Kaspersky Secure Connection is a budget VPN that provides a basic service, best suited to first-time VPN users. Local speeds are pretty quick but nothing to get too excited about, and streaming fans will want to look elsewhere as access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is currently blocked. The custom apps are very user-friendly but lack configurable settings – they’re also only available for Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, with no manual workarounds for other devices.
Kaspersky Secure Connection offers a decent level of encryption, however in terms of overall privacy they’re nowhere near as good as they should be. There are no advanced security features (not even a kill switch) and the logging policy is fairly intrusive, which isn’t helped by the fact that the company’s headquarters is in privacy-unfriendly Russia. Customer support could do with a complete makeover, as helpful resources are hidden within long lists, and responses to email are so slow they may as well be non-existent.
Pricing & Deals
Kaspersky is unlike most other providers in that you can only choose between two lengths of paid plan. These both offer the same features but you can save yourself 50% by signing up for a 12-month subscription, which will bring the monthly cost down to an incredibly cheap $2.50. Even if you opt to pay month-by-month it’s still incredible value for money at just $4.99, especially considering you can use the VPN on five devices simultaneously.
Kaspersky Secure Connection Coupon
Kaspersky Secure Connection
Get 50% off Kaspersky Secure Connection's 12-month plan
Kaspersky Secure Connection Pricing & Deals
Kaspersky don’t offer a ‘free trial’ as such, however they do provide a free VPN plan that will give you a good idea of how the service works. Unfortunately this does come with various limitations, the main one being that it isn’t possible to choose your virtual server location – the app will automatically select the one that’s ‘best suited’ to you. There’s also a very strict data cap of just 200MB per day (or 300MB if you link it to a My Kaspersky account), which won’t allow you to do much more than a small amount of browsing and perhaps run a few speed tests. On the bright side, you can use it on as many devices as you want, and because you can use the free version as long as you like, you should be able to make a well-informed decision before you commit to a paid plan.
Kaspersky also offers a 14-day ‘no questions asked’ money-back guarantee, which isn’t quite as generous as the 30 days we’ve seen from some providers, however this period of time should be long enough for you to decide whether or not you like the software. The refund process is fairly simple and can be done via email, with your refund credit taking between 5-7 working days to appear in your account, making the process relatively risk-free.
Payment & Refund Options
Kaspersky is very limited when it comes to payment methods, only allowing you to use your credit/debit card or PayPal. There’s no option to pay with cryptocurrencies nor are there any international options or gift cards, but hopefully we will see these at some point in the future.
Speed & Reliability
Kaspersky Secure Connection performed fairly well in our speed tests, demonstrating a solid level of reliability and peak local speeds more than good enough that you shouldn’t struggle to do whatever you want online. Uploads were pretty good but nothing to write home about and latency was a little above average, so there are better options out there for keen torrenters and gamers.
Even though peak local download speeds lagged way behind those offered by our top picks at just 52Mbps, we were very impressed with the sheer consistency demonstrated across Kaspersky Secure Connection’s server network. Connecting out to pretty much any European server you can expect speeds of between 45-50Mbps (we test from London), and even UK to US speeds were as quick as 56Mbps – performance like this will allow you to stream in buffer-free HD across multiple devices, no problem. The slowest download speed we came across in our tests was out to Japan, but even that was still a very acceptable 27Mbps, which is far quicker than we’ve seen from most other providers at this price point.
Latency was a little on the high side, even on same-country connections, with London coming in at a fairly laggy 12ms. While this is unlikely to affect those just looking to browse and do a bit of light streaming, avid gamers might want to look elsewhere, especially considering there are providers out there offering ping times of 2-3ms or even less.
Kaspersky Secure Connection connected incredibly quickly each time we switched servers, only taking a couple of seconds, which is excellent and by far one of the quickest connection times we’ve ever seen. What’s more, we found overall performance to be incredibly reliable, with very little difference from one test to the next and no connection drops, which is especially important considering the lack of kill switch.
Uploads were fairly similar to downloads in terms of consistency but overall slower, with the fastest location (Amsterdam) coming in at just under 40Mbps. Usually with speeds like this we’d say it’s a decent choice for torrenters, but considering Kaspersky’s ambiguous logging policy we’d be reluctant to recommend it to P2P users.
Overall, Kaspersky Secure Connection will be more than quick enough for those looking to stream on a couple of devices at the same time and download multiple files without breaking a sweat. There are more reliable options out there for torrenters, especially considering the company’s Russian jurisdiction, and latency is high enough that keen gamers will probably want to look into alternatives.
