McAfee and Kaspersky are some of the oldest, most trusted names in the antivirus business, but their ideal use cases vary. See which is best for you.

McAfee and Kaspersky are two of the leading endpoint detection and response solutions available today. While both have a lot to offer, and many of their features overlap, there are some notable differences between them. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at McAfee vs. Kaspersky for 2022.

What is McAfee?

McAfee is one of the earliest antivirus software providers, coming onto the scene in the late 1980s. Today, it remains one of the most recognizable names in the industry, and for good reason. Its security suite, McAfee Total Protection, offers comprehensive protection, including award-winning anti-malware software, identity monitoring and a password manager.

McAfee’s internet security comes with a strong emphasis on privacy. It includes a file shredder to ensure confidential files remain inaccessible after use, a secure web browser and an automatically connecting virtual private network.

While Total Protection targets consumer markets, McAfee’s enterprise security doesn’t fall short, either. It includes vulnerability monitoring and ransomware protection to provide the advanced protection businesses need. It’s also compatible across Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android, helping you protect all of the devices your team may use.

What is Kaspersky?

Like McAfee, Kaspersky is a well-established name in cybersecurity, emerging just a bit later in the 80s. Its premium suite, Kaspersky Total Security, is likewise full of helpful security features for both consumers and enterprise users.

Kaspersky Total Security boasts even more privacy features than McAfee. On top of a VPN and secure web browser, the suite has webcam and microphone protection, encrypted file backups and payment protection that encrypts traffic on financial sites and apps. Most of these features are available on its middle pricing tier, Kaspersky Internet Security, too.

One of Kaspersky’s most unique features is its GPS locator. While intended for parents to ensure their children’s safety, this device-tracking tool can help businesses keep track of their hardware assets. Like McAfee, Kaspersky is available on Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android.

McAfee vs. Kaspersky: Feature comparison

Feature McAfee Kaspersky
Anti-malware Yes Yes
Vulnerability scanning Yes Yes
Ransomware protection Yes Yes
VPN Yes Yes
Password manager Yes, in all tiers Yes, but only in higher tiers
Payment protection No Yes

Head-to-head comparison: McAfee vs. Kaspersky

McAfee Total Protection and Kaspersky Total Security share some of their top features but approach them differently. Here’s a look at how three crucial security features work in McAfee vs. Kaspersky.

Vulnerability scanning

Data breaches cost businesses trillions of dollars per year, so staying on top of potential threats is vital. Both McAfee and Kaspersky offer vulnerability scanning to help find and manage these threats, though their scope and approaches vary.

McAfee’s vulnerability scanner checks your network for security flaws like un-updated apps on devices. Depending on user settings, it’ll then either alert you to these risks or patch them automatically. The software also includes personalized security recommendations based on users’ online activity. McAfee will also scan the dark web and breach records to inform you of any leaked credentials, though this is unavailable in the U.K.

Kaspersky’s vulnerability scanning includes more in-depth features, but many are only available on Windows. Complex exploit identification, fileless malware detection, ad blocking and key-logging detection are all Windows exclusives. Still, these are helpful features if you can use them, and all users can use malicious link detectors and real-time malware identification. Kaspersky also offers an ID protection service, but it only checks public databases.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware rose 105% in 2021, making it one of businesses’ biggest threats, but McAfee Internet Security can protect against it. While the solution doesn’t have a dedicated anti-ransomware feature, its antivirus and backup tools work against these threats. It includes 256-bit encryption to protect sensitive files, automatically blocks suspicious sites and offers some of the best anti-malware detection and deletion features available.

Unlike McAfee, Kaspersky offers a dedicated ransomware protection feature. The tool scans your devices in real-time to look for behavior that resembles known ransomware threats. If it notices anything suspicious, it’ll block and report it before the ransomware can lock you out of your devices. Notably, this service is only compatible with Windows devices, but Kaspersky’s standard anti-malware features are multi-platform compatible.

Virtual private networks

McAfee’s VPN comes standard with all tiers. That said, you only get one VPN license with the lowest tier, five with the middle and ten with the highest. These licenses start at 500 MB per month, but you can upgrade that to unlimited bandwidth if you enable auto-renewal.

Kaspersky also has a VPN, but not for the lowest package. You need either Kaspersky Internet Security or Total Security to use it, but business users will likely opt for the highest tier. It’s also worth noting that this VPN caps at 300 MB per month.

Choosing McAfee vs. Kaspersky

While Kaspersky Total Security is more feature-rich, McAfee has more multi-platform capability. If you’re working in a traditional IT environment or need more advanced threat protection, Kaspersky is the better option. However, if you need to protect more remote employees or have a bring-your-own-device policy, you may want McAfee’s flexibility and more versatile VPN.

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