, choose whether or not you want to participate in Kaspersky's Security Network — this just sends information about your Kaspersky software and threats it encounters, which the company uses to make appropriate tweaks and keep their malware database updated.

This is checked by default, as is the option to install the Password Manager.

If you have any conflicting programs (other antivirus suites), Kaspersky's installer will let you know and give you the option to automatically uninstall them. You'll typically have to reboot after uninstall.

3. At this point the installation begins. Once it's finished, you'll have the option to keep or discard a few recommended settings including a little, first-time startup tutorial, which may be useful if this is your first time using Kaspersky.

As you'll see, however, the program is mostly self-explanatory.

4. The password manager runs as a separate program and will take a few minutes to set up. To do so, click on Password manager, and then click open.

5. Once the password manager launches, click Open under the introduction screen.

6. You'll then be prompted to create a master password. This is the password behind which all of your other account passwords will be locked, so make it strong but somewhat memorable (for you).

7. After that, you'll finally enter the program proper. Kaspersky Password Manager functions through browser extensions, so it'll detect which browsers you have on your system and give you installation links for each.

We installed the extension for Google Chrome and, from there, the manager would ask us whether or not we wanted to save certain account passwords.

8. The other thing you'll want to set up right off the bat is the Kaspersky Protection web extension. The program should detect which browser you're using. Click Details under recommendations (for instance, you may see 4 recommendations, as in the picture below)

A screenshot of Kaspersky Total Security showing the notification "Your protection is live now"

One of our recommendations read "Using Google Chrome?"

Next to that (or the name of whatever browser you're using) click details and you'll be redirected to a page where you can download it.

This extension will verify whether or not URLs are safe, as you can see here:

A screenshot of the Kaspersky Protection web browser extension pop-up that tells you if a link is safe to click or not

It'll also protect you from phishing attempts, keyloggers, and other online threats.

User interface

As you see in the above pictures, Total Security's user interface is very simple, making good use of Kaspersky's iconic green and white color scheme.

At the top, you'll see if the software recommends any changes - click "Details" to see what those recommendations are.

Below are two rows of four blocks each. Let's go through each one by one.

Scan: The Scan option lets you run quick scans, full scans, selective (custom) scans, and vulnerability scans. You can adjust the settings of each type by clicking on the little gear across from the scan type.

Database Update: This simply checks for new forms of malware — it will run without your input but by clicking "Run update" you can do it any time.

Safe Money: This is Kaspersky's secure browser. What you'll do is add specific URLs to the list and choose whether you want the secure browser to always run with that site, for it to ask you whether or not you want it to run, or to never run for that site.

We added paypal.com, and set the secure browser to run whenever the site was opened. As you can see, it worked like a charm:

A screenshot of the Kaspersky Safe Money web browser option to add websites and directions for the browser to follow when that website opens

A screenshot of the Kaspersky Safe Money web browser switching to a protected browser when you try to visit paypal.com

Password Manager: The Password Manager will store your various online passwords behind the main password.

Every time you login into an account online, the Password Manager web extension will ask if you want to store the password, or not. Alternatively, you can add them to the password manager by clicking "+ Add" on the top of the Password Manager's main window. From there, fill in the appropriate web address and login information.

Privacy Protection: Here you'll find Webcam protection, which, when activated, keeps intruders from accessing your computer or phone's camera, and private browsing, which will keep websites from collecting your data and, for instance, targeting you with specific advertisements.

Backup and Restore: This connects with Dropbox to store as many of your files as you want. 

Protection for Kids: This is where you'll access parental controls.

My Kaspersky: This functions as a central hub for all your different devices.

What Kaspersky Total Security offers

As you can see, Kaspersky Total Security offers a lot!

You have the two "security pillars" of very strong protection against malware along with a robust firewall, along with all the features you'd expect in a top-tier security suite.

The password manager will store unlimited passwords and make it so you don't have to remember a bunch of tough-to-guess passwords that are very different from each other.

The VPN will allow you to browse the Internet anonymously and can be turned on and off with the click of a button, while the file encryption ability lets you store sensitive information in secure vaults using 256-bit AES encryption.

A screenshot of the Kaspersky VPN dashboard showing a big green hexagon and a toggle to turn the VPN on and off

Data backup ensures that, even if your hard drive were to be fried, you'd still have copies of all your important files.

A screenshot of the Kaspersky Total Security Backup and Restore dashboard where you can back up copies of your files

Unlike Kaspersky Internet Security, with Total Security you'll get full parental controls. With the "Safe Kids" software, you can monitor your kids' locations and Facebook activity, prevent access to certain types of websites, and put limits on how long they use each device or certain programs and apps.

What Kaspersky Total Security doesn't offer

One of Kaspersky Total Security's most obvious drawbacks is that it doesn't come with an unlimited VPN. In order to get unlimited data usage, you'll have to pay $29.99 a year, which gives you coverage for 5 devices.

Additionally, unlike some other antivirus suites, Kaspersky doesn't provide its own backup — what you're doing here is just linking with Dropbox, where you'll get unlimited storage.

Because of this, Kaspersky's backup is missing some important security features like two-step verification.

Kaspersky Total Security lab results

In AV Comparatives' February–March 2022 Real-World Protection Test, Kaspersky software was found to detect 99.4% of malware. This put it on par with Avast and AVG. It was beat out by Avira, Bitdefender, Malwarebytes, Norton LifeLock, and Trend Micro, which all had 100% detection ratings.

AV Comparatives awarded Kaspersky three stars for malware protection and two stars for performance.

Bottom line

Kaspersky Total Security offers top-level antivirus protection, but US residents may want to avoid it due to national security concerns and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine. (Kaspersky is a Russian company, after all.)

If you don't need parental controls, and only need protection for 1-3 devices, you may be fine with Internet Security. If you buy Kaspersky's Password Manager separately ($15 a year), you will technically pay about $5 less per year for Internet Security plus the Password Manager (that's $79.99 + $14.99 = $94.98) than you would for Total Security.

Alternatively, you could use a cheaper password manager from another developer.