Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection Review

Contents

Kaspersky is built on Hotspot Shield but lacks some of its key features and has a much smaller server network. If you like Kaspersky’s speeds, but are looking for a better all round performer, Hotspot Shield is a great choice. Read Hotspot Shield review

Kaspersky Lab to discontinue its VPN app in Russia — company

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Kaspersky Lab will discontinue its VPN app Kaspersky Secure Connection in Russia, the Internet solutions provider said in its official blog.

The paid version will be sold until the end of 2022 and the free version will stop working on November 15.

“The VPN app Kaspersky Secure Connection will not be available on the Russian market anymore. The product will be deactivated in Russia gradually, to minimize inconveniences for current users,” Kaspersky said.

The paid version of the app will be sold until the end of December 2022 and will continue to be in service until the expiration of the license or the current subscription. The free version of the product will be available in Russia until November 15, 2022, the company noted.

At the same time, the Russian version of the app will still be available on Kaspersky Lab’s websites and in app stores, Kaspersky said.

“Changes in the operation of Kaspersky Secure Connection will not affect any countries except Russia. The range of available functions and VPN servers will not change for users outside Russia,” the company added.

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection Review

Screenshots of the Kaspersky Secure Connection app

Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He’s a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Fact-checked by Simon Migliano Additional Testing by David Hughes

  1. VPN Reviews
  2. Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection

Our Verdict

Overall Rating:
5.54 5.5 / 10
How is this calculated? Close

We calculate the VPN service’s Overall Rating by combining the ratings of several testing categories. Each category is weighted as follows:

  • Privacy & Logging Policy: 20%
  • Speed: 20%
  • Security & Technical Features: 15%
  • Streaming: 15%
  • Ease of Use: 10%
  • Torrenting: 5%
  • Server Locations: 5%
  • Bypassing Web Censorship: 5%
  • Customer Support: 5%

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection delivers impressive speeds and intuitive mobile and desktop apps. However, we can’t recommend it due to its close relationship with Russian authorities, intrusive activity logging, limited server locations, and poor streaming capabilities. Overall, Kaspersky VPN is not a good VPN.

Ranked #36 out of 55 VPNs

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection Category Ratings

  • Streaming

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent local and global speeds
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer, Disney+ & HBO Max
  • AES-128 encryption
  • Easy to use applications
  • Working VPN kill switch
  • No IP or DNS leaks

Cons

  • Excessive logging
  • Based in privacy unfriendly Russia
  • Very few security settings
  • Poor customer service
  • No Firestick application & no Smart DNS
  • No router support

Why Trust Our Review?

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing 55 VPN services using our impartial review process to recommend you the best VPN software.

Here are some of our key VPN testing statistics:

Total Hours of Testing 30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests 3,000+
VPN Services Reviewed 55
Streaming Platforms Tested Daily 12
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed 9,500+
How Much We’ve Spent On Testing $25,000+

Kaspersky is a big name in global cybersecurity. The Russian company operates a wide suite of security products, including antivirus and parental control software.

However, does Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection satisfy the specific needs of VPN users? How does it compare against VPNs from specialist VPN service providers?

We examined all aspects of the service’s free and premium applications, including its privacy and security settings, its speed performance, and its unblocking capabilities.

While the VPN’s speeds are exceptional, both over short and long distances, the VPN performed poorly in many of our test categories.

Kaspersky VPN logs too much data, lacks advanced security settings, and doesn’t unblock some of the most popular streaming platforms.

Overall, our latest tests confirm that Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection is still a subpar VPN service, despite its very fast connection speeds.

EXPERT ADVICE: Our top-rated VPN, ExpressVPN, is more secure and unblocks more websites and applications than Kaspersky VPN. Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection Key Data

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Privacy & Logging Policy

Kaspersky VPN is not private

Privacy & Logging Policy Rating
How is this calculated? Close

We analyze and dissect the VPN service’s logging and privacy policy. A VPN should never log and store:

  • Your real IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS requests

Headquarters outside of 14 Eyes or EU jurisdictions are also preferable.

Kaspersky’s intrusive logging policy and Russian jurisdiction make this VPN a bad choice for privacy. The service has also directly co-operated with the Russian government, which is a huge red flag.

