Norton vs Kaspersky Internet Security Suite – Which is Better?

As 2017 quickly approaches, major security suite manufacturers are rolling out their latest offerings. Two of the biggest names are Norton and Kaspersky. Each company has added a bunch of new features while reducing the price; making it less expensive than ever to benefit from well-rounded malware protection.

This comparison looks at Norton Internet Security vs Kaspersky Internet Security. Like many companies, these products have done away with using the year in the name. Unless otherwise specified, features described here all pertain to the 2016 release currently available for purchase on each company’s respective website.

Bottom Line up Front: If you want to skip the geek-talk, here are my ultimate conclusions:

Continue reading for the full details…

Price Comparison

The antivirus business is a very competitive one that usually requires manufacturers to follow the pricing changes of one another to remain in business. This can be attributed to the fact that many casual users do not see the benefits inherent to many antivirus features. These people tend to shop based on price more than anything.

Norton Security is currently priced at $39.99, but you should check here for the latest deals. Kaspersky Internet Security is currently offered at $59.95 (see here). According to Kaspersky’s website, this represents a savings of $20 off of the $79.99 MSRP of Kaspersky Internet Security. Both of these prices include licenses for up to three machines in a residential setting.

Both manufacturers offer discounts via affiliate marketing programs that often benefit the price conscious consumer. That said, neither of these options is very expensive when you take into account the variety of features being offered for around $50.

Interface Compared

As more people venture online each year (current estimates are that 90% of households own at least one computer), the skill set and general computer knowledge of users tends to vary significantly.

Especially for individuals who may not be very computer savvy, the interface of their security suite must be easy to use and powerful. If users have difficulty navigating through program menus, the software is often not used to its full potential. This could even result in some machines being left open to threats that could have been avoided had the interface made management easier.

Both Norton and Kaspersky have done an excellent job of modernizing the user interface of their respective products each year. This makes taking advantage of new features relatively easy for users; regardless of their experience managing security software properly.

Both user interfaces are functional and attractive. Since both companies have done such a good job of modernizing this component of their security suite, there is no clear winner and the interface should not be a deciding factor when choosing a new Internet Security suite.

Protection

The most important component of any security suite is that it works properly to mitigate threats in real time. Although security suite manufacturers may boast inflated detection scores, it is usually best to consult with an independent testing facility before deciding how well a particular product actually performs.

For Norton vs Kaspersky Security, Norton takes the cake in this category. Norton was consistently able to detect 90% or more of all threats introduced to a machine. This is one of the highest ratings in the antivirus industry and has been one of Norton’s strongest selling points for years.

Kaspersky is not far behind detecting over 80% of all threats introduced to a computer. Both of these products remain at the higher end of the protection spectrum each year and 2014 is no exception.

Although Norton scores slightly better in detection, one bonus that Kaspersky offers is a host of free malware removal tools that are very effective when installing software on a system that has already been infected with malware. A good example of this is TDSS Killer; a program designed to eliminate root kits that have already infected a system. Since many people fail to add proper antivirus protection until after an infection has already occurred, these extra tools can often make installing Kaspersky much easier than Norton or other products that do not include these ancillary security tools.

Performance

Performance of an antivirus program refers to how well it interacts with the rest of the operating system to provide solid protection without adversely affecting performance of other programs or system processes.

This is an area where Kaspersky does significantly better than Norton. Most users will find that Norton Internet Security offers a few more features – some of which are unnecessary for many users – and these features can have a negative impact on overall system performance.

As new machines come out that are equipped with 6 GB of RAM or more, these performance issues are less important unless users rely on processor intensive program such as video editing software or 3-D graphics generation and manipulation programs.

This “resource hog” issue has plagued Norton for years. The company has taken some steps to increase the efficiency of their program but it remains one of the most processor intensive security programs on the market today.

To counteract this reputation, Norton has introduced an Application Rating system that shows users what other programs may be consuming too many resources and adversely affecting computer performance. Similarly, Startup Manager shows applications that take up large amounts of memory during boot up. Norton helps remove these programs from startup menus without requiring users to access MS config files for manual configuration.

Fortunately, Kaspersky Internet Security has been a traditionally lightweight security product that does not have any noticeable effect on computer performance. This means that users with slightly older computers should be looking at Kaspersky as a better option that is unlikely to affect other programs being run on the machine.

Features Boiled Down

Although the primary purpose of any security suite is protection from online threats, these products also offer a variety of other features from parental control to firewalls that extend beyond the software firewall automatically installed with the Windows OS.

