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Total Protection: K7 Ultimate Security's Shield Against Cyber Threats. K7 Ultimate Security review.











K7 Ultimate Security

Typically, when a security company gets ready to roll out a new product line, that line updates the antivirus and the security suite (or suites, if there’s more than one tier). But not always. While K7’s antivirus and entry-level suites appear to have remained unchanged for years, K7 Ultimate Security has a new look. The changes are mostly visual, though there are a few additions under the hood. K7 Ultimate remains the company’s top-tier mega-suite, with a plentiful collection of features and security on multiple platforms. However, the effectiveness of these features ranges from very good to very bad. Its three-star rating is an average of those highs and lows.

K7 does have the virtue of an unusually low price, especially when you’re buying just a few licenses. But before diving into the bargain bin, you should consider Editors’ Choice Norton 360 Deluxe. Yes, it costs more, but its cross-platform components are all superior. In addition, your subscription gets you a no-limits VPN and hosted online storage for your backups. It seems you get what you pay for. The cross-platform Bitdefender Total Security, another Editors’ Choice, is also worth a look. It outdoes even K7 in number of features, and they all work well.

How Much Does K7 Ultimate Security Cost?

A one-device subscription for K7 Ultimate Security, K7’s top-tier suite, sets you back just $35 per year, the lowest price among this top tier of suites. It’s lower than any entry-level suite I’ve covered except for the related K7 Total Security. G Data Internet Security and G Data Total Security come close, at $39.95 and $49.95 respectively. At the high end, Panda Dome Complete and Panda Dome Premium go for $106.99 and $166.99. Yes, those are one-license prices.

K7 remains the price leader for three-device subscriptions, at $53 per year. At this level, other top-tier suites range from G Data’s $65.95 per year to Panda’s $190.99.When it comes to protecting five devices, the competition starts to catch up with K7’s $79 price. F-Secure and Webroot cost just a bit more, while Kaspersky and ZoneAlarm Extreme Security cost less. Norton 360 Deluxe runs you $104.99 per year, though admittedly you get a lot: five security suite licenses, five full-powered VPN licenses, and 50GB of online storage for your backups.

Getting Started With K7 Ultimate

As with K7’s entry-level suite, installing this suite is quick and easy. Once you've updated its antivirus definitions, you're ready to go.

At the time of my last review, this suite’s main window looked exactly like that of the entry-level suite, except for a different title and the addition of a Backup icon. Its blocky display provided simple stats: the most recent update, the virus definition version, and the remaining days in your subscription. Clicking icons along the bottom or menu choices along the top would slide other pages into view, from various directions.

Since that time, this top-tier suite has gotten a makeover. The main window is less blocky, though it still displays the same stats. Icons below those stats offer access to Scan, Update, Tools, Backup, and Wi-Fi Advisor. A new Protection Summary lets you know just what K7 has done for you lately. And the sometimes-distracting sliding animation as new pages came into view is gone. The new look is much cleaner, though the underlying features haven’t seriously changed.

K7 Ultimate Features Shared With Antivirus

Everything you get with K7 Antivirus Premium also appears in this security suite, and you get quite a bit more than just antivirus. For the blow-by-blow saga of my testing, please read the antivirus review. I’ll offer a quick recap here.

I follow reports from four antivirus testing labs around the world. Two of them include K7 in their reports, which in itself is a good sign. A quarter of the antivirus companies I track have just one lab score, and another third have no scores at all, so K7’s pair of test scores shows that the labs consider it worthwhile.

With a near-perfect 17.5 points from AV-Test Institute, K7 earned the Top Product label. I follow three tests from AV-Comparatives; K7 passed them all, one at the Advanced+ level.

K7’s aggregate lab score of 8.8 isn’t bad—it’s certainly better than those with no score. Of antivirus engines tested by all four labs, Bitdefender rules the roost with a perfect 10 points, while Avast comes second with 9.6.

It’s a good thing K7 scored well with the labs, because it didn’t do well at all in my hands-on tests. Looking at antivirus tools tested with my current collection of malware samples, K7 has the lowest score (6.9 points) while Webroot Internet Security Complete holds the highest (9.4 points). I should note that Bitdefender also took a low score, but its perfect sweep of lab results outweighs that blemish.I also test each antivirus by challenging it with 100 very fresh malware-hosting URLs, kindly supplied by MRG-Effitas. I simply launch each one and record whether the antivirus blocks access to the page, eliminates the malware on download, or sits idly without offering any protection.

