Kaspersky Safe Connection VPN evaluation
The service is aimed toward a non-technical shopper market, and that is clearly mirrored within the web site. It explains some normal advantages of a VPN – privateness, unblocking web sites – however accommodates nearly no particulars on the variety of nations or places accessible, the supported protocols, DNS points, kill switches or something faintly low-level.
Though one cause for this could possibly be that there is not quite a bit to speak about. Safe Connection is powered by Hotspot Defend, and gives a minimal 27 places unfold world wide (Europe, North America, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore). There are a number of welcome options, one of the best being the flexibility to mechanically join if you entry insecure or untrusted wi-fi networks, however for probably the most half, Kaspersky retains choices to an absolute minimal.
This does make the apps supremely user-friendly, although, and with downloads accessible for Home windows, Mac, iOS and Android, you may have most units protected at velocity and with the minimal of problem. (Sadly, there isn’t any method to arrange the service manually, on a router, Chromebook or anything – you may solely entry Safe Connection from the official apps.)
Plans and pricing
Kaspersky Safe Connection has an especially restricted free plan the place you may’t select your location and are restricted to 200MB of site visitors a day (300MB in the event you register, or you have already got a My Kaspersky account).
This is not fairly as unhealthy because it sounds. Even that 200MB per day interprets to round 6GB a month with out requiring handing over any private information. However such a low every day restrict means you may wrestle if you wish to obtain or stream very a lot, and in the event you’re keen at hand over your electronic mail tackle, there are higher choices round (Windscribe’s free account provides you 2GB a month, however rises to 10GB in the event you register.)
Fortuitously, the image improves considerably in the event you join a paid month-to-month account. This will get you limitless information use, full entry to all places and help for as much as 5 simultaneous connections, all for the very low value of $4.99. Shopping for a month-to-month account direct from Hotspot Defend prices $12.99.
Pay for a yr upfront – card or PayPal supported – and the worth plummets to an efficient $1.67 a month. That is a fraction of what you may pay in the event you go direct to Hotspot Defend, the place the annual plan prices a chunky $7.99 a month. Hotspot Defend’s shoppers have extra energy and options, however Kaspersky Safe Connection provides you entry to a few of the similar places, and all the identical efficiency, for a fraction of the worth.
Privateness and logging
It is all the time troublesome to know whether or not you need to belief any VPN supplier along with your privateness, and that is very true with Kaspersky, after the US authorities introduced it was banning the usage of Kaspersky software program on delicate authorities methods (Pentagon, GSA, NASA).
We have but to see any proof that Kaspersky has performed something incorrect, although, and the principle focus of the priority appears to be Kaspersky’s antivirus software program. Kaspersky Safe Connection would not have the identical sort of entry to recordsdata, and the corporate would not management the underlying VPN community, both: it is powered by the California-based Hotspot Defend.
Do you have to be involved? We won’t say for positive, however as there’s nonetheless no signal of wrongdoing on Kaspersky’s half we’re not going to permit these points to affect our evaluation.
We’re extra curious about Kaspersky’s logging coverage, however the web site barely mentions the difficulty past a single line on the entrance web page: “Kaspersky Safe Connection will not log what you are doing on-line and will not preserve any information of which web sites you go to.”
Whereas that sounds definitive, it is not the entire story. Hotspot Defend’s Privateness Coverage makes it clear that though there isn’t any logging of the place you are going surfing, the service information loads of details about your connection classes.
For instance, the product logs the length of VPN classes, the bandwidth used, your approximate geographical location, information in your ISP or provider, and a singular ID for the machine, which permits increase a sample of use over time.
The coverage additionally says machine IDs are related ‘with different information we acquire (akin to for measuring bandwidth use, offering help, understanding the way you work together with our VPN, and different analytics and advertising and marketing functions).’
None of this implies Kaspersky can see what you are doing on-line, or join any web motion again to you, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a bit of extra logging than you may count on.
Getting maintain of the free Kaspersky Safe Connection version is simple. The package deal comes bundled with some Kaspersky merchandise, or you may seize shoppers for Home windows, Mac, iOS and Android from the Kaspersky web site. That is a big enchancment on Bitdefender’s VPN, which may solely be used as a part of a bundle with one other Bitdefender product- it is not accessible stand-alone.
The Home windows app is compact, and has a easy, easy interface. By default, it selects a server mechanically, and you may join and disconnect with a click on. Improve to the business model and you may select one of many 27 accessible places from an inventory, nevertheless it’s nonetheless very fundamental. There are not any ping instances or server load figures to assist along with your choice, and no Favorites system to avoid wasting your most ceaselessly used places.
Connection instances are fast, although, at barely 1-2 seconds (different VPNs could take 5-15 seconds to attach through OpenVPN.)
We anticipated the ‘Optimum’ function to decide on our closest UK server, however we have been principally related to Sweden, generally the Czech Republic. Fortuitously, the shopper shows the nation it is chosen, so you may instantly see if it is one thing sudden.
A Settings dialog permits configuring the app to attach when it first launches, and permits organising very versatile guidelines for what to do if you connect with an insecure wi-fi community. You’ll be able to have the app allow the VPN mechanically, ask you what to do, or simply join as typical, for example. And guidelines are saved per community, so you may have the VPN flip itself on for networks which could be unsafe, and depart it off for others.
The Home windows shopper would not have a configurable kill swap to dam web entry if the VPN connection drops, and a Identified Points help doc explains that Kaspersky Safe Connection will not defend your information throughout a minimum of some interruptions within the safe connection (if you change servers, or community connections).
Nonetheless, once we forcibly dropped our VPN connection, the shopper warned us instantly, permitting us to cease what we have been doing and manually reconnect. That is good, and it seems like higher information is on the best way, as early Kaspersky 2021 beta variations recommend there is a kill swap within the subsequent launch.
Kaspersky’s Android app seems and feels a lot the identical because the desktop construct. There isn’t any important technical tweakery, you may’t mess around with protocols or ports, or anything superior. Nevertheless it’s simple to make use of, can mechanically join if you entry insecure or unknown networks, and comes with a 7-day trial of the complete plan if you would like to search out out extra.
The Kaspersky web site sells Safe Connection extra on its privateness and safety features than any web site or service unblocking talents. There is a line explaining that it “allows you to entry extra websites and content material”, however there isn’t any point out of Netflix or another web site you may significantly need to view.
This silence did not fill us with confidence, however Safe Connection did moderately effectively in our checks, failing with Amazon and Disney+, however getting us entry to BBC iPlayer and US Netflix content material.
Obtain speeds have been acceptable nearly in all places, with the service hitting 60-65Mbps from our 75Mbps UK connection, and 40-50Mbps when connecting from the UK to the US. Even probably the most distant places did effectively, for instance UK to Brazil speeds reached a creditable 25-30Mbps.
We re-ran our checks from a European information middle with a 350Mbps+ connection to get a greater really feel for its high velocity, and the outcomes have been higher than many at a succesful 110-120Mbps.
The service scored on our closing privateness checks, too, with a number of websites confirming our shoppers had no DNS or WebRTC leaks.
Quick, low-cost, and easy-to-use, Kaspersky Safe Connection could possibly be a good selection for novice customers with fundamental safety wants. However extra skilled varieties on the lookout for options and configurability could be higher off wanting elsewhere.