Ranked #44 out of 55 VPNs for Privacy & Logging Policy

Here’s a table summarizing the information that Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection logs:

Data Type Logged by Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
Browsing Activity No
Device Information Yes
DNS Queries Yes
Individual Bandwidth Usage Yes
Individual Connection Timestamps Yes
ISP No
Number of Simultaneous Connections No
Originating IP Address Yes
Account Information No
VPN Server IP No
VPN Server Location No
Date of Last Connection No

You can read Kaspersky VPN’s full privacy policy on its website under Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection.

Some of the data Kaspersky VPN logs can help with the running of the VPN network, and to provide users with statistics on their VPN usage.

For instance, you can view your data usage by day, the locations you have connected to, and the timestamps of when you connected and disconnected.

However, most of the data Kaspersky VPN collects ultimately erodes your internet privacy. The reality is many VPNs operate more effectively and without requiring all this data.

What’s even more concerning is that there is no mention of how long Kaspersky retains this data.

If you are based in the EU, in line with GDPR legislation, Kaspersky will delete all your data but only when you delete your account.

Concerning Ownership & Privacy-Unfriendly Jurisdiction

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection is owned by Kaspersky Lab, which was founded in 1997 and is still being run by Eugene Kaspersky.

In recent years Eugene Kaspersky has come under fire for alleged connections to the Russian government.

These allegations are concerning, because the Russian government doesn’t allow for a free and open internet.

What is certain is that Kaspersky was the only major VPN service not to pull its servers out of Russia following Russia’s new laws against VPNs.

The contents of Kaspersky VPN’s privacy policy is therefore critical. Anything data the software keeps may be subject to surveillance from the Russian government.

Speed

Fast and consistent global speeds

Speed Rating
How is this calculated? Close

We calculate the VPN’s speed rating using our download speeds, upload speeds, and ping (latency) measurements.

We regularly test the VPN’s local and international speeds using a dedicated 100Mbps internet connection in New York, USA.

Kaspersky VPN outperformed our expectations for connection speed. Our tests reveal it’s an extremely fast VPN, with minimal slowdown on short and longer distances.

Ranked #15 out of 55 VPNs for Speed

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection performed keeps performing extremely well in our speed tests.

Since we last reviewed Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection, the VPN’s speed performance has further improved.

Here’s a table showing Kaspersky’s speed test results:

We experienced a 8% speed reduction when connecting to nearby servers. Although this isn’t as fast as the leading VPNs, it’s still an impressive result.

Kaspersky’s speeds are more than fast enough for data-intensive tasks, including: online gaming, torrenting, and 4K streaming.

Connections were also very stable, and never dropped out during out tests.

The international speeds above are exceptional. Not even top VPNs like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access can match these results.

To demonstrate this more clearly, we’ve compared Kaspersky’s international speeds to the very best VPNs in the chart below:

The VPN service uses Hotspot Shield’s very fast Hydra protocol, which in part explains the impressive speeds above.

However, Kaspersky VPN’s latency (ping) suffered over longer distances, though. This means online gamers should avoid using this service, unless they’re connecting to a nearby VPN server.

Server Locations

VPN servers in only 83 countries

Server Locations Rating
How is this calculated? Close

The key factor for calculating this rating is the global spread and coverage of the VPN’s server network.

We also consider the total number of servers, the number of city-level servers, and the number of IP addresses available.

Kaspersky VPN runs 2,000 servers, although they only cover a limited range of 83 countries. Server coverage is good in Europe and North America, but not in Asia and Africa.

Ranked #42 out of 55 VPNs for Server Locations

83 Countries
83 Cities
2,000+ IP Addresses

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection has servers in these regions:

Continent Number of Countries
Europe 45
Asia 20
South America 5
North America 7
Africa 4
Oceania 2

Kaspersky operates 2,000 servers in 83 countries. While this is good, the number of available server locations is very limited for a premium VPN service.

The Server coverage is adequate in Europe and North America. However, if want to connect to servers outside of these regions, you may be disappointed.

In Asia, only Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are served. There are no servers in South Korea, Vietnam or Malaysia.

South America and Africa are also poorly served. The only servers in South America are located in Argentina and Brazil, while there are zero servers in Africa.

After some investigation we’ve identified that, although Kaspersky VPN uses Hotspot Shield’s technologies, it has a distinct server network.

Given Kaspersky’s close Russian ties, it’s not surprising there is a server available in Russia. This is a rarity following Russia’s laws surrounding VPNs.

Streaming

Unblocks some streaming platforms but not Netflix

Streaming Rating
How is this calculated? Close

This rating is calculated by how many different streaming services and regional content libraries the VPN can unblock, and how consistently it can access them.

We test access to Netflix, Disney+, Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and many more platforms on a weekly basis.

