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Kaspersky Security Cloud: our latest Family Champion!

Kaspersky Security Cloud: Family

‘A comprehensive range of features to help parents manage your family’s internet use.

The flexibility of features offered, and the ability to mould them to the needs of your child, make Kaspersky Lab score highly’

What is it?

Kaspersky Security Cloud is a feature-filled package to protect your family’s devices.

As well as providing protection against malware, viruses and other security issues, it offers the facility to create and store strong passwords, a suite of features aimed at protecting children online, and privacy protection. This includes allowing the setting up of a temporary virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt all internet data sent and received on the device when it is switched on. The idea behind it is to offer ‘follow me security’ – to protect your family wherever they are, on whatever device they are using to access the internet.

Find out more: https://www.kaspersky.co.uk/security-cloud

What they say

‘Kaspersky Security Cloud is the first security-as-a-service solution with a tailored approach for the individual and for family needs. Thanks to its patented adaptive technology, the service uniquely configures itself to its user’s behaviour, regardless of the device he or she is operating.’

What they say about safety

‘We give you new ways to protect your kids when they’re exploring & learning in the connected world. And it’s easy to give family members access to the specific security features they need – on their mobiles & computers.’

Price

Kaspersky Security Cloud: Family, 20 devices (1 Year), £99.99; 20 devices (2 Years), £164.99.

There is also Kaspersky Security Cloud: Personal, with subscriptions starting for three devices for a year, from £49.99.

What’s the reality?

The first thing to point out is that you have to spend a little time downloading all the different elements of Kaspersky Security Cloud to get the full benefit of the service. This includes Safe Money, to keep online payments secure, Password Manager to create strong passwords and remember them for you, and Secure Connection, which will either select an international VPN connection for you, or allow you to pick the country of your choice.

This is launched automatically if an unsafe Wi-fi hotspot is detected, or sensitive websites or apps are opened. 

You are allowed up to 200MB[1] of VPN access a day as part of your subscription, or you can buy more if you need it. This gave us around 3 hours’ use when we tested it – so plenty of time for online banking and shopping and sending sensitive messages, or even to watch a film or a few episodes of your favourite box set on another countries’ Netflix, if you were so inclined. Which, of course, you wouldn’t be, because that would be wrong.[2]

What parents need to know

Kaspersky Security Cloud is controlled via a MyKaspersky account. Simply download and install the package and create your account to get started.

The family package allows you to create up to 20 individual accounts very easily, tailored to the age and maturity of each user. If you’re familiar with Netflix, you won’t have any issues doing this.

You can then link up to 20 devices to the main account, which controls safety settings on each device. You’re also able to set up alerts to monitor internet and device use in child accounts if you wish.

It can also control the amount of time your child spends on the device, or the hours that they can go online. The location feature tells you where your child’s device is in real time, if it is switched on.
Web restrictions can block access completely or just warn the child that is shouldn’t open the website, which the child can then choose to ignore. 

Parents are alerted when a child clicks on a questionable website and you have the option to allow your child to access it if you wish.

To set these up, download the Kaspersky Safe Kids app on the parent’s device, and then onto each child’s device. You can do this in two ways:

  • Create your children’s profiles in the ‘Kids’ tab in your My Kaspersky account, adjust the settings for each one and then install Kaspersky Safe Kids apps to their devices in ‘child mode’, before connecting to the created profiles.
  • Install Kaspersky Safe Kids apps on the children’s devices and create profiles for them directly on there.

Each device will need to be set up on the app but this doesn’t take long – around 5 minutes each time.

There are different levels of protection options available depending on which device or operating system you are using Security Cloud on. We tested Safe Kids on an Android phone and were warned that it only worked on Chrome and to disable other browsers.

The app will warn you if your child tries to uninstall it. 

Kaspersky’s help section suggests very firmly that parents should let children know that their device is being watched and why, offering age-appropriate reasons to help you explain to your child why you are doing so.

The restrictions are easy to set up and change, and use a traffic light system so you can tailor them to the maturity of your child, easing them as they grow or switching them off completely.