Some of the key features offered by Kaspersky Security include:

  • Safe Money Technology provides additional layers of protection during online financial transactions.
  • Identity & Privacy Safeguards rely on anti-phishing technology and a secure keyboard mode to protect personal data from potential phishing scams and key logging Trojans.
  • Dangerous Website Alerts advises users of the safety of search results and automatically blocks malicious websites.
  • Trusted Applications Mode ensures that only applications that have been verified as safe can be run on the machine.
  • Safe Social Networking blocks malicious links and software that often spread across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter from being downloaded inadvertently.

Click Here to Read Customer Reviews of Kaspersky

Key features offered by Norton Security include:

  • Insight Network leverages the combined feedback of over 175 million Norton users to detect new threats before they have been addressed by most other antivirus programs.
  • SONAR Behavioral Protection uses complicated algorithms to detect the signs of a dangerous file that may not have been officially identified as malware yet.
  • Parental Controls protect children from online dangers and can limit computer usage during times when children may be unsupervised on the Internet.
  • Identity Safe stores passwords and other login information securely so that it does not have to be entered every time you visit a secure website.
  • Intelligent 2-way Firewall prevents unauthorized outside access while also detecting suspicious outgoing activity that originates from your machine.

Click Here to Read Customer Reviews of Norton

Obviously, these are just a few of the important features that have been introduced to both products for 2014. A full listing of new features and benefits for each product can be found by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

Advantages of Both Services – Helping You Decide

Norton Advantages Kaspersky Advantages
Scores higher on antivirus lab tests (in general) More lightweight, less drag on computer performance
Better pricing in general, see here for details
Better password management features

Conclusion: Norton vs Kaspersky

This is a difficult comparison since both of these companies have historically been rated among the highest Internet Security suites available.

One factor to consider is the age and performance limitations of your system. People with slightly older computers or who rely on processor intensive applications should lean towards Kaspersky and its light weight operation. You can find Kaspersky here for a good price.

For everyone else, Norton edges out Kaspersky slightly with better virus detection and a lower price tag available here.

Regardless of which antivirus program you choose, make sure automatic updates are turned on to receive the latest virus definitions automatically and ensure the integrity of your machine throughout the length of your Internet Security subscription.

6 thoughts on “Norton vs Kaspersky Internet Security Suite – Which is Better?

  1. Mike Stewart

    I have had Kaspersky for a year now. It is time for renewal. Kaspersky let a virus into my computer and their support people were absolutely ZERO help! It took me 3 weeks to get rid of it. They had never heard of the malware that hijacks your browsers and they still do not have a fix for the problem! 99% of their support people can’t speak or understand English! I was frustrated beyond belief trying to convey my problem. I basically had to get rid of the crap myself with the help of MS and Google.
    Now that it’s time to renew, they want more money to renew than it cost me to purchase it the first year! I will never go back to them. I am going to NORTON this time and see what happens. I refuse to monetarily reward a company who can not or will not repair a problem they allowed to happen!

    Reply
    1. Bob

      I had the same problem with Kaspersky.
      You can’t understand their techs and they bounce you from one department to another.
      They urge you to renew before your contract is up and if you do renew early you lose the time you still have on your old contract.
      They should be investigated.

      Reply
  2. Mooj

    I recently just made the switch from Norton to Kaspersky after years of using Norton. Upon running my first full system scan with Kaspersky, it found a trojan virus in a folder that’s been on my computer for a while. Why did Norton ever pick that up? I update and run scans fairly frequently. Also, my computer has been running much more smoothly since installing Kaspersky.

    Reply
    1. Conner Sinclair Post author

      Thanks for sharing! The bottom line, none of these systems are perfect. I actually like switching mine up 1) to see what they catch and 2) to thwart different types of threats over time. 

      Reply
  3. Krithik

    I know I am late for this but I wanted to share my thoughts. I used a Norton trial today, and noticed alot of false positives by Norton. For example, I downloaded 25 completely safe files, out of them all, only 5 got through without being removed. 3 of those files were falsely believed to be Trojans….. So the question of how much Norton protects is debatable, as while Norton blocks 90% of bad things. How many of those are good things?

    Reply
  4. Ricardo

    I’ve been with Norton since the beggining. What i can say ? Well if you always see what you are installing on youre computer, go Norton. In other side, if you are someone that want to run a software regardless there behavior go Kasper.

    Kasper is for 90 to 95% of internet Users that dont know that Baddoo is crap.
    Norton is for us that take care of our computer, dont install crap (Norton dont take care of crap) and be happy as a Norton user …

    Reply

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