On March 15, 2020, the BSI German cyber security agency issued a hacking warning against Kaspersky, a Russian antivirus software. BSI fears that Kaspersky could be coerced by the Russian government to hack IT systems abroad — or that agents could be using the software to launch cyberattacks without Kaspersky’s knowledge. Kaspersky responded in a statement, maintaining its independence and claiming that the warning is politically motivated. Kaspersky’s data processing centers are located in Switzerland, the source code is available for inspection, and it is independently audited.
We’re testing Webroot vs. Kaspersky in a head-to-head comparison to see how well they stack up against the best antivirus software in the market. Kaspersky is an old-school antivirus with plenty of features, while Webroot takes a different approach to its cybersecurity that could appeal to new customers.
We can’t cover everything in this Webroot vs. Kaspersky comparison, so before you begin, check out our separate Webroot SecureAnywhere review and Kaspersky Anti-Virus review for in-depth analysis of both software.
Added a note about the German government’s Russian hacking warning about Kaspersky.
Setting Up a Fight: Kaspersky vs. Webroot
If you’ve read some of the other antivirus comparison reviews we’ve conducted in our antivirus archive, you’ll know the format. We’ll be comparing Kaspersky and Webroot in five rounds to decide which is the best.
We’ll begin by looking at the features and pricing on offer before testing both antiviruses for user-friendliness, overall protection and customer service. The winner of each round will be awarded a point, with a quick recap to explain why.
The first antivirus to earn three or more points will be the overall winner. We’ll provide our final thoughts on both Webroot and Kaspersky at the end of this review. We use our best judgment, but feel free to leave a comment below if you disagree with our decision.
New threats require new features to combat them. If your antivirus software doesn’t give you the right level of features for your devices, you might have a hole in your overall protection.
We’re going to talk through the features on offer from both Webroot and Kaspersky to help you decide which is best for your own requirements.
Webroot is a somewhat unusual antivirus, thanks to the unconventional methods it uses to protect your device. It uses cloud-based detection, scanning and protection to shield your devices from malware while limiting the impact on your own system.
The installation is tiny, especially compared to other big providers like Bitdefender (see our Bitdefender review, as well as our Bitdefender vs. Webroot comparison). By shifting the bulk of the work to Webroot’s servers, it gives its users the benefit of those vast resources.
New threats are immediately processed and analyzed, with the information being shared with other users once a decision is made. The impact on your system resources is significantly reduced compared to other antiviruses, especially resource-heavy options like Comodo (see our Comodo Internet Security Suite review).
This “advanced threat protection” from Webroot is standard across its Windows and Mac products. To add to its general antivirus protection, Webroot comes with a firewall and network monitoring tools, phishing protection and a privacy block that prevents webcam snooping.
There are additional features you can try, which turn Webroot into a wider security suite, too. Mobile support for Android and iOS devices is included with the mid-tier Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus package.
You can also pay extra for 25GB cloud storage, useful for backing up your important files. There’s also a basic password manager included that, while adequate, doesn’t come with the full set of features you’d see in a dedicated password manager like Dashlane (see our Dashlane review).
Be sure to read our Webroot VPN review to find out more about Webroot’s VPN service.
As with all big hitters, Kaspersky tries to be more than “just” an antivirus. If you’re looking for basic protection, however, Kaspersky Anti-Virus should cover you. This Windows-only plan sits at the bottom of its Kaspersky’s options, with a focus on protecting your PC from typical threats.
The name says it all, but Kaspersky Anti-Virus does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve. It comes with protection for modern threats, including anti-cryptomining protection to prevent miners from feeding off your PC to generate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which could burn out your device.
The pricier Kaspersky plans open the door on additional features. Internet Security comes with protection for Android devices, and it’s one of our two top recommendations in our best antivirus for Android shortlist.
Like Webroot, Kaspersky plans come with protection against webcam snooping by rogue hackers. You’ve also got anti-phishing protection to block suspicious websites.
Kaspersky also includes an isolated web browser called Safe Money to protect you online. This creates a locked-down environment for you to safely use sensitive websites, such as your online bank. It also prevents screen and keyboard input from being recorded.
Kaspersky packages come with Secure Connection, a virtual private network that lets you secure your internet access and hide your identity online. It comes with a daily 200MB data limit, which isn’t ideal for heavy usage.
