But the Moscow-based company has faced allegations that it has been compromised by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Those allegations remain unproven, and Kaspersky has gone out of its way to be transparent, including moving key data processing operations to Switzerland and allowing independent review of its source code and processes. Still, the allegations have been enough to move some users away from Kaspersky software, among them the U.S. government. Some of the trouble stems from an unfortunate single incident that appeared to be largely the fault of an NSA contractor. To date there remains no proof that Kaspersky has been compromised.
Still, as some may be looking for alternatives to Kaspersky (or forced to by requirements), here are a few of your options.
The list of antivirus programs we have strong confidence in is short – Kaspersky is one. Bitdefender and Sophos are two other very good paid options, while Microsoft Defender is hard to beat among free versions.
So Microsoft can cover you for Windows security, but what about iOS, Android and macOS? For those operating systems, a paid product is your best bet – free versions tend to be little more than a tease for a vendor’s paid products, with limited functionality. Your internet service provider may offer free antivirus software that is perfectly fine, but if you’re the one paying, you have a couple of really good choices that we recommend.
For about $45 a year, Sophos and Bitdefender will protect your Windows and non-Windows devices – and exceptionally well at that. After the first year, Sophos increases to $60 and Bitdefender to $90 (Kaspersky rises to as much as $100 after the first year). Bitdefender also has a business-grade service, GravityZone Ultra Security for Linux and Mac, that provides some protection for Linux users, for fans of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.
You may be tempted to download a free mobile antivirus app for your iPhone or Android from Apple’s App Store or Google Play Apps, but you’ll likely wind up with something with very limited functionality and protection. The one exception we’ve seen in free apps is – sorry to break the news – Kaspersky, which offers pretty respectable protection for a free app. So again, a paid version from Sophos or Bitdefender is your best alternative for mobile devices.
Enterprise customers have much more to choose from, as top security is pretty common in the EDR and endpoint protection platform (EPP) market. Price is where enterprise options are likely to become more limited, however, as the market ranges from low cost to very expensive.
Kaspersky offers good endpoint security at the low-cost end of the EDR market, which limits choice if your price range is limited.
Fortinet and Sophos are the two on our list that are closest in price to Kaspersky. Fortinet comes in a little lower than Kaspersky, Sophos a bit higher.
Kaspersky scored very high in ease of use, value and support in our analysis, making it an ideal EDR product for small businesses in particular. Its automation capabilities are a particularly good fit for SMBs.
Sophos and Fortinet also offer strong security at a good price, and users are pretty high on those products too. Fortinet offers FortiClient at the low end of EDR pricing, while FortiEDR is priced in the midrange.
Both alternatives will do much to protect your critical infrastructure – but we give the edge to Kaspersky as the best of the three. Kaspersky’s security scores have been higher: NSS Labs last year scored Kaspersky and Sophos as AA and FortiClient as A, with raw scores of 695 for Kaspersky, 647 for Sophos and 589 for Fortinet.
Kaspersky’s user reviews have also been modestly higher, while FortiClient ranked second in ease of use, just ahead of Sophos.
The Bottom Line
For consumer antivirus users, Sophos and Bitdefender are worthy alternatives to Kaspersky. In the enterprise EDR/EPP market, Kaspersky is tops for small businesses, but Sophos and FortiClient will protect your data too. For the enterprise market in particular, your own needs are paramount, so evaluate features thoroughly.