Watch Demo×

See NinjaOne in action!

By submitting this form, I accept NinjaOne's privacy policy.

VPN Kill Switch: How It Works & Do You Need One?

By offering a protective layer against data leaks during unexpected VPN disconnections, a VPN kill switch is a mechanism that ensures complete confidentiality and safety for users. This feature plays an integral role in the IT security field, as we will find out below.

What is a VPN kill switch?

A VPN kill switch, also known as an internet kill switch, is a security feature that cuts off the internet connection whenever the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. This proactive measure prevents any data from being transmitted unencrypted over the internet, thus safeguarding users from potential risk exposures.

How does a VPN kill switch work?

The working mechanism of a VPN kill switch is simple yet effective. The moment the VPN connection drops, the kill switch gets activated. It severs the link between the device and the internet until the VPN connection is safely re-established. This automatic action ensures that no data leaks occur when the VPN is down, maintaining the user’s privacy and security.

Reasons to use a VPN kill switch

1. Protection against data leaks

The primary reason for using a VPN kill switch is to protect against data leaks. During those brief moments when the VPN connection drops, sensitive data could be exposed. The kill switch ensures that no data slips through by immediately cutting off the internet connection.

2. Maintaining anonymity

For those who require anonymity online, such as journalists, activists, or anyone living under repressive regimes, a VPN kill switch is indispensable. It guarantees that their real IP address will never be revealed, even if the VPN fails.

3. Safeguarding financial transactions

When performing financial transactions online, a VPN kill switch can be a lifesaver. By preventing any data leaks, it ensures that financial information remains confidential and secure.

Different types of VPN kill switches

System-level kill switch

A system-level kill switch is a common type found in many VPNs. It disconnects the entire device from the internet if the VPN connection drops, ensuring complete protection.

Application-level kill switch

An application-level kill switch allows users to choose which apps should be disconnected from the internet if the VPN fails. This provides more control to the user but requires careful configuration to avoid potential data leaks.

How to Choose the Best VPN Kill Switch

  • Evaluation of the kill switch type: Differing in their levels of control and security, two types of kill switches exist – system-level and application-level. The best one for your organization will depend on the setup of your IT environment and your personal preferences.
  • Reliability assessment: The effectiveness of a VPN kill switch lies in its reliability during unexpected disconnections. It is crucial to delve into user reviews and expert opinions to ascertain whether the kill switch performs as promised, maintaining privacy even during sudden VPN failures.
  • Ease of use: The process of activating and configuring a kill switch should be straightforward and user-friendly. A kill switch that is easy to navigate and adjust contributes to a seamless online experience, reducing stress and potential errors during setup.
  • Compatibility with different operating systems: Not all VPN kill switches work well with every operating system. It is vital to ensure the chosen kill switch is compatible with the user’s device and operating system to guarantee optimal performance and functionality.
  • Customer support availability: In case of any issues or queries, having quick and efficient customer support can make a significant difference. It is advisable to opt for a VPN kill switch from a provider known for its excellent customer service, ensuring timely assistance when needed.

Closing remarks

A VPN kill switch is a vital security feature that provides an additional layer of protection for VPN users. It shields against potential data breaches, maintains anonymity, and safeguards financial transactions. Whether it’s a system-level or application-level kill switch, it’s an essential tool for any internet user who values their privacy and security. It’s not just a fancy term; it’s a crucial mechanism for ensuring a safer online experience.

Ready to become an IT Ninja?

Learn how NinjaOne can help you simplify IT operations.