If you want an unlimited VPN, combine Kaspersky with a premium VPN provider from our best VPN shortlist, such as ExpressVPN (see our ExpressVPN review).
Secure Connection is just one of the privacy features that Kaspersky offers. You’ve also got parental controls and increased file protection with Kaspersky Total Security, the company’s most expensive product suite.
Total Security includes a top-tier password manager that, unlike the offering from Webroot and most antivirus providers, has advanced features and a good user interface, as our separate Kaspersky Password Manager review explains.
Round One Thoughts
Kaspersky is the traditional antivirus, while Webroot aims to be the future, with a cloud-centered service that has the benefit of speed over its competitor. It’s a good option for PCs and Macs with fewer system resources available.
However, Kaspersky offers more meat on the bones. Typical antivirus protection is coupled with an outstanding password manager, isolated browser and additional privacy features to defend against common threats.
Although the best free antivirus software has its place, the strongest protection requires a subscription. With both Kaspersky and Webroot, customers can pay for their choice of subscription levels, which offer different available features.
To help you pick between them, we’re going to look at the price plans both Webroot and Kaspersky offer.
Webroot has five different subscriptions, all under the “SecureAnywhere” brand. Some are niche plans, aimed at certain types of customers, such as gamers. Others are basic, like the “AntiVirus” plan at the bottom.
- : One device, ransomware and phishing protection, firewall
- : Three devices, mobile apps, firewall, password manager
- : Five devices, file shredder, cloud storage, disk cleaner
SecureAnywhere AntiVirus has a $10 discount for new customers, but it’s pretty cheap for existing customers, too, at $39.99 per year. It supports both PC and Mac, with device coverage available for one or three devices. As we’ve previously mentioned, it comes with Webroot’s cloud protection and network security features.
The next available plan is SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus, costing $59.99 per year, which drops to $44.99 per year for new customers.
Long in name and cheap in price, it comes with support for Android and iOS devices and includes the basic Webroot password manager for an additional $10 per year. You also gain extra device coverage, with subscriptions available for three or five devices, from one to three years.
At the top is SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete, which includes every feature that Webroot has to offer for $79.99 per year, or $59.99 per year after the $20 new-customer deal. Along with the previously mentioned features, it comes with system-optimization tools, cloud storage and coverage for five devices.
If you need more than five devices, you’ll need to invest in the SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete Family Pack, which protects 10 devices. At $159.99 per year, it’s pretty costly, and there’s no discount offered for new customers.
Sitting a little out of place in the lineup is Webroot AntiVirus for Gamers, the rather self-explanatory protection for PC gamers. It’s the same price as AntiVirus, comes with the same features, but claims to offer gamers a silent-running, lag-free experience.
Other than a “silent” mode, it seems to be an otherwise-identical package to the normal AntiVirus offering, although AntiVirus for Gamers only comes with protection for one device.
In contrast to Webroot’s five plans, Kaspersky has a slimmer profile, with three available. Like Webroot, you can vary the plans by device coverage and coverage length.
- : Three PCs, ransomware protection
- : Three devices, banking protection, webcam protection, parental controls
- : Five devices, password manager, backup and restore, advanced parental controls
Thanks to a generous 60-percent discount for new customers, there isn’t much difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive Kaspersky plans. The cheapest plan is Kaspersky Anti-Virus, which costs $23.99 per year and is only $16 less than Kaspersky Total Security at the top.
Anti-Virus is Windows-only and comes with coverage for three to five devices. Like Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus offers basic antivirus protection. Most users will want to look at the next plan, Kaspersky Internet Security, for better bang for your buck.
It’s only $8 more but offers protection for mobile devices and Mac users across three to five devices. The range of supported devices makes this a better value option for customers, compared to the PC-only Kaspersky Anti-Virus.
It also comes with the Safe Money isolated browser, VPN protection and privacy controls. It’s limited to five devices, however, so large families will need to look at Kaspersky Total Security.
With coverage for five or 10 devices, Total Security adds file encryption features, its respected Password Manager and parental controls with two user accounts to monitor and track installed devices.
