Kaspersky launches information hungry VPN app for Android

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 17, 2017
Apps, Google Android

Kaspersky Secure Connection: VPN service is a new application by Russian security company Kaspersky for the Android mobile operating system.

The application is available as a free and premium version. The free version of the application is good for 200 Megabytes of daily traffic, the premium version removes the restriction, can be used on up to five devices, and lifts geographic restrictions.

The VPN application promises to safeguard user privacy and data when they are online by encrypting connections, and by not logging what users do online.

The application requests access to the contacts, calls and location, and won't start if you deny the permissions. If you check the full list of permissions, you find others such as Identify (find accounts on device), Device & app history (read your web bookmarks and history), and reading of USB storage listed as well.

It is unclear why it requires these permissions, and the core reason for negative user reviews on Google Play.

Kaspersky Secure Connection: VPN service

kaspersky vpn permissions

Kaspersky Secure Connection: VPN service displays options to connect to a VPN server when you start if up (provided that you did not quit already when it asked for all these extra permissions). You may select servers in specific regions of the world, e.g. Germany, Denmark, France or Japan, or use the auto selection feature which picks a suitable server automatically.

Probably the most interesting option of the application is the ability to set up apps, websites and website categories that you want to secure by connecting to the VPN. This sets up rules basically to connect to the VPN network whenever you are about to open one of these applications or websites.

kaspersky secure connection

Kaspersky's application displays a prompt by default that gives you control over the connection to the VPN. You can allow or decline it, and also set it up so that it is handled automatically from that moment on.

The quota of 200 Megabytes per day is sufficient for light browsing and email checking, but don't expect the quota to last long if you start to stream media or open heavy sites in your browser of choice.

Privacy issues

Another privacy related issue becomes apparent only if you allow the permissions. The application is powered by Hotspot Shield. The Center for Democracy and Technology has filed a complaint against Anchorfree, Inc, the company that products Hotspot Shield (PDF here)

The Center for Democracy & Technology asks the Federal Trade Commission (Commission) to investigate the data security and data sharing practices of Hotspot Shield Free Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, a product of AnchorFree, Inc. Hotspot Shield Free VPN promises secure, private, and anonymous access to the internet. As detailed below, this complaint concerns undisclosed and unclear data sharing and traffic redirection occurring in Hotspot Shield Free VPN that should be considered unfair  and deceptive trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

To put it nicely; there is a fair bit of uncertainty about this application that you may not want to expose yourself to. You can check out F-Secure Freedome VPN for instance for a solution that requires less permissions to run.

Now You: What's your take on this new app?

Kaspersky launches information hungry VPN app for Android
Article Name
Kaspersky launches information hungry VPN app for Android
Kaspersky Secure Connection: VPN service is a new application by Russian security company Kaspersky for the Android mobile operating system.
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  1. Wayfarer said on August 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    That’s the way I feel, increasingly.
    But opposed to what? American?????! Chinese????!

    1. AAA said on August 21, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Hehehe…. basically, any data is a money making tool. So yeah, it doesn’t matter whose hands it gets into — they all want to sell and make money out of it. I am switching back to relying on pigeons for my messages now… can’t trust anybody! :(

  2. Wayfarer said on August 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Used to use Hotspot Shield. Dropped them last year mainly because they suddenly demanded twice the subs they’d asked the year before (they claimed I’d benefited from a special deal now run out.) But I also had an increasing suspicion, not proven but based on wide internet reading, that my data wasn’t all that safe.

    Also been a Kaspersky user for years. No specific complaints, but recently they’ve been pushing hard – even in my paid-for Internet Security edition – for me to use their ‘secure internet’ feature. This turns out to be, as far as I can tell, a limited ‘free’ version of Hotspot Shield. Despite unticking every option I can find, I’m continually bombarded with error messages that tell me my internet connection isn’t safe, even though I’m now using both KIS and an alternate VPN.

    Have to say with some reluctance (having trusted Kaspersky for years) that my trust in their software is beginning to wane rapidly. Trouble is, over recent years, every alternative security suite I’ve looked at seemed to fall short of Kaspersky’s, so I’m hard put to know what I might change to.

    1. Kassandra said on August 19, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Bitdefender is a pretty solid option when contesting against Kaspersky. It rates around the same amount in detection rates but does bog computers down a bit more that Kaspersky…

      1. AAA said on August 19, 2017 at 8:17 am

        I doubt it. Anything Russian, stay away! :D

  3. Stumpelrilzchen said on August 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    There are other free VPN’s available, it’s simply a matter of choice. But as long as you go for free you will pay with personal information, ads, etc. Not saying that if your buying a license it won’t happen. I don’t know, you don’t know. And the ones who know won’t tell. That I know.

  4. biggard D said on August 18, 2017 at 10:32 am

    lol fucking politics.

  5. Curtis K said on August 18, 2017 at 7:58 am

    This application is STILL in beta according to Google Play Store.

  6. AAA said on August 18, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Don’t use Kaspersky. I just uninstalled the Internet security. It wants to tab on every single piece of information(be it a file, process, webcam, keyboard, SSL… and the list goes on). It’s an app built to suck the information outta you; like some bloody Dracula sucking an innocent’s blood…

    If you want the key, I will give it for free… I f hate Kaspersky!

    1. Anonymous said on April 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      can i have its key?

  7. walter said on August 18, 2017 at 2:33 am

    @Ray: “Hotspot Shield sucks”

    “Hotspot Shield” VPN generally receives good reviews, but this month “The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)”, a digital rights advocacy group, urged US federal trade authorities to investigate VPN provider “AnchorFree” for deceptive and unfair trade practices.

    AnchorFree claims its “Hotspot Shield VPN” protects users from online tracking– but according to the formal complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the company’s software gathers user data and its privacy policy allows it to share that information with 3rd parties.

    It is claimed the service forces ads and JavaScript code into people’s browsers when connected through Hotspot Shield … and tracks/logs user internet activity. This would sharply contradict Hotspot Shield’s public statements that customers privacy and security are ‘guaranteed’.

    Apparently the CDT conducted substantial reverse-engineering of the Hotspot Shield software… and close analysis of the network connections/traffic between client computers and Hotspot Shield servers — indicating strongly deceptive practices.

  8. Ray said on August 17, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Hotspot Shield sucks. Not sure why Kaspersky is affiliating with them.

  9. Anonymous said on August 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Does ProtonVPN offer an Android app ?

    1. Robert said on August 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      BlackVPN does. It is super fast and asks for no permissions on my phone.

    2. CHEF-KOCH said on August 18, 2017 at 2:43 am
  10. XenoSilvano said on August 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    with the recent controversy surround Kaspersky which may just be political rhetoric, I will stay clear of their offerings just to be on the safe side and op for a company that is more impartial

    1. Anonymous said on August 17, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Which controversy ?

    2. nero said on August 17, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      I’m with you 100%. I simply don’t believe in coincidences, and definitely not with respect to Kaspersky suddenly entering the VPN and free antivirus markets.

      I’m afraid Trump isn’t the only one with a permanently tarnished reputation.

      1. Skynet said on August 18, 2017 at 3:37 am

        All too often Free = spying or ads. Even the seemingly harmless Notepad++ was appropriated by the CIA via scilexer.dll as an attack tool! No one caught it for YEARS! People are under attack by tech companies, governments, and organized crime. This also includes all the spam and scam callers that have emerged. The governments are refusing to do anything about it because legislation would also expose their illegal spying and damage the business model of state-backed companies like Google and Amazon (just using US companies as examples, all the major countries are spying at this point).

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