What Is a VPN Kill Switch & Why Do You Need One?
VPN kill switches vary by VPN service and device. However, their basic purpose remains the same: to block your access to the internet when your VPN connection fails.
Without this safeguard, you run the risk of exposing your personal data to the internet if your connection drops unexpectedly.
To understand why kill switches are so important, you need to know how a VPN works to protect your traffic.
Here’s what happens when you connect to a VPN server:
- Once you’ve connected to a VPN server of your choice, you can access a website on your browser.
- The VPN client on your device encrypts your outgoing data, concealing it from your internet service provider (ISP).
- The encrypted traffic is sent to the VPN server where it is assigned a new IP address.
- The VPN decrypts your data and then communicates with the destination website on your behalf.
- The process then happens in reverse, ending with the website information appearing in your browser.
At any point during this process the VPN connection can suddenly stop, removing your data’s encryption and revealing your real IP address to the websites you’re visiting.
If you’ve been connected to the same VPN server for a while, all of your browsing activity using that server will now be traceable back to your public IP address. Similarly, your web traffic from this point onwards will be unencrypted and associated with your real IP.
Here are some ways your IP address can be used
- To find your exact location: Your IP address broadcasts your country, city, ISP, and even your ZIP code.
- Leave you vulnerable to malicious attacks: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), doxxing, and vishing attacks can be carried out simply by obtaining your IP address.
- Subject you to personalized ads: Carefully curated advertising content can be sent to your specific IP by third-parties.
A VPN kill switch ensures that your IP address and location remain private. We strongly recommend installing a VPN with kill switch enabled if you are concerned about ISP surveillance or what someone can do with your IP address.