After conducting my testing and research, I can say that Kaspersky Secure Connection isn’t a safe choice for privacy enthusiasts. It keeps more logs than most VPNs and it’s still embroiled with its Russian accusations. However, it provides fast speeds and high-quality security features, giving you adequate protection from online threats like hackers.
If you’re not overly worried about privacy, then I’d highly recommend Kaspersky Secure Connection. Its low price makes it a great deal. You can even claim a full refund within 30 days if you’re not satisfied. But if you’re concerned about its privacy, or it doesn’t work out for you, you can always choose from a wide range of VPNs to better suit your needs.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Fast speeds across global servers. My speeds remained consistently fast on both its local and long-distance servers. None of my online activities were interrupted whatsoever. Find the results of my speed tests here.
- Adequate security but questionable privacy. Its security features are of the highest standard, such as AES-256 bit encryption and an automatic kill switch. However, its no-logs policy and Russian background are controversial. See how well it protects you here.
- Small server network. Its global server network is pretty small and only includes 24 countries in total. I could only choose server locations and not the actual servers, which was a bit annoying. Find out more about its server network.
- No Live Chat or email. I couldn’t get an immediate response to my questions because of the absence of live chat. The only way I could contact them directly was to lodge a support ticket, which wasn’t an email. See how I got on with their support here.
- Affordable pricing options. You can choose between its free plan, which has limited features, and its paid plans, either monthly or yearly. The paid plans also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can test them without commitment. Find out its pricing plans here.
- Beginner-friendly app for most devices. Simply download and install it on your computer or smartphone and easily navigate your way around. While its app is excellent for beginners, it lacks technical settings. Click here to see how easy it is to use.
Kaspersky Secure Connection Features — Updated in January 20225.0
|📆 Money Back Guarantee||30|
|📝 Does VPN keep logs?||Yes|
|🖥 Number of servers||300|
|💻 Number of devices per license||5|
|🛡 Kill switch||Yes|
|🗺 Based in country||Russian Federation|
|🛠 Support||Ticketing System|
I was pleasantly surprised by how fast, and consistent Kaspersky Secure Connection’s speeds were. The speeds were fast on both its short and long-distance servers, and I could conduct all my usual online activities without interruption. To test its speeds, I used Ookla’s speed test tool, which tested the following factors:
- Download speed — How fast you can obtain files and data from the internet to your computer.
- Upload speed — The time it takes to upload files and data from your computer to the internet.
- Ping — How quickly a website responds when you click its link. In other words, your connection’s reaction time.
To get a baseline for my speed tests, I tested my local, non-VPN connection in Australia. The results were:
- Download: 50.98 Mbps
- Upload: 20.76 Mbps
- Ping: 5 ms
When I connected to a Kaspersky Secure Connection server in Australia, the speed dropped significantly. It’s very common for your speeds to drop on a VPN connection because your internet traffic has to travel a further distance, and it goes through more layers of encryption. However, it was still fast enough for HD, and it easily surpassed my expectations. My results were:
- Download: 29.73Mbps (41% decrease)
- Upload: 9.68 Mbps (53% decrease)
- Ping: 238 ms
While it might seem like a massive difference on paper, that was hardly the case.
I expected my speed to drop even further on its long-distance servers. Even though this occurred, it didn’t drop to the extent I expected. Its long-distance speeds were very similar to its local servers. The servers I tested first were its US and UK servers, probably the two most common server locations for accessing international shows. These were my readings:
- Download: 21.89 Mbps (57% decrease)
- Upload: 6.97 Mbps (66% decrease)
- Ping: 223 ms
- Download: 22.49 Mbps (55% decrease)
- Upload: 5.65 Mbps (72% decrease)
- Ping: 327 ms
The US one was a bit slower, which was probably because it’s farther away. From there, I tested a wide range of different servers in various parts of the world, and the speeds were similar and fast. Compared to local connections, the long-distance connections took a little longer to download videos on YouTube. But I didn’t experience any lag during my movie.
Overall, I was amazed at Kaspersky Secure Connection’s speeds and consistency, which puts it right up with the best VPNs. There is honestly nothing bad to say here.
With 2,000 servers in only 30 countries, Kaspersky Secure Connection’s server network is small for a paid VPN. This list includes major countries like the US, UK, France, Australia, Japan, Russia and Turkey.
It’s also impossible to know which cities their servers are located in and its total server count, which it doesn’t disclose. You can only choose the server location and not the exact server, which I found to be disappointing for a paid VPN. However, it gives you unlimited server switches.
