30-Second Summary:

  • Kill Switch ensures data confidentiality and prevents hackers from compromising your sensitive information even when a VPN connection is lost.
  • VPN Kill Switch is available in two types: “System-Level VPN Kill Switch” and “Application-Level VPN Kill Switch.”
  • The Kill Switch continuously monitors your VPN connection to the VPN server.
  • VPN Kill Switch is inevitable if your internet connection is slow and frequently causes your VPN to stop suddenly.
  • To stay protected against public internet connections, you must need a VPN Kill Switch.
  • Read more below to understand the VPN kill switch, its types, why a VPN kill switch is essential, and who needs this.

Introduction 

Every VPN aims to ensure anonymity, privacy, and security. So, it is only possible when your VPN connection is online. On the contrary, what happens if your VPN connection gets disconnected? Is your VPN provider has established safety measures to deal with this situation? If this situation arises, your VPN Kill Switch would be the main player. It does not allow internet traffic to go outside the VPN tunnel; therefore, there is no data leakage. 

Kill Switch ensures data confidentiality and prevents hackers from compromising your sensitive information even when a VPN connection is lost. 

This article will take a deep dive to understand the VPN kill switch, its types, why a VPN kill switch is essential, and who needs this. 

What Is a VPN Kill Switch? 

A VPN Kill Switch, also known as Network Lock, is a feature of most VPN applications. The Kill Switch automatically disconnects the computer, tablet, laptop, or phone from the internet if the VPN connection drops out. In this way, if your VPN stops working, your critical data would not be on the verge of destruction or not be exposed to cyber pests. 

What Are the Types of VPN Kill Switch? 

VPN Kill Switch is available in two types: “System-Level VPN Kill Switch” and “Application-Level VPN Kill Switch.” 

System-Level Kill Switch 

The System Level Kill Switch completely blocks the internet connection if the VPN connection is interrupted. Internet traffic is not allowed until the VPN connection is restored. Since the entire connection is frozen, the leakage of the IP address is out of the question. 

Application-Level Kill Switch

As the name sounds, Application-Level Kill Switch is limited to specific applications the client chooses. If the internet connection drops out, this Kill Switch would bring these apps to a standstill or not allow them to connect to the internet. 

How Does a Kill Switch Work? 

The Kill Switch continuously monitors your VPN connection to the VPN server. If the connection gets lost, Kill Switch will quickly detect the issue and prevent the VPN from working. Based on the VPN settings, the Kill Switch either entirely freezes the internet connection (System Level) or blocks specific applications (Application-Level). Lastly, your Kill Switch will restore your VPN connection with the internet as soon as the issue is resolved. 

Why Do You Need a VPN Kill Switch? 

VPN Kill Switch is inevitable if your internet connection is slow and frequently causes your VPN to stop suddenly. The Kill Switch ensures that your computer will not disclose your IP address or send critical data to cybercriminals. In this way, third parties or hackers cannot observe or intercept your communications and identity. Your sensitive data and information are always safe because Kill Switch never allows internet traffic from leaving outside the encrypted VPN tunnel. The following sections delve into details why do you need a VPN Kill Switch. 

No maintenance 

The Kill Switch requires zero maintenance and runs in the background. There are no complicated settings and any necessary configurations. Kill Switch is often on by default. However, you can turn it on & off in the settings, depending on your VPN app. Kill Switch doesn’t bother you or gain your attention again and again. Hence, you must have a Kill Switch to avoid compromising your security and privacy. 

Obscurity 

Modern cyber attackers are swift and sophisticated. They don’t reveal their tactics and stay undetected while compromising your sensitive information. So, only they know that a data leak is taking place. They create obscurity to remain unnoticed. An unsecured channel is established when a VPN connection breaks down, and data transmission may begin over this channel. Even in a fraction of a second, malicious actors can steal a plethora of sensitive information. Therefore, you must need a Kill Switch to prevent data leakage in the loss of your VPN connection. 

Vulnerability of Public Internet Connections

Public internet connections such as free WiFi at airports or coffee shops may put your data at risk. According to Norton, a cybersecurity firm, a free public WiFi connection is an attacker’s playground for stealing sensitive information. 

The data over public internet connections are insecure and unencrypted. Therefore, it can be a victim of a Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attack that threat actors use to exploit a security loophole in the vulnerable network to intercept and compromise data. Your critical data may incorporate financial information, credit card numbers, login details, company secrets, national security information, and so forth. 

Moreover, a public internet connection may provide connectivity through a rogue hotspot whose name can be similar to that of a legitimate hotspot. Hackers set up a rogue hotspot to lure users into connecting to their network so that they can inject malware into the victim’s device. 

To stay protected against public internet connections, you must need a VPN Kill Switch. Hackers will not identify your IP address and location; thus, no compromise will occur. 

Unpredictable Events 

In cybersecurity, no one can predict bad events. Therefore, you must be ready for any potential misfortunes. For example, you lend your laptop to your friend, and the system crashes suddenly. He forgets to turn on the VPN. Under such circumstances, your data might be at risk, and if you log in to your account, you may lose your credentials. 

On the other hand, if you have a Kill Switch, it is ready to face any misfortune. The internet traffic will not go outside the VPN tunnel. Your VPN Kill Switch will automatically activate in the following possible situations: 

  • Someone borrows your computer or mobile device and restarts it without turning on the VPN. 
  • The new firewall can block your VPN if you don’t add an exception for your VPN. 
  • If you use a public internet connection. 
  • If you switch VPN servers. 
  • If your internet is disconnected. 

For Whom Kill Switch Is Necessary? 

The disconnected VPN is not always detrimental to all internet users. Many people don’t take basic moves through the computer or mobile device. However, a specific community must use the VPN Kill Switch. They are listed below: 

  • Journalists and Activists
  • Torrent users
  • Anyone having critical data and information 

Conclusion 

The VPN Kill Switch is a VPN feature that provides a safe exit in a lost VPN connection. This brilliant piece of technology safeguards you in the face of data leaks and unexpected connection interruptions. It is the last line of defense that ensures that your IP address or location is not disclosed to bad guys. 

If you are not using a Kill Switch, your critical data may be compromised by intruders. Public internet connections, user mistakes, obscurity, and unpredictable events can lead you towards data breaches. Kill Switch is an effortless and very essential feature. In most cases, it is automatically activated, for example, when you connect to the public. Hence, a VPN Kill Switch is a must-have and indispensable for your data privacy, security, and