Kaspersky Total Security wins the 2020 Tom's Guide Awards for top antivirus program

An image of Kaspersky Internet Security accompanied by a banner for the Tom's Guide 2020 Awards.
(Image credit: Future/Kaspersky)

With nearly unbeatable malware protection and a wide assortment of features, including a secure browser, backup software, a password manager, a VPN (with daily-use limits), parental controls and webcam protection, Kaspersky Total Security has won the first-ever Tom's Guide Award for best antivirus program.

For a list price of $100/year ($50 for the first year), Kaspersky Total Security will also shred or encrypt files for you, has a virtual keyboard to defeat keyloggers and rolls back files encrypted by ransomware to their original state.

The license covers five PCs, Macs or Android devices, and most of Kaspersky's PC features, including the webcam protection, work on Macs as well. Mac, Android and Windows users get the Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium parental-control software, which can be used to geolocate kids as well as block inappropriate material.

Kaspersky also has a clear, easy-to-use interface, a gaming mode to make sure you're not interrupted while playing a game or watching a movie, and defenses against the latest forms of malware, including fileless malware and attacks on a PC's BIOS/UEFI firmware.

Its Private Browsing feature blocks Web trackers, and it has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and the newer version of Edge that block known malicious URLs. And the online Kaspersky account, with which you can monitor all your devices that have Kaspersky software installed, is the first antivirus account we know of that offers a two-factor-authentication option.

Taking the top spot wasn't easy, though. Hot on Kaspersky's heels is Norton 360 Deluxe, which matches Kaspersky Total Security in malware protection and pricing and has many of the same features, including a password manager, webcam protection and parental controls. The two even have similar impacts on system performance.

Norton beats Kaspersky in some departments by offering unlimited VPN service, dark-web monitoring of personal information and 50GB of online storage to match its backup software. But unlike Kaspersky, Norton 360 Deluxe lacks file shredding, file encryption, a true secure browser or ransomware rollbacks. We'd rather have those features with Kaspersky Total Security and get our unlimited VPN elsewhere.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.