Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security review

Pros

  • Well-appointed suite
  • High AV-Test score
  • Secure banking browser

Cons

  • No Android support included
  • Low 2GB of online storage

Kaspersky Labs is one of the best known names in Internet Security (IS), and PURE 3.0 Total Security is its top-of-the-range IS suite. It includes the core functions of antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spam, browser protection and a two-way firewall. On top of this, though, additional features include parental control, backup facilities with online storage, a password manager, online banking protection and data encryption.

Kaspersky has a main control screen with three panels, which turn from green, to amber, to red to indicate problems. The three panels are for Backup, Computer Protection and Parental Control, and a click on any of them takes you to a secondary screen giving control over their functions.

Computer Protection gives access to full, critical area and custom scans, though the custom scan only goes down to the drive level. If you want to scan specific files or folders, you can choose the Kaspersky option from the right-click menu within Windows Explorer.

The Backup panel leads through to a multi-stage setup Wizard which enables you to choose files by category, as well as individually. Unfortunately, the radio buttons only allow one category to be selected for each job, so you can’t pick, for example, documents and pictures.

There’s a simpler scheduler available, but it doesn’t provide for maintaining a set number of backup copies and clearing out older ones, as Bullguard does, for example.

Kaspersky has decided not to provide its own online storage servers, but instead ties in with Dropbox, giving you 2GB of dedicated storage (once you’ve set up an account there). 2GB is low, particularly for a 3-PC or 5-PC licence, and won’t be much good for storing photos or videos. Indeed, 2GB is the allowance Dropbox gives any new account holder.

Parental control has five levels: It can be turned off, just collect data on computer use, block file downloads and undesirable sites (child profile) or block the undesirable sites but allow downloads (teenager profile). There’s also provision for customising your own profile.

The secure browser, once set up with your bank account details, provides access completely separate from your normal browser, so it has none of the security vulnerabilities the browser might suffer from.

The password manager removes the need to store the many, many passwords you typically use for online shopping, banking and entry to sites. It works with the data encryption module to provide a truly private store for all these tokens. There’s also a data shredder to securely delete sensitive data you no longer need on your PC, and a virtual keyboard to foil keyloggers.

The only real surprise in the suite is a lack of PC tune-up facilities. Although you can tidy up and remove temporary files and flush caches, there’s no attempt made to help you rationalise the apps that start on boot-up, or to optimise the running of background tasks which can slow a system down.

When we scanned our 30GB basket of files, the program took 1 hour 18 minutes to examine 246,578 files, which gives it a scan rate of 226 files per second, one of the highest we’ve seen from an IS suite. A repeat scan looked at all but 16 of these files, but only took 46 minutes.

The program has a low resource hit and in our tests it only increased a 2GB file copy time from 1 minute 32 seconds to 1 minute 48 seconds, when we set its system scan running in the background. That’s only a 17 per cent increase.

In its latest round of tests under Windows 8.1, The German testing site AV-Test rated Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, which uses the same AV engine, at 18.0/18.0. In all three sections of the tests: Protection, Performance and Usability, it scored a full 6 points.

Protection measures effectiveness against both widespread and zero-day malware, while Performance looks at the resource hit the software places on the PC. Usability checks for false warnings and detections, which can be annoying when you just want to get on with your work.

The Kaspersky software showed a resource hit level of just 1 against a group average of 5 under Performance. In Usability, it gave just 1 false detection over two months, against a group average of 4. The software hit 100 per cent detecting both established and brand new threats under Protection. AV-Test may have to pep up its benchmarks if this keeps happening.

You can buy Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security for 1, 3 or 5 PCs, and the 3-PC package is a very reasonable £42. You need to pay extra if you want coverage for your Mac or Android devices, though, as there’s nothing included here on that score.

Verdict

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security has one of the best AV engines available, and its AV-Test results are exemplary. There’s little doubt you can trust it to protect your PCs.

In terms of features, it’s an odd mixture, with useful parental controls and a secure banking browser, but there are some gaps here, such as its low online storage allowance and lack of PC tune-up facilities. It’s also strictly single platform, although Mac and Android packages are available separately.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Product

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security

Antivirus protection

Yes

Antimalware protection

Yes

Antispam protection

Yes

Browser protection

Yes

Two-way firewall

Yes

Parental control

Yes

Multi-platform support

PC only

Online storage

Yes, 2GB (on Dropbox)

PC tune-up

No

Extra features

Safe Money, Password manager, Home network manager

Number of devices covered

3