Kaspersky Secure Connection works with BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video. However, the service doesn’t currently unblock Hulu or Netflix. Netflix USA has occasionally worked in the past, but not recently.

Ranked #28 out of 55 VPNs for Streaming

Here’s a list of popular streaming platforms that Kaspersky VPN currently unblocks:

Streaming Platform Works with Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
All 4 Yes
Amazon Prime Video Yes
BBC iPlayer Yes
Disney+ Yes
HBO Max Yes
Hotstar India No
Hulu No
ITVX Yes
Netflix US No
YouTube No

If you want to know if Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection works with a streaming service that’s not listed above, email us at [email protected] and we’ll test it for you.

If you’re looking to stream HD video, Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection certainly has the speeds for it.

The VPN’s streaming capabilities are a mixed bag. The service works with some popular content platforms, but not with others.

In our latest streaming tests, the VPN unblocked popular platforms like Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

The VPN also worked with British TV services like BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITVHub. We were surprised Kaspersky VPN unblocked BBC iPlayer – many VPNs fail to achieve this.

However, we couldn’t stream Hulu or any Netflix region. Kaspersky VPN used to occasionally unblock Netflix USA, however it hasn’t done so in recent tests.

Torrenting

Not private enough for safe torrenting

Torrenting Rating
How is this calculated? Close

This rating is determined by the VPN’s torrenting speeds, the percentage of servers that allow P2P file sharing, the service’s privacy and trustworthiness, and useful settings like port forwarding.

For speed specifically, we calculate the VPN’s average download bitrate using our bespoke torrenting setup.

Kaspersky VPN logs too much internet data for us to recommend it to torrenters. Despite allowing P2P traffic on all its servers, and having a kill switch, the company’s invasive logging practices are a red flag for us.

Ranked #29 out of 55 VPNs for Torrenting

Here’s a quick summary of how Kaspersky VPN performed in our torrenting tests.

Torrenting Attribute Result
Average Download Bitrate 9.9MiB/s
No. of P2P Servers 2,000
Logging Policy Some User Logs
Kill Switch Yes
Port Forwarding No

Kaspersky VPN allows P2P traffic on all its 2,000 servers.

When we tested the VPN for torrenting, we recorded very fast torrent speeds, found no IP or DNS leaks, and verified the kill switch works effectively.

Despite the positives we’ve identified above, Kaspersky’s is not a good VPN for torrenting.

The issue we have with the VPN service is its over-the-top logging practices.

Sadly, the VPN logs too much activity and device data, which could reveal a file-sharer’s identity if it landed in the wrong hands.

It would therefore be risky for a torrenter to use Kaspersky VPN to download or upload torrent files.

Bypassing Web Censorship

Doesn’t work in China

Bypassing Censorship Rating
How is this calculated? Close

We routinely test if the VPN can bypass strict internet restrictions in China using our remote-access server in Shanghai.

Other important factors we consider include obfuscation technologies and the availability of servers in neighboring countries (for faster connections).

Not only does Kaspesky not work in censored countries like China and Turkey. It does however work in Russia, since we believe it gives the Russian government access to its server keys.

Ranked #35 out of 55 VPNs for Bypassing Web Censorship

Kaspersky VPN has never worked in our China VPN tests, using our test server in Shanghai.

This isn’t surprising at all, since the VPN uses Hotspot Shield’s Hydra protocol, which doesn’t work in China.

Kaspersky even admits its VPN can’t be installed in the following countries due to legal limitations:

Kaspersky VPN does work in Russia, though, since it complies with Russia’s new censorship legislation.

The company is Russian, after all, and still operates VPN servers in the country. We therefore assume that it’s allowing Russian authorities to check server logs.

It’s very bad for a VPN to agree to actively facilitate censorship. It’s in fact one of the worst things a VPN could do, which is why we don’t recommend using Kaspersky VPN in Russia.

Security & Technical Features

Kaspersky VPN lacks advanced security settings

Security & Technical Features Rating
How is this calculated? Close

A secure VPN must offer OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a working kill switch.

To calculate this rating, we also factor in additional security settings and features.

As Kaspersky’s VPN is a white-label of Hotspot Shield, it makes use of the proprietary Hydra protocol. Kaspersky lacks advanced security features, but does at least come with a working kill switch.