To find out about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
Kaspersky Secure Connection’s server network is one of the smallest we’ve seen in our tests so far, covering only 18 countries worldwide. This may not be an issue if you only need to connect to the most popular locations, but those seeking in-depth coverage anywhere other than Europe and North America will need to look elsewhere. Kaspersky don’t even offer a list of VPN servers on their website, which is really frustrating and not something we’d have expected from a provider this size.
There’s also no option to drill down to city-level servers at all, which isn’t so bad for users in smaller countries, but it could be a dealbreaker for those in places such as the US and Canada as this makes it impossible to pinpoint the closest server to your true physical location. There’s also no indication of how many individual servers or IP addresses Kaspersky Secure Connection maintains in total, leading us to believe that it’s probably a fairly low number. If that is the case, it could lead to reduced server performance and potential server overload, especially at busier times of the day.
Coverage is best in North America and Europe – the only countries outside of these continents are Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and Singapore. It’s very unusual for a provider not to offer any server choice at all in Australia, and we were disappointed at the lack of African server locations (there are currently none). If you live in Europe or the US and are mainly going to be connecting locally, Kaspersky Secure Connection probably has enough options for you, however users outside of these locations should really consider choosing a provider with more diverse server choice, such as HideMyAss!, which currently has coverage in over 190 countries.
Platforms & Devices
Kaspersky Secure Connection currently only offers custom apps for Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. There are setup instructions for all of these on the support section of the website, however they’re buried underneath a load of other resources, making them very difficult to find if you’re a first-time user.
Annoyingly there are no manual workarounds for those devices lacking native apps, so if you want to use a VPN on anything other than these four popular platforms, Kaspersky Secure Connection isn’t the best choice for you. There’s also no way of configuring your router to support the software, nor is it possible to purchase pre-flashed routers, so you’ll have to install individual apps on each device you want to protect.
Kaspersky Secure Connection doesn’t offer VPN or proxy extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari browsers. This is unlikely to be a problem for most everyday users as the apps themselves are pretty streamlined and don’t take up too much space, however those who are only concerned about protecting their browser traffic might want to look for a more lightweight solution such as ExpressVPN.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
As you can’t install Kaspersky Secure Connection at router level and they don’t offer any manual workarounds for those devices lacking native apps, it’s not possible to use the VPN with any sort of games consoles or streaming devices. This includes devices such as AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Sony PlayStation and many more, so if you’re looking to protect anything like this you’ll need to opt for a different provider.
Streaming & Torrenting
Kaspersky Secure Connection isn’t a good choice if you’re looking for quick, hassle-free access to popular streaming sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer. A lack of dedicated streaming servers means it’s a real case of trial and error, but we were unable to stream content from either of these sites through the US or UK servers. Both of these services have recently cracked down on VPN providers, so we weren’t too surprised to see that Kaspersky were having issues, however easy access to streaming sites simply doesn’t seem to be their priority.
Encryption & Security
Kaspersky Secure Connection provides such a limited amount of information on their website in terms of encryption and security that it’d be impossible to recommend them to anyone with above-average privacy needs. The software offers a strong level of encryption (AES-128), which isn’t quite the ‘gold standard’ but still considered to be virtually unhackable. There’s no option to configure your protocol in-app, but rather you’re limited to the proprietary ‘Hydra’ protocol. The level of security offered by this isn’t totally clear, so we can’t make a definitive call on how it measures up to OpenVPN, but we can only presume it’s secure unless proven otherwise.
We were extremely disappointed with the lack of advanced privacy features offered by Kaspersky Secure Connection – there are absolutely none to mention. At the very least we would have expected to see a VPN kill switch, which prevents your true IP address from being exposed should the VPN connection drop for any reason. This means that if the VPN were to disconnect without you realizing, your online activity would be visible to not only your ISP, but also to other potential snoopers and hackers trying to get hold of your personal information.
There’s also no indication of whether Kaspersky Secure Connection owns their DNS servers or if they lease them from another company – the fact that this isn’t mentioned on the site would lead us to believe that the latter is true. If that is the case, your web traffic could potentially be routed through less-secure servers owned by a third party, putting your personal information at risk. There are no advanced features whatsoever, so don’t expect split tunneling or manual port selection either. Overall Kaspersky Secure Connection will do the job to protect you on public WiFi networks, but avoid using them for anything more than that.
Those living in or travelling to high-censorship countries should completely avoid Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN. They state on their website that the software “is not available for downloading and activation in the following countries: Belarus, China, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and UAE”. This is most likely due to the fact that the laws regarding VPN usage in some of these locations is a fairly gray area, and Kaspersky simply don’t want to put their users in a potentially risky position.