K7’s antivirus doesn’t include web-level protection, so its low score of 58% represents only those instances when it caught the malware on download. When I re-ran this test with K7 Total Security, the addition of web-level protection raised that score to 78%, still poor compared to its 99% score when last tested.

Looking on the bright side, the antivirus pulled off a perfect score in my ransomware protection test. For this test, I turned off all protective layers except behavior-based protection and tried to launch a dozen real-world ransomware attacks. K7 fended them all off, with no damage to the test system.

K7 Ultimate Features Shared With Total Protection


When I last tested this suite it scored 99% protection against malware-hosting URLs, while this time around that figure dropped to 78%. In the previous test, phishing protection came in at 72%. That score also dropped in the current test, by a lot.

Writing a data-stealing Trojan that can slip past the protections of both operating system and antivirus is tough. Writing a website that can fool web surfers into simply giving away their credentials is a lot easier. A phishing site masquerades as a bank or some other sensitive site. When an unsuspecting visitor logs in, the fraudsters capture the username and password and thereby own the account. Sure, you can learn to spot these frauds, but it’s nice to have help from your antivirus.The Web Protection component marks up results in popular search engines, with a green icon for safe and a red one for dangerous. For that rare soul who still needs a local spam filter, K7 provides one. Webcam Protection prevents pervs from peeping through your webcam, and Privacy Service (in combination with the parental control system, oddly) halts accidental or malicious transmission of your personal information.

As noted, the behavior-based ransomware protection system performed perfectly in testing. However, that’s not the only weapon in K7’s anti-ransomware arsenal. Once you set it up, Data Locker prevents all unauthorized access to files in folders you’ve flagged as important, such as Documents and Pictures. If an actual ransomware attack weaseled past all the other protection layers, Data Locker would minimize the damage.

You get a boatload of additional tools with K7, but some of them aren’t very useful. For example, one of them duplicates the disk optimization feature built into Windows. Among the truly helpful tools are: Secure Delete, to erase files beyond the possibility of forensic recovery; Virtual Keyboard, so you can enter passwords without any fear of keyloggers; USB Vaccination, to foil malware that spreads by infecting USB drives; and a Wi-Fi Advisor that checks the security of your Wi-Fi connection.

With all these features contending for system resources, you might system performance to take a hit. Indeed, K7 slowed my performance tests more than when I last examined it, but not much. Yes, booting the system took about 15% longer, but that 15% is roughly two seconds. K7’s average of 10% impact isn’t something you’re likely to notice.

Enhanced Parental Control in K7 Ultimate


The entry-level suite offers parental control with the ability to schedule each child’s access to the internet and to either block access to a blacklist of websites or block access to all sites except those that are whitelisted. The parent is responsible for creating these lists, which means that the content filter component in the entry-level suite is effectively useless. Nobody is going to sit down and make a list of every website that kids shouldn’t visit!

Upgrading to Ultimate kicks the parental control system up a notch, into the not-entirely-useless realm. With this edition, parents can choose to block sites matching any of more than 60 categories, arranged into seven areas: Adult, Internet Security, Search / Communications, Network Bandwidth, Business / Finance, Lifestyle, and General / Others. You can check an area to select all included categories or pick and choose one by one.

There’s no age-based profile system—parents must pick the areas or categories they want to block. Unlike the blacklist and whitelist systems, these settings apply to each child separately. Once you’ve made your selections for one child, there’s no provision to copy those as a starting point for another.

Simple, Local Backup in K7 Ultimate


Backup might be considered the ultimate form of security. If your computer becomes unusable, whether due to ransomware or a stray meteorite strike, you can recover if you’ve backed up your essential files. That being the case, you should configure the backup component right away.

The first step is to add a backup set, and K7 makes it easy. By default, a new backup set protects files of all types that reside in your My Documents folder. Or so it says on the screen. Simply accepting this choice selects all folders for all users. Clicking Preview revealed this fact. Instead of the 1MB of sample files I keep in the test system’s Documents folder, it rang up 36GB of files, seemingly every file in and below C:\Users.