Round Two Thoughts
Webroot is an affordable option, even at the top end. Kaspersky isn’t too badly priced, either, with vast new customer discounts and features that pushed it onto our most secure antivirus shortlist. However, with better discounts and more features for the price, Kaspersky wins this round — just.
3. User Friendliness
Antivirus software needs to be user-friendly for power users and beginners alike, right from the start. Just take a look at our BullGuard Antivirus review to see an antivirus provider that doesn’t get the balance right.
Let’s evaluate how easy Webroot and Kaspersky are to use, from installation to general usage.
As far as we’re aware, there isn’t an antivirus provider that has an installer with the speed, size and footprint of Webroot. The installation file is around 5MB, which is tiny, but it’s also a sign of how Webroot works.
The installation is pretty quick, taking around two minutes from start to finish, including the time to begin an initial scan, which is quick and light on your system resources. If you’ve used a “clunky” antivirus in the past, you’ll be amazed by Webroot.
Once completed, you’re brought to the main client menu. It’s simple to use, focusing most around its main feature: antivirus scanning. A sidebar gives you access to your other features and settings, as well as quick access to the Webroot knowledgebase.
The settings menu gives Webroot users the option to customize almost every part of their protection. You can modify Webroot’s antivirus scanning, making it more intensive, having it focus on certain sections of your device, or scheduling regular scans.
Each feature has a “learn more” option, linking to extra support guides that explore it in greater depth. For example, if you click “identity protection,” this will bring up information on Webroot’s identity protection methods to help you understand it further.
With extensive customization and a simple interface, Webroot is an antivirus that caters well to all types of users. It’s quick to install, easy to customize and you won’t notice any negative impact on your PC performance while it protects you.
The Kaspersky installer file is small, too, but unlike Webroot, it downloads the rest of the files it needs once installation begins. It also has a few more steps compared to Webroot, with around three different terms and conditions menus to get through before it begins.
Kaspersky isn’t a tough antivirus to figure out, though. Most of the common features, such as Safe Money, parental controls and access to antivirus scanning, are all available once you open the client.
Less common features are hidden but easily accessible. At the bottom of the main dashboard is a “more tools” button that leads you to the wider list of Kaspersky features. If you’re unsure about any of the features, Kaspersky includes a brief description to explain their purpose.
The settings menu isn’t clearly identified, but you can find it by clicking the bottom-left gear button. Almost every part of Kaspersky’s protection and features are customizable from this area.
The “scan” tab lets you customize your protection settings, modifying the security level to choose the intensity of antivirus scans. The “protection” tab lets you switch on (or off) all the included features, as desired.
Round Three Thoughts
There’s no clear winner between Kaspersky and Webroot when it comes to user-friendliness. Both providers offer a good user interface, quick installation and extensive customization to make it suitable for any user.
If you’re spending money on antivirus software, you want the best protection for your money. With that in mind, we’re going to look at the protection Webroot and Kaspersky offer to customers. Rather than testing these providers ourselves, we’ll be using the reports from three independent security firms to make our judgment.
Most labs expect antivirus software to immediately respond to threats. The delayed approach that Webroot uses doesn’t sit well with this kind of testing methodology.
This is because, unlike other antivirus software, Webroot takes a delayed approach to new threats. It’ll test any malware it detects in a “sandbox” mode, analyze its behavior, then pass that information on.
Regular readers will know that we use three testing labs for our usual protection comparison. Unfortunately, Webroot’s unusual methods make it difficult for our labs to run regular tests on its protection.
Some don’t bother trying. AV-Comparatives, for instance, hasn’t tested Webroot since 2012. Because the information is so outdated, we can’t use this lab as part of our consideration.
AV-Test is one of the few labs that does test Webroot regularly. Webroot falls down with AV-Test’s testing, however. A shockingly poor protection score of 2 out of 6 was recorded in AV-Test’s May-June 2019 testing round. Its performance score of 5.5 out of 6 was much higher.
The low protection score would usually be a massive warning sign of a poorly performing antivirus provider. Webroot staff responded to this report in a customer forum post, criticizing AV-Test’s testing methodology.
MRG Effitas last tested Webroot in its Q3 2018 full-spectrum tests. Unfortunately, this was another “poor” result for Webroot on paper, with more than a quarter of malware samples initially not detected.
