Is a killswitch needed with a VPN?

Killswitch VPN

VPN services are enough, that’s for sure. Establishing a connection to the Internet through a VPN service undoubtedly offers many advantages, both in terms of security and browsing capabilities. A VPN or Virtual Private Network is an internet connection that gives you the opportunity to browse completely anonymously wherever you are. Programs like the U.S. version of Netflix can be visited in countries such as the Netherlands. In other words, a VPN connection circumvents restrictions and gives you a completely anonymous online identity.

VPN services often have numerous features, extensions and capabilities, depending on which provider you choose. One of the most popular and most important features is undoubtedly the kill switch feature. What exactly does this feature mean and why is this so important for protecting your data? However, more information is essential to get the best out of it.

The kill switch feature and how it works

If a VPN service has a so-called kill switch function, that means that if the secure Internet connection fails, the user will not be connected to an unsecured connection. This will keep your data protected as a user because you never connect to an ordinary, unprotected network.

The goal? To prevent your online activities and your IP address from being exposed to third parties and official agencies. It can always happen that your secure VPN connection fails. In that case, it’s better to have no connection, instead of one that you do not protect or make yourself anonymous.

If the kill switch is turned on with a VPN service, it will always check if the connection is secure. This will check any changes in the connection to the network or IP address. If something changes effectively – for example, because the VPN connection is no longer working – the kill switch turns off the device, interrupting your Internet connection and pausing active apps and programs. This allows you to re-connect to the secure VPN securely and keep your data and Internet data protected at all times.

A kill switch, absolutely necessary for optimal security

Now the question is, of course, whether such a killswitch is worth the effort. However, VPN services still provide optimal protection of your data? However, a lot of VPN service users have already been faced with a situation in which their data has become visible for government agencies or cybercriminals . A VPN service naturally avoids this anonymously by making your online identity anonymous and changing your IP address. Therefore, anyone who cares for their online data and does not want them to get in the wrong hands will benefit from a reliable VPN service.

Nevertheless, of course, there is still a chance that a VPN connection will fail, so your personal information will no longer be protected against third parties. Even if this interruption of the connection takes only a few minutes, personal information may already be intercepted by government agencies or other third parties. If your VPN connection is lost, your device automatically reconnects with an ordinary ISP connection, which means that you will no longer be browsing anonymously and your browsing data and personal information will be easier to see.

The use of a killswitch function is very important for a particular target group. For example, journalists, political activists and bloggers who are active in a country with strict controls can only benefit from such a service. When these people get affected by an interruption of their VPN connection, it is very easy for local authorities to track them down and prosecute them.

A kill switch feature thus allows your personal data or Internet data, as well as the websites you visit and the files you download to remain invisible to third parties at all times.

The kill switch feature, available with many VPN providers

Many VPN services have expanded their basic features with a killswitch functionality, with the aim of protecting the user and his data even better from third parties. This feature can be easily switched on or off by the user, thus ensuring that sensitive browsing information and history information is not visible to anyone at any time – even if that VPN connection is interrupted.

killswitch VPN

Different killswitch versions

The killswitch function is available in different versions, with VPN services such as NordVPN. With a desktop version – available for both Mac and Windows – you can specify which apps you want to disable if the VPN connection is lost, and which ones should not be disabled. However, there are also versions that disable the system-level connection, rather than just closing the apps. That way, your data and IP address are even better protected.

There is also a mobile version of the killswitch feature, which can be used on both iOS and Android. This will break the so-called system wide Internet access if the VPN connection fails. As a result, all enabled apps will be protected, but will not be closed. This makes it easier to use them again quickly once the connection to the VPN server is restored.

So is a kill switch necessary or not?

The question is, of course, whether such a killswitch function is really needed. However, the answer to that question depends entirely on what you want to do with the VPN connection. In the case of relatively innocent activities that can hardly jeopardize you, and where cyber criminals or government agencies can’t do anything with your data, a kill switch feature is an option, but not necessary.

However, if you are a journalist who investigates a sensitive national issue, or a political activist active in another country, then a killswitch function is undoubtedly a must. This ensures that the security of your VPN connection is always guaranteed, even when it fails. In any event, such a function will increase the security of your data and identity to a level – and that is why, of course, you are using a VPN service.

Written by

Kees van Vliet

Kees van Vliet

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