What is a kill switch?

Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
Last updated: 14/05/2018

What is a kill switch?While the Internet gives a possibility to connect to any part of the world just per a second, some government agencies continue depriving people from freedom prescribed by the technology developers long ago. For this reason such technologies as virtual private networks have been developed allowing many restricted in practicability customers to feel the freedom of the connection and access to all the online resources that have been blocked or censored in their region. When back on topic of censorship, there are countries implying fines on connection to protected websites even while using a VPN. The reason for how they learn your real ‘name’ is in the fact that some breaks that happen due to several reasons can put you under the risk of being identified while your authentic address is not hidden with a VPN technology. That is exactly why such an innovative extension as a kill switch has been developed.

What is a kill switch?

Kill switch is one of the most useful ways to protect your network from connection breaks. As it goes from the name ‘kill + switch’, your Internet connection is to be killed provided that there has been a disconnection with your VPN server or it has been mistakably enabled. Sometimes even having subscribed for a VPN, people forget to connect to the Internet though a protected tunneling established by a VPN, by using kill switch technology you won’t be exposed to the Internet. Thus functioning as an emergency stop switch, the technology limits unnecessary risks.

A kill switch technology

Being a mechanical component of multiple automotive, boating, engineering industrial outputs, a VPN kill switch solves problems in online security sphere too. It represents a mechanism, which is used for shutting down or disabling a machinery device or program. Probably, any of you have at least once heard about ‘a big red button’, so a VPN kill switch is a red button disabling your data thefts by any adversaries. Therefore, you become an administrator of your network protecting it from being altered with the help of a kill switch technology.

So, your Internet connection is constantly monitored by a kill switch or a tripwire, as it may be called, for your fake address is to be never changed. If any of the changes have been detected by the mechanism, your computer will be blocked from Internet connection until the connection to the VPN is reestablished by you. Thus, your device can’t connect to the Internet until the secure tunneling of the VPN is launched.

A VPN’s kill switch

The feature is not common for all the outputs of the service presented on the market today, but still more and more providers are applying it for their service. For example, such VPNs as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Hide.me and some others, have already accepted this measure of protection.

Let’s have a look at ExpressVPN kill switch to understand its operation better.

Your network traffic is encrypted and locked by the VPN from any adversary. Nevertheless, the most sufficient and reliable connection of any top-rated VPN can undergo disconnection, which can make your Internet traffic exposed and opened for adversaries.

The issue is solved automatically by a built-in kill switch, where all traffic from entering or leaving your device is stopped if the disconnection to the VPN has taken place. Thus, your network traffic is prevented from being routed back and exposed to prying eyes.

The function is presented by the service for Windows and Mac. When there is an unexpected detachment, your device is stopped from accessing the Internet without proper defensive measures of the VPN service. As soon as the reconnection to one of the VPN’s servers is made, your Internet traffic is naturally restored by the kill switch.

If your kill switch is disabled by you, your network will be protected as long as you are connected to the VPN. However, when an interrupted connection to the VPN is happened, your ISP will see your traffic redirected through it. As soon as it happens, your sensitive data can be further passed by the ISP to any interested party.

If speaking about ExpressVPN, the function is enabled by default while installing the app at your device. Whenever being intended to connect to one of the VPNs’ servers, your kill switch is activated. As soon as the button ‘connect’ is clicked, the function is activated. And vice versa, when the button is disconnected, the function is inactive. Of course, the function can be disabled by you, but this imperils your network.

Why to use a VPN with a kill switch?

What is a kill switch?Although the main qualities and characteristics of the top-notch VPN are security, privacy and anonymity, kill switch availability is also relevant as it’s a part of your protection. A kill switch acts as a guarantee on your network defended connection. While being a citizen of such a country as China, India, Iran or UAE, your network needs extra protection from being interfered by government agencies and censored by them. The most dangerous fact is that in many countries a high-rated fine should be paid for accessing some restricted resources or you can even be arrested.

In this very case it’s extremely important to stay away from all the unexpected breaks that can occur on the connection. A kill switch acts here as a life safer, which doesn’t give a possibility to all the prying eyes to reveal your authentic address. Therefore, in these courtiers customers should give an additional preference to VPNs using a kill switch.

Sometimes, when connecting to Skype from China while masking your Chinese address with one of the German, for instance, a disconnection may not only lead to disruption of talks, but also to some undesirable consequences coming from the government agencies spying on the network with the help of up-to-date technologies and tools. Besides, there are multiple tasks that require an extra protection, for instance your private correspondence.

How to enable a kill switch for your VPN?

In plain language it is as simple as that:

  • First, you need to have a line on VPN services using a kill switch to choose the most optimal variant for your online protection;
  • Then you have to subscribe for the service;
  • After the confirmation and your unique pass code are received, you are able to connect to the VPN client and enable a kill switch for the VPN connection.

A kill switch’s summing

So, the technology, which is developed for even higher protection performance has a set of valuable characteristics for your network:

Watching streaming services

Just imagine you are watching your favorite drama on Netflix and the connection has been just broken. The result of the interruption is that the drama has passed into your real life, as the movie is not available anymore and your authentic address has been revealed.

Playing poker

Imagine you are sitting at the table of a virtual poker room with a high stack ready to make bank and oh…there has been a disconnection on the server, the game is stopped and a fine bill is sent to you as the VPN protecting your network doesn’t defend it anymore.

Writing an article

Having written an article, which gives an evidence of the abuse of rights in your country maintained by the governmental agencies, you are ready to post it, and at the very moment when it has been already loaded and is being sent, the break on the VPN connection has happened. Unfortunately, the article has been posted on your behalf under your real address and you haven’t even noticed it.

So, when living in a country the government agencies of which follow the policy of ‘strict censorship’ you need not only a high-quality VPN service, but a VPN service with a kill switch applied for it.

The privacy level of your networking will be greatly enhanced while using not only an up-to-date set of protocols and a ‘long’ bit-key but also a kill switch. The technology, which was firstly used long ago as ‘a big red button’ or a life saver, today is used for protecting our online life from data leakages and uncontrolled interferences.

Being a critical piece of a VPN security solution, a kill switch is developed for getting a top-rated feature in your looking for the best VPN service. Also noticed as an Internet kill switch, your IP address will never be exposed to the network. Unfortunately, the function is gathering pace and by no means all the up-to-date VPNs present or offer the tool for their customers. While looking for the best VPN, you should be technologically advanced as only in this case you will be able to find the best output on the market that is to supply your online life with the first-rated methods of protection.

A kill switch is an effectual mechanism able to contribute to better your network while defending it from multiple identity thefts, targeted password attacks, computer fraudulence and other undesired consequences.

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