However, the Webroot method is demonstrated in the results. Out of the 26.75 percent initially missed, all of the samples were picked up after 24 hours.
This seems to prove that the sandbox testing approach, integral to Webroot’s protection, works well. Out of the 329 samples, only 0.3 percent were missed completely during the MRG Effitas test.
As a “typical” antivirus provider, Kaspersky is regularly tested by our three security labs with no difficulties.
It scored perfectly in AV-Test’s latest July-August 2019 test, with AV-Test awarding the company 6 out of 6 for protection and performance. Protection scores were impossible to beat, with 100-percent success during both July and August.
AV-Comparatives’ testing in February-May 2019 backed this up, with another 100-percent success rate. All 752 malware testing samples were blocked by Kaspersky during testing. For the quality of protection and overall performance, AV-Comparatives awarded Kaspersky its highest Advanced+ award.
Kaspersky didn’t falter during MRG Effitas’ testing, either. During Q2 2019 tests, Kaspersky blocked 398 out of 398 malware samples, and MRG Effitas awarded Kaspersky its Level-1 certification for protection.
This puts Kaspersky in the same category as other big-name providers, such as Avira (see our Avira review).
Round Four Thoughts
This round is difficult to evaluate. Webroot is a hard antivirus for typical testing labs to judge, but MRG Effitas’ testing showed that, although the sandbox approach might have a delay, it does pick up new threats after 24 hours in almost every case.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the absolutely incredible scores from Kaspersky’s tests. Not a single malware sample breached Kaspersky’s defenses during thousands of samples, making it the fair winner in this round.
Effective customer support is essential when you’re facing a problem you can’t solve. Let’s take a look at the support Webroot and Kaspersky offer to customers in our final round.
Webroot has various support methods that customers can work with. If you need to flag a problem, you can use the support ticketing system or refer to Webroot’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.
There’s a live chat option, too, but you can’t use this for technical support questions, as it’s limited to sales questions.
Webroot has a knowledgebase available that answers common questions, with a search bar to help you find specific articles. You can also search through the Webroot community forum to find answers or ask your own, which customers and Webroot staff will respond to.
If you need to speak directly to an advisor, you can contact Webroot over the phone. Webroot has support staff available in Europe, Australia and the United States.
For a provider that tries to compete at the top of the market, it’s clear that live support isn’t something that Kaspersky wants to get bogged down in, although it has made improvements since our last major Kaspersky review.
Kaspersky offers social media support, but it doesn’t make it easy to locate other methods of help. Navigating through the Kaspersky support website does, eventually, give you the option for direct communication.
You can “chat with an expert” over live chat during weekday office hours for basic queries. However, complex issues require you to use the ticketed support method. If you have an urgent issue, you can speak to Kaspersky’s technical support by phone. The support is tailored to your location, with varied available hours matching your locale.
Kaspersky customers can also make use of its knowledgebase, which has guides covering common issues. You can also search through the active community forum for previous posts made by other customers and staff, as well as ask your own questions.
Round Five Thoughts
Kaspersky has made it easier than before to locate direct support methods, but it’s still hard to find. Webroot’s site is a little easier to navigate, with an active forum and useful knowledgebase for consumers. However, both providers are about equal for customer support, making this round a draw.
6. Final Thoughts
There aren’t many antivirus providers that are as unique as Webroot SecureAnywhere. It’s fast, quick and cheap, with plans designed to undercut bigger players in the market while giving you a reasonable level of protection and features.
Results from MRG Effitas’ testing shows that Webroot’s delayed approach to malware testing — using a sandbox and human analysis to analyze malware in the wild — can work well. It’s just that Kaspersky works better using standard, tried-and-tested methods at a similar cost, making it the overall winner of our comparison review.
Kaspersky also offers more features than Webroot, with good discounts for new customers and a friendly, easy-to-use interface.
Overall Winner: Kaspersky
Kaspersky isn’t perfect, though, and we’d still recommend Bitdefender as our top antivirus choice. Take a look at our Bitdefender vs. Kaspersky comparison review to see how well Kaspersky performs against the best in the market.
You can also take a look at our other antivirus articles for other reviews and comparisons to help you make your final choice.
Do you use Webroot SecureAnywhere or Kaspersky Anti-Virus? Leave your thoughts and comments below. Thanks for reading.