If you’re going on holiday to one of these countries and unrestricted internet access is vital, you should opt for a provider that offers some sort of ‘stealth’ protocol to disguise your VPN connection as normal web traffic. This makes it far more difficult for government censors to detect you and will allow you to access censored content – a good example of provider that offers such a feature is Astrill.
- Geographical location of your chosen VPN server
- ID of VPN session start and end
- Total session length (in seconds)
- Volume of inbound and outbound traffic
It isn’t clearly defined what’s meant by VPN ‘ID’ but we can only presume this is related to your originating IP address, which isn’t ideal, as this can be used to personally identify you. Even worse, this information is stored on Kaspersky’s servers for up to three months before it’s deleted, which is far longer than we’d like, and just seems unnecessary for ‘troubleshooting’ purposes.
Kaspersky is based in Moscow, Russia, which is a massive red flag in terms of privacy. Not only is Russia very well-known for its intrusive surveillance laws and data retention measures, but in September 2017 the US Federal Government made the decision to remove all Kaspersky products from their information systems (you can read more about this here). This was due to the possible risk of the Russian government ‘capitalizing on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information’, showing the level of mistrust towards the company.
There are also concerns about possible ties between ‘certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies’, as well as requirements under Russian law that would allow intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky. Considering they collect fairly detailed connection logs, this is a massive concern, as it would mean your online activity could possibly be traced back to you. Users seeking the highest levels of privacy should definitely steer clear.
It was recently revealed that Kaspersky is the only VPN provider that’s agreed to comply with Russia’s new VPN regulations, meaning it will now be blocking users from restricted websites and sharing their data with the Russian authorities. You can read more about this here.
Ease of Use
Kaspersky Secure Connection’s custom apps are incredibly simple to use but lack any configurable settings. The main dashboard only displays your virtual server location and and on/off switch but nothing else – usually we’d like to see at least our new IP address here, along with some information about the connection protocol. The app will automatically the best performing server for you but you can also access the full list by clicking the button under ‘virtual location’. This is ordered alphabetically and there’s no search feature, which is a little frustrating, however with only 18 countries to scroll through it isn’t a major downside.
You can access the general settings list behind the ‘burger icon’ (three horizontal lines) in the bottom right-hand corner. This opens in a separate window and is limited to whether or not you want the app to run and connect on startup, and the option to opt out of providing data for marketing purposes. You can also manage the general rules for connecting to insecure public WiFi networks – do you want to be prompted or should the VPN just connect automatically? We also don’t like that there’s no information in the settings menu regarding VPN protocols, as this means we just have to trust what Kaspersky are saying on their website.
Getting started with Kaspersky Secure Connection involves a few more steps than we’ve seen with most other providers but is still, on the whole, a pretty simple process. Once you’ve signed up to your chosen subscription, you’ll receive a confirmation email with an activation code – you’ll then need to create a My Kaspersky login in order to link this purchase to your account. From here, you can download the relevant software for the device you want to protect (remember you can use the VPN on up to five devices simultaneously).
The installation process is very quick and easy once you get started. All you have to do is click ‘next’ on the installation prompts and agree to Kaspersky’s Terms and Conditions and License Agreement. After you’ve done this, the app will launch automatically and all that’s left to do is log in before you can connect to the VPN – remember to use the email address and password you used to set up your My Kaspersky account.
Kaspersky Secure Connection’s customer support is of a far lower standard than we’d expect from a company of this size and reputation. It’s incredibly hard to access the correct online resources as they are so poorly organized – you have to go specify that you want support ‘for home’ before you can filter the results by product and device. Even once you’re in the right section, the knowledge base is incredibly limited and doesn’t really cover any useful topics, instead favoring things such as the release notes and how to upgrade to an ‘extended version’ of the software. We’d trade all of this in favor of some detailed FAQs and more information about the technical aspects of the product, as currently there’s nothing like this at all.
Getting in touch with the support team is just as difficult – it’s only possible if you have a My Kaspersky account, so potential customers wanting to speak to a human being are out of luck. If you do have an account you can either submit a ticket or give them a call, however they can only really deal with queries related to orders and subscriptions over the phone. We submitted a ticket and got a response in just over three hours, however we were informed that the agent couldn’t deal with our request himself and was forwarding it to the technical team. While this isn’t too much of an issue and our problem was solved within 24 hours, it just doesn’t measure up to the instant live chat responses we see from most top-tier providers.
The Bottom Line
- Peak local download speeds of 52Mbps
- User-friendly apps for popular platforms
- Very good value for money
- Blocked by Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Very limited device compatibility
- Incredibly small server network
- Unusable in high-censorship countries
- Below average customer support