Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device review

You can buy Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device in three-, five-, and ten-license packs to protect your PCs, Macs, and Android devices. At the ten-license level it's a bargain, but it's still not the unlimited protection offered by some of the competition.
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How many PCs in your household? Macs? Mobile devices? You’ve probably got quite a few, so the typical security suite package that licenses protection for three PCs just won’t do. With Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device you can install protection for PCs, Macs, and Android devices, and manage your subscription through a Web-based dashboard.

At $79.95 per year for three devices, the basic package costs the same as Kaspersky’s PC-centric security suite. If three licenses aren’t enough, you can protect five devices for $99.95 per year, or go all out and get a ten-device license for $149.95 per year.

Kaspersky’s pricing is somewhat more flexible than that of Norton 360 Multi-Device, which only offers a five-device subscription for $99.95 per year. However, neither of these two can beat the price of McAfee LiveSafe; a $79.95 subscription to LiveSafe is good for every single device in your household.

Protection for Each Device
To get started, you’ll create a Kaspersky account online and associate your subscription with that account. As with Norton and McAfee, you can install protection on the current device or send a link to install on other devices.

PC protection is provided by Kaspersky Internet Security (2014), a versatile security suite with a parental control system that’s more complete than most suites. It features very accurate spam and phishing detection as well as a protected browser for financial transactions. Do read my full review for a complete description of this product.

As is often the case, Mac users don’t get quite as many suite features. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac (2014) does scan for malware and block phishing attacks, and it includes a full-featured parental control system. Access to the Kaspersky Security Network lets it detect the newest threats. By using the virtual keyboard you can foil even hardware keyloggers.

Kaspersky Internet Security (for Android) is a full-featured mobile protection suite. In addition to the expected antivirus and antitheft components, it can block unwanted calls and texts, scan all downloads for malware and privacy issues, and flag dangerous websites in Chrome. To keep the app from being used for snooping, antitheft features like checking device location and snapping “mugshots” also visibly lock the device.

When you go to add a new device, you’ll see iOS on the page. However, the multi-device subscription doesn’t actually include iOS security. The only thing you can install for iOS is Kaspersky Password Manager. Note, too, that your multi-device subscription doesn’t include the full password manager. PC and Mac users are limited to 15 passwords and one form-fill identity; mobile users must pay for the full product after six days.

Kaspersky Protection Center
Kaspersky’s multi-device product was previously named “Kaspersky ONE Universal Security,” and it didn’t include any kind of remote management. In effect, it was just a bundle of unconnected products. The addition of the Kaspersky Protection Center online dashboard in the current product is a definite plus.

For each of your protected devices, the dashboard displays the installed Kaspersky products, specifically Internet Security and (if present) password manager. It also reports each device’s protection status, warning about such things as license issues and out-of-date antivirus definitions. I’d like to see some degree of remote management. Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete (2014) lets you launch a scan or update, or remotely shut down, restart, or lock the device.

From the protection center you can also view all your Kaspersky licenses. The license page shows how much more time is left on each license and which devices are associated with it. You can also dig in to get your activation code.

For Android devices, the Protection Center is the gateway to remote management. You can locate the device, sound an alarm, snap a “mugshot” of whoever is using the device, wipe personal data, or perform a full factory wipe. Each of these antitheft actions also locks the device, so you can’t use Kaspersky for surreptitious snooping. I did find the antitheft console rather awkward compared to what you get with Norton or McAfee.

I did find a few problems with the online console. One of my test systems showed a red “no license” warning with an offer to buy; that cleared up overnight. Another showed up twice. I completely disabled protection for one system, but the console never reflected a security problem.

In trying to solve these problems I ran into a surprise; Kaspersky Protection Center is just barely out of beta. It’s had a “soft launch” in the US and a few other markets. My Kaspersky contact explained that they’ll be “gradually rolling out features and fixes in the coming months.” I’m not entirely pleased to find that this important component is still a work in progress.

Slightly Flexible
Norton 360 Multi-Device very specifically comes in a five-license package; if you want six, you have to buy five more. With Kaspersky, you can choose three, five, or ten licenses, and at the ten-license level the price is down to $14.99 per device. In both cases, you can mix and match any combination of PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. The five-device Norton package costs the same as a three-license pack of Norton 360 (2014) Premier edition, so if you’ve got five PCs it’s a bargain.

On the other hand, Bitdefender Sphere and McAfee LiveSafe don’t apply any limits on the number of devices you can protect. McAfee extends some degree of protection to BlackBerry, iOS, and Kindle Fire devices, making it the most comprehensive for mobile protection. In addition, it offers advanced features including laptop antitheft and the highly secure Personal Locker. McAfee LiveSafe remains our Editors’ Choice for cross-platform multi-device security.

You can buy Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device in three-, five-, and ten-license packs to protect your PCs, Macs, and Android devices. At the ten-license level it's a bargain, but it's still not the unlimited protection offered by some of the competition.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc