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Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN Review & Test 2022 - Good Overall, But Some Drawbacks

Author Image Ren Sayer'
Ren Sayer Senior Writer

As a VPN from a leading cybersecurity company, you’d expect Kaspersky Secure Connection to be of a high standard. But its privacy policy has always concerned me because of its suspicious connections with the Russian FBS. Also, the US government has banned the use of Kaspersky software within its factions, which raises further concerns.

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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Risk-Free For 30 Days!

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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Today!

Kaspersky Secure Connection Features — Updated in August 2022

5.0
💸 Price 0 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
📝 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

Speeds — Faster Than Expected

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.

Local Speeds

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.

Long-Distance Speeds

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:

US

  • Download: 21.89 Mbps (57% decrease)
  • Upload: 6.97 Mbps (66% decrease)
  • Ping: 223 ms

UK

  • 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.

Get Started With Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

Server Network — Small but Secure

With 2,000 servers in only 38 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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Today!

Security — Highly Secure

Security Breaches

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.

Independent Audits

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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

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.

Privacy Policy — Raises 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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

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.

Device Compatibility — Compatible with Major Systems

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 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.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

Installation & Apps

7.0

Nothing is complicated or technical when using Kaspersky Secure Connection’s apps. Its home interface on the desktop has an on/off switch at the top, the VPN server location on the left, and your current version on the right. Clicking on the server location lets you choose the country you want, while clicking the current version takes you to your subscription settings. You can choose to connect to the fastest server under the server locations, which is the one that’s closest to you.

The left-hand side has a taskbar, which provides a wide range of options. This includes a “Useful to know” tab, which lays out all the features and benefits of Kaspersky Secure Connection, and an “Other devices” tab, which provides a QR code. Once you scan the QR code on another device, it’ll take you straight to the Kaspersky download page, making it much easier to download and install the app.

The settings tab lets you enable/disable the kill switch, smart protection, and notifications. You can also choose to open the app at the computer startup or automatically connect to a server when opening the app. Apart from these settings, you can manage your profile and request technical support, should you wish.

Its mobile apps are not so different from the desktop ones. The interface lets you turn the connection on or off and select the server location. When you go to settings, you can see the kill-switch, notifications, and account settings and change them. The Android app has a user rating of 4.3, and the iOS app has a rating of 4.7, making them user-friendly.

In short, Kaspersky Secure Connection has intuitive apps that are great for inexperienced VPN users, but more advanced users may be disappointed due to the lack of technical settings.

Set-Up & Installation — Mixed Results

Downloading the app was straightforward and quick, but installing it on my laptop took much longer. I also found it confusing to download the right app from its website because it didn’t differentiate between the free and paid versions. Also, its 30-day money-back guarantee was nowhere to be seen until the checkout section. Had this been mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t have gotten confused earlier.

Once I downloaded the app, it took me just under 5 minutes to complete the installation for some reason. Other VPNs take nowhere near as long, so I was surprised. Once the app was installed, I had to create a Kaspersky account and then log in using my email and password, which was easy.

It was much easier to install the Android app on my smartphone, mainly because I could scan a QR code on the desktop app. Once I scanned the QR code, it took me to the Google app store to download the Kaspersky Secure Connection Android app, which was easily downloadable. After downloading the app, I just had to open it and log in, which took under one minute.

Quick Guide: How to Install Kaspersky Secure Connection in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Choose Kaspersky Secure Connection. Go to the Kaspersky website, click the “Products” button and then select Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection from the carousel.
  2. Create an account. Choose the number of devices and click “Buy Now.” Then, enter your billing information and payment method before creating an account.
  3. Download and install. Log in to your Kaspersky account and download the Kaspersky Secure Connection app. Then, follow the installation instructions on your device.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

Pricing

6.0
Free
$ 0 / month per month
1 Year
$ 2.5 / month per month
1 Month
$ 4.99 / month per month

Kaspersky Secure Connection has three pricing plans: a free, monthly, and yearly plan. Compared to the paid plans, the free plan is very basic and comes with limitations. These limitations include 200 MB of data per day, a reduced server count, and no simultaneous device connections. You can also buy it as part of a bundled package with other Kaspersky software, like the antivirus or password manager.

The monthly plan costs $4.99/month, while the yearly plan costs $2.50/month. Compared to Hotspot Shield, which uses the same infrastructure as Kaspersky Secure Connection, it’s much cheaper. You can only make payments via credit card or PayPal, but not through other methods like cryptocurrencies.

Both paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too, so you can test everything before committing. However, the UK version only comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

To test it out, I asked to cancel my subscription through its technical support channel on day 27. I got a reply after 16 hours, and they agreed to refund my payment. Once confirmed, it took me 5 business days to receive my full refund, which was a bit longer than expected.

Even though Kaspersky Secure Connection comes at a low price, I’d still recommend more expensive VPNs if you can afford them.

Reliability & Support

5.5

There isn’t a live chat option on the Kaspersky Secure Connection website, which means you can’t get an instant reply to your questions. You can’t even email them, which is even more frustrating. Instead, they direct you to their knowledge base for help, which contains support documents for all of Kaspersky Lab’s products. Because of this, it took me just over a minute to find the answer to my question on protocols, which I thought was a bit slow.

But you can lodge a technical support ticket under your Kaspersky Lab account if you need to speak to someone. When I lodged a ticket, I got a reply after 17 hours, which wasn’t so bad. The response I got was very detailed, friendly, and polite, which surprised me.

In addition to these two support channels, it also has a community page where you can ask questions to other Kaspersky Lab users and an FAQ page with answers to general questions. There’s even more technical support where you can scan files and links to check for malware threats and a decryption tool to help ransomware protection.

Even though Kaspersky Lab’s response to my support ticket was detailed, the lack of live chat and email was disappointing. I felt that there were too many support options in its knowledge base and support center, which confused me. A simple FAQ section with live chat and email options would’ve been more than sufficient.

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection Now!

Compare Kaspersky Secure Connection With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

Kaspersky Secure Connection still raises several red flags when it comes to privacy. Its logging policy is vague, it has been compliant with Russian legislation, and it can’t shake off its perceived connections with the Russian FBS. However, its speeds and security are right up there with top-tier VPNs, and its price is very competitive.

Aside from its privacy, it isn’t the greatest for international movies and shows either. It struggles to access a lot of popular sites. There are other VPNs out there that are much better for any purpose.

Still, if you want to use a VPN that offers great value for the price, I’d recommend Kaspersky Secure Connection. By using its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can even test out all of its features before fully committing to an ongoing subscription.

  • Good for VPN beginners
  • Clean, user-friendly design
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Supports 5 devices

Try Kaspersky Secure Connection For FREE For 30 Days!

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Number of devices per license: 5
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