Additional Tools in K7 Ultimate

Clicking Tools from the main window in K7’s entry-level suite brings up a two-page list with the following choices: Activity History Eraser, Computer TuneUp, Disk Optimization, IE History Cleaner, Internet Temp Cleaner, Secure Delete, USB Vaccination, Virtual Keyboard, and Windows Temp Cleaner. Of these, the most useful are Secure Delete, to erase files beyond forensic recovery; USB Vaccination, to foil malware that infects via USB; and Virtual Keyboard, to let you enter passwords with no worries about keyloggers, even hardware keyloggers.The tool collection already includes cleaner components for various temp files and history traces, so why do we need a Browser Cleaner? It turns out the Browser Cleaner has a completely different aim. You start by running a quick scan that lists all your browsers and their installed extensions. K7 helps you ditch unwanted extensions or remove all extensions and bring your browsers back to a pristine state.

To see this component in action, I added K7’s own extension plus another random extension to Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera, then ran the scan for extensions. The result was stunningly bad. K7 found its own extension and one other in the now-defunct Internet Explorer but didn’t register anything in the other four browsers. When I clicked Reset All Browsers and scanned again, there was no change. This feature is worse than useless.

Other Platforms for K7 Ultimate

When you go to download K7, you’ll see that you can use your K7 Ultimate Security licenses to install protection on devices running macOS, Android, or iOS. Just install the software and use your license key to activate it.

K7 AntiVirus for Mac

K7 was quick to install on my test Mac and updated its antivirus definitions right away. You can use it on any Mac running macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer.

The antivirus scans files on access, on demand, or on a schedule you choose, and it wipes out both macOS and Windows malware. Windows-focused malware naturally won’t run on a Mac, but clearing it out eliminates the possibility that your Mac might act as a carrier. When I mounted a USB drive containing my current Windows malware collection, K7 scanned it immediately and removed 72% of the threats. I note that it did not log these removals nor put the files in quarantine.

K7 Mobile Security for Android

To get started with protection for your Android device, you first install the free, feature-limited edition of K7 Mobile Security from the Play Store. Tapping for a non-free feature like anti-theft brings up a screen that invites you to purchase the premium edition, or enter your details if you’ve already purchased it. The free trial subscription I used for evaluating this app didn’t let me access those premium features.

K7 offers the expected malware protection, scanning programs on access and scanning contents of the device’s storage. By default, it schedules a weekly full scan, but you can tweak this to daily or monthly, or disable scheduled scanning.

For mobile devices, loss or theft is as much or more of a danger than malware infestations. At the premium level, K7 offers a full-scale anti-theft and tracking system. You can remotely locate, lock, or wipe your phone, as expected. If you’ve just mislaid it around the house, a remote-triggered alarm helps you find it. It doesn’t automatically snap pictures of a device thief the way Bitdefender Total Security does, but you can call for a photo op remotely.

K7 Mobile Security for iOS

Installed on my test iPad, K7 had the same general appearance as on Android. Both open to a dashboard with four large square buttons, and both have a three-line menu at the top left. The Android app also includes a Scan Device button, absent in the iOS edition, which, like most iOS security apps, doesn’t include malware protection.

The four main features on iOS are quite different from those on Android. They are SafeBrowser, CheckUrl, Privacy, and DeviceTracker.

DeviceTracker is a very limited version of the anti-theft system for Android. From the remote tracking console, you can check the device’s location, and you can sound a noisy alarm. However, you can’t lock or wipe it. To be fair, this is true of virtually every iOS-based mobile security system.

Broad, Not Deep

K7 Ultimate Security includes the broad array of features that we’ve come to expect in a security mega-suite, and it extends protection to macOS, Android, and iOS as well. Security on Android covers the expected bases, but macOS protection is antivirus-only, and on iOS it does very little. The Windows edition improves the woefully limited parental control of the entry-level suite, but where many competitors offer hosted online storage, K7’s backup is local only. On the sunny side, K7 costs less than most competitors, and it adds some useful tools not found in the entry-level suite.If you’re looking for a mega-suite that’s loaded with features, choose Bitdefender Total Security instead. It’s our Editors’ Choice winner in that arena, and it also covers macOS, Android, and iOS. Norton 360 Deluxe is our Editors’ Choice for cross-platform multi-device suites. With Norton, you get five licenses, five no-limits VPN licenses, and 50GB of hosted online storage. Either of these is a better choice, even if the price is a bit higher.

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