Kaspersky Secure Connection also has thousands of IP addresses, which include both dynamic and static IP addresses. A dynamic IP address changes every time you use Kaspersky Secure Connection, whereas a static one stays the same. You have the choice of using either, so this is very handy.
Even though Kaspersky Secure Connection uses Hotspot Shield’s Hydra VPN technology, their server networks are entirely different. However, it leases its server infrastructure from Hotspot Shield, which means that Kaspersky Secure rents its servers. Since Hotspot is a secure VPN that’s had independent audits, it’s safe to say that Kaspersky Secure Connection’s rented servers are safe and secure.
The parent company of Kaspersky Secure Connection, Kaspersky Lab, had its technologies infected by a type of Malware called Duqu 2.0 in 2015. Duqu 2.0 is well-known for infecting hotel computers in Austria and Switzerland, where international talks were taking place about Iran’s nuclear program.
It had infected Kaspersky Lab’s technologies for several months without being detected. It was believed to have been carried out by Israel to prove to the US of Kaspersky Lab’s collaboration with the FSB in Russia. Luckily, no such evidence was found, and none of Kaspersky Secure Connection’s customers were affected in any way.
Kaspersky Lab used the knowledge gained from this attack to improve their defensive technologies, so you could say that it has had a positive effect.
Kaspersky Secure Connection passed a SOC (Service and Organization) 2 audit in 2019, which a “Big Four” company conducted. It’s essentially an international audit that reports the standards and procedures of cybersecurity risk management systems. The audit carefully examined the 5 fundamental principles of security, which are:
- Availability — How functional the security process is.
- Protection — How well the security process is protected from unauthorized access.
- Process integrity — How safe data is kept when delivered to another client.
- Confidentiality — The extent to which third parties can access data.
- Privacy — If and how the company stores personal data.
To examine these principles, the “Big Four” company looked at Kaspersky Lab’s services, systems interaction, process controls, users’ control tools, and service risks. The end result was that all of Kaspersky Lab’s services, including Kaspersky Secure, were well-protected against external security and privacy threats. Nothing was of concern.
The audit is only available to clients with a business account with Kaspersky Lab, so that I couldn’t get a copy of it.
Encryption and Security Protocols
Kaspersky Secure Connection uses the OpenVPN protocol on Android and iOS and Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra protocol on Windows and macOS. Unlike many other top-tier VPNs, you cannot change protocol settings with Kaspersky Secure Connection, meaning that the two protocols listed are automatically selected by default. Here are the two protocols explained:
OpenVPN — A standard VPN protocol that’s commonly used and highly configurable with plenty of port types. It’s well-known for balancing speed and security, as well as being an open-sourced protocol. This means its source code is hosted publicly on the internet, which provides excellent transparency.
Catapult Hydra — A protocol that’s unique to Hotspot Shield. It establishes secure client-server connections and strong encryption by using TLS-based security. This level of protection is among the strongest for the transfer of data. However, since Catapult Hydra’s information level is limited, it hasn’t quite proved its worthiness like OpenVPN.
If you use an outdated network or service, you can choose to use other protocols like IKEv2, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec. Also, Kaspersky Secure Connection doesn’t support WireGuard on any of its apps.
Kaspersky Secure Connection uses AES-256 bit encryption, which is the gold standard of encryption. It’s commonly referred to as military-grade encryption and is used by top intelligence agencies worldwide to protect sensitive information. 256 refers to the size of the key used to encrypt data, which involves 2^256 possible key combinations.
The processing power required to break this encryption is so big that it’ll take more than a few lifetimes for the world’s strongest supercomputers to crack. You can be assured that your data is protected to the highest degree.
Leak Tests and Protection
Your DNS requests are protected from DNS leaks with Kaspersky Secure Connection. A DNS leak is a security flaw that accidentally leaks your IP address to your ISP, which can then leak your online data and activity to unauthorized third parties. It usually happens because of a VPN misconfiguration.
To make sure that Kaspersky Secure Connection protects against DNS leaks, I ran a few tests on IPleaks.net. When I connected to Kaspersky’s servers in the US, UK, France, Japan, and Russia, my DNS requests weren’t leaked at all. My IPv4 connection was protected, and IPv6 wasn’t reachable because the fallback was a failure. It meant that my connection wouldn’t fall back to another protocol unexpectedly, which is a DNS leak.
Other Security Features
- Kill Switch — Kaspersky Secure Connection has a kill switch that prevents your online data from being intercepted if your VPN connection unexpectedly drops. This can be turned on or off in the settings tab. When I tested it, I couldn’t use the internet while changing servers.
