KASPER­SKY

Se­cu­rity Cloud

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -

£50-£100 per year From www.kasper­sky.co.uk

VERDICT

It’s mostly fa­mil­iar, but Kasper­sky Se­cu­rity Cloud is fea­ture-rich and can talk you out of bad se­cu­rity prac­tices

RATHER THAN BE­ING an all-new prod­uct, Kasper­sky Se­cu­rity Cloud ap­pears to have been built around the ex­ist­ing To­tal Se­cu­rity suite – they’re both multi-plat­form, share the same anti-virus en­gine, and come with mostly iden­ti­cal ex­tras, in­clud­ing the Se­cure Con­nec­tion VPN and the Soft­ware Up­dater and Soft­ware Cleaner tools.

That’s no bad thing: To­tal Se­cu­rity is a fully fea­tured as­sort­ment of pro­tec­tion that, most im­por­tantly, is prac­ti­cally per­fect at catch­ing mal­ware while avoid­ing false pos­i­tives. Still, it raises the ques­tion of what Se­cu­rity Cloud does dif­fer­ently. The an­swer is how it tai­lors pro­tec­tion and warn­ings to spe­cific users.

Se­cu­rity Cloud keeps track of user de­tails and habits, such as com­mon pass­words or what kinds of sen­si­tive on­line ser­vices (such as shop­ping or bank­ing) they use. Once the soft­ware knows enough to iden­tify po­ten­tial weak­nesses, it springs into ac­tion, telling you if a pass­word is weak or be­ing re-used too of­ten, or of­fer­ing to launch Se­cure Con­nec­tion when vis­it­ing a po­ten­tially risky web­site.

HIGH ALERT

As far as we can tell, the core anti-mal­ware pro­tec­tion is still al­ways run­ning, so any ben­e­fits of this – some­thing Kasper­sky calls ‘adap­tive se­cu­rity’ – is ic­ing on the cake. Our favourite fea­ture is that it will warn you if a ser­vice you use has suf­fered a large-scale, Equifax-style data breach, some­thing you might only oth­er­wise hear about in the news. It’s like an In­foSec-ob­sessed friend, giv­ing you a heads-up if your in­for­ma­tion is at risk.

Per­haps this won’t be ter­ri­bly use­ful to any­one who al­ready em­ploys a high stan­dard of per­sonal se­cu­rity, but for the less knowl­edge­able, it could make the dif­fer­ence be­tween every­day nor­mal­ity and some thief mak­ing off with your bank­ing de­tails. All anti-virus prod­ucts at­tempt to negate the ef­fects of care­less­ness, but by learn­ing habits and giv­ing ad­vice, Se­cu­rity Cloud takes ac­tive steps to im­prove your ap­proach to se­cu­rity.

That’s a noble goal, and it’s not as if we were bom­barded with busy­body no­ti­fi­ca­tions when we were just try­ing to get on with things – at least, not on Win­dows. On An­droid, we were asked if we wanted to en­gage Se­cure Con­nec­tion when load­ing pretty much any­thing that re­quired a pass­word. This, and the irony of anti-mal­ware soft­ware try­ing to learn ev­ery­thing about us, are the only ques­tion­able as­pects of this adap­tive se­cu­rity tech, which isn’t bad for a first at­tempt.

It def­i­nitely helps that Kasper­sky Se­cu­rity Cloud is backed up by the very same anti-virus en­gine that pow­ers To­tal Se­cu­rity. Ac­cord­ing to AV-Test, this en­gine de­tected and blocked ev­ery sin­gle piece of mal­ware thrown at it, and didn’t make a sin­gle false pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion either. Its im­pact on gen­eral per­for­mance is also well below in­dus­try av­er­ages, so even low-end PCs won’t be slowed down too much.

PRI­VACY PLEASE

The Se­cure Con­nec­tion VPN is an­other To­tal Se­cu­rity holdover, and it works iden­ti­cally: by de­fault, you only get up to 300MB (it’s nor­mally 200MB if you don’t sign in with a My Kasper­sky ac­count, but that’s es­sen­tial for Se­cu­rity Cloud any­way), and the server lo­ca­tion is cho­sen au­to­mat­i­cally – in our case, this tended to be in the Nether­lands.

Per­for­mance-wise, it’s pretty de­cent; Speedtest.net mea­sured our down­load speeds at 42.22Mbit/s, only down a bit from 48.02Mbit/s when Se­cure Con­nec­tion was switched off, but that 300MB de­pletes very quickly. If you don’t al­ready have a pre­ferred VPN, it’s worth up­grad­ing, for either £4 per month or £20 per year. This al­lows for un­lim­ited data and a mas­sive list of server lo­ca­tions for you to choose from.

Not to labour a point, but it’s re­mark­able how sim­i­lar Se­cu­rity Cloud is to To­tal Se­cu­rity when you’re us­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion. The UI is ba­si­cally the same, and most tools are shared be­tween them – from Soft­ware Cleaner, which checks your PC for barely used pro­grams that may turn out to be mal­ware in­stalled un­der your nose; to Safe Money, which opens bank­ing sites in a pro­tected win­dow that can’t have code in­jected from other ap­pli­ca­tions.

Parental con­trols, in the form of Kasper­sky Safe Kids, are an ex­cep­tion, but only be­cause you need to buy a Fam­ily li­cence for Se­cu­rity Cloud to get them; the Per­sonal li­cence doesn’t in­clude its set of fil­ters and time-lim­it­ing tools.

Se­cu­rity Cloud is like an In­foSec-ob­sessed friend, giv­ing you a heads-up if your in­for­ma­tion is at risk

CLOUD NINE

This might be a shame for very small fam­i­lies, as the cheap­est an­nual Per­sonal li­cence costs £50 for one user ac­count and three de­vices – so you could, in the­ory, ap­ply Se­cu­rity Cloud to your child’s tablet. That said, this is clearly in­tended for a sin­gle user with, say, a PC, a lap­top and a hand­held, and while the one-year Fam­ily li­cence is a lot pricier at £100, it’s also a lot more gen­er­ous: up to 20 user ac­counts are cov­ered, along with up to 20 de­vices.

If that’s still too much, par­ents might be bet­ter off with a five-de­vice li­cence for To­tal Se­cu­rity, which costs £60. This means los­ing that adap­tive tech, how­ever, which could help pre­vent child-in­duced mishaps. Either way, in­di­vid­ual buy­ers are bet­ter off with Se­cu­rity Cloud, as a one-year, three-de­vice li­cence for To­tal Se­cu­rity costs ex­actly the same: £50.

No ex­tra charge for smarter soft­ware that can curb your worst se­cu­rity habits? Sounds like Best Buy ma­te­rial to us.

James Archer

⬆ Many of Se­cu­rity Cloud’s tools are the same as Kasper­sky’s To­tal Se­cu­rity suite, which is no bad thing

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