Ranked #40 out of 55 VPNs for Security & Technical Features

Protocols Encryption Security Advanced Features

Protocols Available in Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
IKEv2/IPSec No
Hydra Yes
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) No
WireGuard No
Encryption Available in Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
AES-128 Yes
AES-192 No
AES-256 No
Blowfish No
ChaCha20 No
Security Available in Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
DNS Leak Blocking No
First-party DNS No
IPv6 Leak Blocking No
Supports TCP Port 443 No
VPN Kill Switch Yes
WebRTC Leak Blocking No
Advanced Features Available in Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
Ad Blocker No
Dedicated IP No
Double VPN No
Smart DNS No
Static IP No
SOCKS No
Split Tunneling No
Tor over VPN Server No
Tracker Blocker No

As we’ve mentioned before in this Kaspersky VPN review, the service uses Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Hydra VPN protocol.

Hotspot Shield states that Hydra VPN is based on TLS 1.2, uses 128-bit AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA certificates for server authentication, and includes perfect forward secrecy (PFS).

While we would prefer Kaspersky VPN to use either OpenVPN or WireGuard, Hydra VPN is in our experience a secure-enough choice of protocol.

Kaspersky VPN also passed our IP and DNS leak tests. The screenshot below shows us connecting to a Ukrainian server:

Screenshot of Kaspersky

Kaspersky passed all of our leak tests.

Unfortunately, the VPN’s applications lack many advanced security features we expect to see. This is disappointing.

Just about the only option available through the Settings menu is toggling off Kaspersky’s additional data collection, which we absolutely recommend doing.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky settings menu

Kaspersky’s settings menu.

At the very least, there is a VPN kill switch that worked well in our security tests. This tool prevents your IP address from leaking during sudden VPN connection drops.

The desktop application also includes a setting to automatically connect to the VPN when you join an insecure WiFi network.

Device & OS Compatibility

No compatibility beyond standard platforms

Device Compatibility How is this rated? Close

A high-quality VPN should maintain functional, fully-featured applications and browser extensions for as many platforms and devices as possible.

Our ‘Device & OS Compatibility’ assessment contributes to the Ease of Use rating.

Kaspersky VPN’s device compatibility is relatively limited. The company only maintains native VPN apps for iOS, Mac, Android and Windows. There is no Fire TV Stick app, no browser extensions, no Smart DNS tool, and no Linux GUI.

Apps

Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection has native applications for all the basic platforms we expect from a VPN service:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Apple macOS
  • Apple iOS
  • Google Android

However, the VPN service lacks the advanced compatibility top-rated services offer. For instance, there is no Fire TV Stick application, no Smart DNS functionality, and no way to install the VPN software on a router.

As a result, games console users won’t be able to easily use Kaspersky VPN. We recommend Private Internet Access as a good alternative.

Furthermore, there are no VPN browser extensions, and no Linux GUI.

Different device limit policies for free and premium plans

The company allows the use of its VPN on up to five devices with its premium subscription plans.

With the free plan, the device policy is unlimited but the data usage restriction is shared across all devices

Ease of Use

Basic but user-friendly applications

Ease of Use Rating
How is this calculated? Close

This rating mainly consists of the user-friendliness and intuitiveness of setting up and regularly using the VPN.

We also factor in customization settings, as well as device and OS compatibility (see section above).

All Kaspersky VPN’s apps are clearly laid out with a conventional VPN design. They are therefore very easy to use, although they lack any advanced settings or features.

Ranked #35 out of 55 VPNs for Ease of Use

How to Install & Set Up Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection

  • Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection link on Kaspersky's website

First you need to navigate to the Kaspersky website and download their VPN app. (You can do this even if you aren’t logged in).

Screenshot of the first step in Kaspersky Secure Connection installation

Once you have downloaded the installer file, run it. A window will open, and you should press Install.

Screenshot of a window from the Kaspersky Secure Connection Installation

Read the EULA and tick the boxes to say that you agree, then press Accept.

Screenshot of a window from the Kaspersky Secure Connection Installation

Read over the Network statement, then press Accept.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection installation process

You will be asked to confirm you have read the agreement. Press Confirm and then Accept again to proceed.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection installing

Wait for the app to install, if any pop-ups appear press OK to make sure the VPN functions properly.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection installation at final stage

Press Done to finish installation.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection app login screen

In the app, log in to your Kaspersky account.

Screenshot of the Kaspersky Secure Connection app

The app is now installed and ready to use!

Screenshot of the Kaspersky VPN app

The app has an easy layout. There is a toggle in the center to connect and disconnect the VPN. You can choose servers by pressing the button at the bottom of the app or access VPN and account settings through the “burger” menu in the top left.

