What Is A VPN Kill Switch?
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A VPN Kill switch terminates specific programs instead of cutting off access entirely when there’s no contact between them anymore. It means that you can keep using other applications like Skype, email clients, or chat apps while the VPN is disconnected.
VPN Kill Switch Defined
A VPN Kill switch is a security feature that automatically terminates your internet connection if the VPN software detects that it has lost contact with the VPN server.
VPN Kill switches are essential because they protect you from accidental data leaks and keep your identity hidden, even if your VPN connection drops unexpectedly.
The following are features of a VPN Kill switch:
A VPN Kill switch will immediately terminate your internet connection if it detects that the VPN has lost contact with the server. Suppose you were uploading a file online and had to leave, you didn’t disconnect from the internet. However, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) dropped their end of the connection; then, it would still be possible for someone else to see what files were being uploaded or downloaded even though they couldn’t see who was doing it. Thus, it would be best if you had an active VPN to use this feature; otherwise, all traffic is exposed as usual on its own without any encryption whatsoever (except maybe SSL/TLS).
A Kill switch prevents the leakage of your IP address in case the VPN connection drops, which is an important privacy feature.
A VPN Kill switch can be either software or hardware-based. It can be a feature of the VPN software you are using, or it can be a physical device you connect between your computer and the internet router.
A VPN Kill switch will terminate all traffic if it detects that the VPN connection has been interrupted or dropped, even if you are in the middle of browsing a website when this happens (it won’t just stop loading that page). The software version is designed to work with specific programs only and will not kill off other applications, which could lead to data leaks from those apps. Hardware-based switches usually cut off everything except for what’s currently being used at any given time, so there’ll always be some risk here regardless of how good your setup might seem on paper.
How To Enable A VPN Kill Switch On Windows
Windows has a built-in VPN Kill switch that you can use to protect your data and privacy. Here’s how to enable it:
Open the Control Panel and click on Network and Internet. Click on Network and Sharing Center. On the left-hand side, click on Change Adapter Settings. Right-click on your active VPN connection and select Properties. In the Properties window, go to the Security tab and check the box next to “Allow this computer to turn off this device.” Click OK.
You can also enable a VPN Kill switch on MacOS. Here’s how:
Open System Preferences and click on Network. Click on the + button at the bottom of the window to add a new network connection. Select VPN from the menu and click Create. In the Configuration screen, enter your settings as follows:
Description: Choose any name you like for this configuration
Server Address: Enter the address of your VPN server
Account Name: Your username with your VPN provider
Password: Your password with your VPN provider
Next, go to the Options tab and check “ShowVPN status in the menu bar.” It will add a small icon to your menu bar that you can use to connect or disconnect from your VPN quickly.
Finally, go to the Advanced tab and uncheck “Send all traffic over VPN connection.” It will enable your MacOS’s built-in VPN Kill switch.
Click OK to finish creating your network configuration and return to the Network window. Click Apply. Your new network configuration is now ready for use.
Kill switch is a security feature that is included in the NordVPN app. It will kill your internet connection if it detects a disconnection from a VPN server, protecting you and your data. You can enable this by going to Settings > Advanced Settings and checking “Enable Kill Switch.”
NordVPN clients for Linux, macOS, and Windows come with a built-in Kill Switch. If the connection to the VPN server is lost, the Kill Switch will automatically terminate all programs that are using the internet. It ensures that your data remains protected at all times.
If you’re using an Android or iOS device, you can install the NordVPN app from the App Store or Google Play. The app also includes a built-in Kill Switch that will protect your data if your connection to the VPN server is lost.
However, enabling a kill switch on a router is a bit more complex. The exact method will vary depending on your router, but the NordVPN website has guides for many popular routers that you can follow.
If your VPN does not include its Kill Switch and you do not want to install any extra software, other options are available. If you have an OpenWrt-compatible router, you can use Windows Firewall or OpenWRT as a kill switch.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A VPN With A Kill Switch
The type of kill switch: There are two types of kill switches – software-based and hardware-based. A software-based Kill switch is installed on your device and will halt all traffic when the VPN connection drops. A hardware-based Kill switch is a physical device installed between your device and the internet. It will disable all network traffic if the VPN connection drops. Hardware-based Kill switches are more reliable as they cannot be accidentally turned off as software-based Kill switches can.
Ease of use: Ensure the VPN Kill switch is easy to use and understand. You don’t want to spend time working out how it works when you could be using the VPN to protect your privacy.
Compatibility: Make sure the VPN is compatible with your device and operating system.
Price: VPNs can vary in price, so shop around and find one that fits into your budget.
Support: Make sure the VPN has good support if you experience any problems with the Kill switch.
Reputation: Make sure the VPN has a good reputation and is trusted by others.
Security features: Look for additional security features such as malware protection and a firewall.
Benefits Of A VPN Kill Switch
VPN Kill switch prevents your IP address from leaking in case of a connection drop-out. That way, the internet service provider will not get access to your actual IP address or location and, therefore, cannot throttle traffic nor impose bandwidth limits. The benefits are:
Maintains anonymity on the web by hiding your actual IP address
Keeping you safe while torrenting by preventing PIPA and SOPA (stop online piracy act) from being imposed against you. It is because these acts protect copyright owners from unauthorized downloading, which is common when using torrent clients such as uTorrent for Mac, Vuze, Transmission client for Ubuntu, among others.
Preventing hackers from accessing your data and monitoring your online activities. With a VPN Kill switch, the internet service provider cannot see what you are doing on the web. Neither can they know which sites you visit nor whether or not you use torrents.
Maintaining privacy at all times by making it impossible for third parties to monitor your online activities. An excellent example of such third parties includes government agencies such as NSA in the US, who may want to impose censorship on various sites like Facebook and Youtube due to political reasons.
Prevent your ISP from throttling your bandwidth, especially when streaming or downloading large files.
A VPN Kill switch is an important security feature that every VPN user should have. In case of a connection drop-out, the kill switch will automatically terminate all internet traffic, ensuring that your IP address and location are not revealed.
Without a kill switch, you risk being exposed to various risks, including identity theft, data loss, and malware infections. A good VPN Kill switch should be easy to use and work with all major operating systems such as Windows, MacOSX, and Linux. Besides, choosing a VPN service provider that offers a kill switch as part of their package is also advisable.