As with all parental controls, they will never offer complete protection for your child against them accessing content online that may upset them.

Even with restrictions on, our test child account was still able to find disturbing footage of deformed animals and executions because we had News media switched on. Yet turning this off would restrict the child’s access to resources for finding out about the world and doing their homework.

Which is why we would always recommend building your child’s digital resilience as they explore the online world, rather than relying on parental controls.[3] It was interesting to see that Kaspersky Lab’s online support centre also promotes digital resilience and doesn’t make any claim to offer complete protection against online nasties to children.

When we asked them about parental controls, they told us:

‘The key story here is that it’s not just about blocking, it’s about learning to search for responsible content and for parents to be able to engage with their children over how they use the internet.

‘There’s advice for parents built into the app in certain places to advise and help parents on how to think about the content their children may be looking for.

‘If you really want to block then you can do that in the system settings, however a parent will never know what the child is searching for or be able to monitor what they are doing online and thus enable the correct conversations with their children. That’s where Safe Kids comes in.’

Even if you don’t set restrictions on content, you can still set up the app to show you which websites and apps your child has been using, which could be used to prompt a chat with them about their online life.

Some parents may wish to use this facility to spy on their children unobserved but doing this without letting them know actually benefits no one and is, let’s face it, a little creepy. Parents are advised not to do so by Kaspersky Lab when setting up controls.

How easy is it for users and parents to report issues?

You can access online help from the MyKaspersky home page by clicking the question mark icon at the top of the page.

Here, you will find links to the Support area to access technical support or you can contact them via the Feedback link.

There does not appear to be an obvious report or help button for parents on the Safe Kids app or website home page for issues regarding online safety of their children.

Any safety issues children encounter online would need to be taken up with the administrators of the services or app that the incident occurred on.

Is the functionality appropriate to the age of users?

Kaspersky Lab Security Cloud’s online safety features can be changed to match the needs of the child, so settings can be altered to allow greater independence and fewer restrictions as they become more confident.

The advice on talking to your child to explain the functionality of Security Cloud and how to navigate the internet safely is easily accessible and sensible, and aimed at different ages.

 

There is also useful advice for parents from a psychiatrist on how to help your child deal with any unusual or upsetting issues they may encounter online.

The app has a PEGI3 rating on Google Play and 4+ on the Apple store.

Are the terms and conditions of use easy to understand and find?

Kaspersky Lab is designed to be installed and set up by parents on their children’s behalf so children do not have to agree to the T&Cs. Children do not have to enter any personal information to use the app and as a parent, you don’t have to use their real name for their account if you wish.

There are separate T&Cs for Safe Kids. They are written in standard T&Cs style and not particularly short or accessible.  

Verdict: is it a great tech product for families?

Kaspersky Security Cloud offers a comprehensive range of features to help parents manage your family’s internet use.

The virus and malware protection is reassuringly visible, with pop ups regularly informing you that bad things have been detected and eradicated on your device.

The password management option works well and will benefit the most absent minded of users – as long as you remember the master password to activate it.

The parental controls are flexible and parents can select from a lengthy list of options. They are also really easy to change and turn off in the parent account.

Regular reports and warnings are sent to the account holder about both your child’s internet use, if you want them, and other more general information about cyber security and online safety. The advice from psychiatrists about talking to your children about staying safe and learning to search safely on line are a particularly useful feature.

It was possible to access disturbing, violent and sexual footage on our test child’s phone but generally, the search function worked well and we liked the fact you could set warnings for your child about possible dodgy websites and apps without having to block sites completely.

While we’re not keen on apps and services that monitor children’s internet use, parents don’t have to set these and overall, the flexibility of features offered, and the ability to mould them to the needs of your child, make Kaspersky Lab score highly.

 



[1] The online instructions say 200MB but the  pop up when you launch it says 300MB.

[2] Kaspersky Lab warns: ‘Use of Kaspersky Secure Connection is regulated by local legislation. You may use the application only for its intended purpose and without violating local legislation.’