Screenshot of the server list in the Kaspersky VPN app

The server select menu is easy to navigate, just scroll down to find your chosen server and click on it to select.

Ease of Use Rating: 7.0/10

The user interface is consistent across all the VPN applications and pretty intuitive to use.

Kaspersky VPN

Kaspersky VPN’s home screen and server list.

The app’s home screen features a standard On/Off switch, with a straightforward country server list.

All other settings, although there aren’t many, are accessible via the burger menu in the top-left corner of the app.

Basically, there isn’t much to get wrong with such a simple and basic VPN app.

Kaspersky VPN could have added common features we see in many VPN applications – for example displaying your VPN IP address or the protocol being used – but so far it hasn’t.

While some VPNs over-clutter their apps, Kaspersky has gone all the other way to provide very little functionality to its users.

Customer Support

No live chat support

Customer Support Rating
How is this calculated? Close

This rating is based on our assessment of the VPN’s:

  • Live chat support
  • Email support
  • Online resources

Not every VPN offers all these support options, and they often vary in quality and response times.

Kaspersky lacks the instant, effective user support of smaller, more focused VPN products. It does offer FAQs and a ticket system, but no live chat.

Ranked #35 out of 55 VPNs for Customer Support

Customer Support Available in Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
24/7 Live Chat Support No
24/7 Email Support No
Chatbot No
Live Chat Support No
Email Yes
Email Support via Online Form Yes
Tutorial Videos No
Online Resources Yes

Our experience using Kaspersky VPN’s customer support was disappointing. Sadly, it just isn’t up to scratch with the leading VPN service providers.

The main downside is that there is no live chat support. Instead, you have to rely on online resources, or a slow ticketing system.

The VPN’s online customer support resources are comprehensive, but difficult to find and navigate. In many cases we found them more confusing than helpful.

If you send a query via the ticketing system, it generally takes at least a day to receive a reply. On one occasion we were even told to call an operator instead.

Price & Value

Cheap plans and a 30-day refund policy

Price & Value Rating
How is this calculated? Close

While we do assign a ‘Price & Value’ rating, it doesn’t contribute to the Overall Rating. We believe the reader should decide what is or isn’t a reasonable price.

A good rating isn’t just based on how cheap the VPN is, but for the overall value it offers.

Kaspersky is a cheap VPN, however it doesn’t represent good value because it lacks the privacy and security standards we expect from a VPN service.

Ranked #27 out of 55 VPNs for Price & Value

Kaspersky VPN’s premium plans start at $4.99 on a pay-monthly basis, but the real savings come with the early plan, which costs just $1.25 a month.

This makes Kaspersky VPN one of the cheapest VPNs we’ve reviewed, although it’s not good enough to make our best cheap VPN list.

Kaspersky’s free VPN service

Kaspersky also offers a free VPN product, with a daily usage limit of only 200MB.

Although 200MB a day equates to roughly 6GB a month, this allowance is simply too little to allow for meaningful use of the VPN.

There is an option to increase the free data allowance to 300MB per day, if you connect the VPN to your My Kaspersky account.

$4.99 /mo Billed $4.99 every month
$1.25 /mo Billed $15.00 the first 12 months, $30.00 thereafter

Payment & Refund Options

  1. Mastercard
  2. PayPal
  3. Visa

Kaspersky VPN offers very few payment options: credit/debit card and PayPal.

There is no option for anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The VPN service also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which essentially lets you try the VPN before fully committing.

The Bottom Line

Comes with too much unsafe baggage

Based on our latest testing results, Kaspersky VPN is still not a good VPN.

It’s certainly very fast and it even unblocks some popular video platforms, however the privacy issues affecting the VPN are concerning.

The main issues with the VPN service are its intrusive logging policy, the fact it complies with Russian censorship laws, and it lacks advanced security settings.

There are other VPNs available for a similar price mark that offer more private and secure experience than Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection.

Alternatives to Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection

Hotspot Shield

Overall Rating
7.72 7.7 / 10

Kaspersky is built on Hotspot Shield but lacks some of its key features and has a much smaller server network. If you like Kaspersky’s speeds, but are looking for a better all round performer, Hotspot Shield is a great choice. Read Hotspot Shield review

PrivateVPN

Overall Rating
9.12 9.1 / 10

It’s in the same price bracket as Kaspersky, but PrivateVPN has a lot more to offer. For a start its a no-logs provider. It also has a great server network across 59 countries, and works reliably with both BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Read PrivateVPN review

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