- Smart Protection — This feature alerts you about possible internet threats like unsecured connections. It also enables a VPN connection when you’re using an unsecured WiFi network in a public place. I tested this out by using the public WiFi in my local library, and it automatically connected me to a Kaspersky Secure Connection server in the US.
- Secure Keyboard Input — This prevents any website data entered on a computer keyboard from being intercepted. You can enable this setting by installing the secure keyboard extension. It protects single-line entry fields more than 3 characters long and stops the autocomplete feature on browsers from working. When I installed it, my browser could no longer detect my standard inputs.
The only security features it lacks are split tunneling and multi-hop servers, also known as Double VPN. This means you can’t divide your internet traffic between VPN and non-VPN traffic and connect to 2 different servers for extra security.
Privacy — Not Great
Location — Controversial Russia
Kaspersky Secure Connection is located in Russia, which is outside of the 14-eyes alliance. However, Russia has its own controversies around internet freedoms and privacy. It only allows VPNs that have been approved by the Russian government.
In February 2020, Russia orchestrated a brief disconnect from the internet to make all internet traffic go through Russian servers. According to the government, the reason for it was to protect Russia from cyber attacks. However, opponents would argue that it’s a way for them to spy and conduct their own cyberattacks. Kaspersky Secure Connection openly supported this initiative, which is of concern.
Also, a couple of former Kaspersky employees accused the company of creating fake malware to harm Microsoft and AVG in 2015. Luckily, these accusations have never been proven, and Kaspersky regards them as “unethical and dishonest.”
However, they are making an effort to steer away from the Russian controversy, which mainly comes from their antivirus software — not the VPN. Most notably, they’ve moved their core processors from Russia to Switzerland and have started a Global Transparency Initiative. This initiative aims to engage the broader cybersecurity community with stakeholders to verify the trustworthiness of their products. Still, many countries are concerned about their practices, and rightly so.
Ownership — Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab owns Kaspersky Secure Connection, which is a world-renowned cybersecurity company in Russia. Apart from Kaspersky Secure Connection, it provides anti-virus software, cloud storage solutions, endpoint security, and password management software, among other cybersecurity products and services.
It has a controversial reputation worldwide because of its perceived ties with the FSB (Federal Security Service) in Russia, which the company actively denies on an ongoing basis. Most notably, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2017 that banned the use of Kaspersky Lab products on all US government computers and devices.
Its CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, had previously worked in the Russian military and studied at a KGB-sponsored technical college. In recent years, the company has fired high-end managers and replaced them with people who have close military and government ties — raising further concerns.
To help rid itself of these allegations, Kaspersky Secure Connection has solicited independent reviews and audits of its products and services. It has also moved a lot of its main infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland, alleviating such concerns.
Unfortunately, Kaspersky Secure Connection admits to some logging practices. While it’s common for VPN providers to collect some user data to improve their services, Kaspersky Secure Connection’s extent is problematic. This extent is revealed in their Application Usage Agreement, which states as follows:
This final point is concerning because it states that it will hand your data over to authorities if you violate their terms and conditions. What makes it concerning is that we don’t know what constitutes a violation of their terms and that personal logging data must be collected to identify individuals and report them — should the situation arise.
What’s also worth mentioning is that Kaspersky Secure Connection uses the same infrastructure as Hotspot Shield, another VPN provider based in California. Even though Hotspot Shield claims to not record any logs of your online activity, they make it clear that they collect some data like your location, session durations, and IP address.
Combine all of this with Kaspersky Secure Connection’s perceived connection to the Russian FBS, and you have every reason to be worried.
Simultaneous Device Connections — The Standard 5 Connections
Kaspersky Secure allows up to 5 simultaneous device connections under one subscription. When I tested this by connecting my Windows laptop, Android tablet, smartphone, and old MacBook Pro, it worked. Kaspersky Secure Connection ran smoothly on all of my devices while protecting them at the same time.
The bad news is that there’s no way to increase the number from 5. Many VPNs can be installed on home routers to enable unlimited device connections at home, but Kaspersky Secure can’t be installed on home routers. Also, Kaspersky Secure Connection keeps track of all connected devices, which raises questions.
Major operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS are compatible with Kaspersky Secure Connection, but not Linux. It has a native app for these systems, so there’s no need for manual configuration. What’s also worth mentioning is that it has separate user agreements for each device, which is rather unusual. However, after having a look at them, they are mostly similar.
Devices that can’t support apps, like gaming consoles, and home routers, aren’t compatible with Kaspersky Secure Connection. It doesn’t have any browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox either, which means you can’t use it on Chromebook.