VPNs are powerful tools for watching our favorite geo-locked content or playing games with restricted IPs, but all that power often comes at the risk of security. The kill switch is a powerful line of defense built into your VPN software, but why does your VPN use the kill switch feature to block the internet?
A VPN kill switch feature stops your data from flowing onto the web, such as your IP address, location, or identity, by blocking your connection to the internet when you lose connection to your VPN. Without a kill switch, your information may become vulnerable if the VPN connection drops.
There are serious safety risks involved if you don’t have a kill switch feature, so let’s take a closer look at why using one is essential.
Why Does VPN Block Internet?
Despite technological advances, modern technology is not infallible; in fact, it’s more important than ever nowadays to protect your personal information. A business that offers a privacy service by nature, such as a VPN, must be able to keep its promise of security.
As a result, a VPN kill switch function is an advanced security mechanism that stops your data from flowing onto the web, such as your IP address, location, or identity. It accomplishes this by preventing your device from sending or receiving further information from the internet.
Your IP address and online behavior may most likely become apparent to others if you lose your VPN connection unexpectedly. You don’t want this to happen because hackers might take sensitive data such as your personal information to perpetrate crimes like identity theft and other internet scams.
VPNs work by establishing a data connection between your local network and a distant server located elsewhere. When your device connects to your VPN, it links your web activity with the IP address of the VPN server rather than yours. Consequently, it gives the impression that you’re in another area while concealing your actual position.
If you lose your internet connection – and thus your VPN server – your laptop, smartphone, or other devices will most likely revert to your home Internet Service Provider’s public IP address. As a result, other internet users may be able to view and trace your online activities and browsing history, in addition to your IP address and location.
VPN kill switches are vital because it makes it very hard for hackers to hack a VPN, and by extension, you. Hackers may resort to using malware, cookies, and other harmful software while hoping for the VPN’s connection to fail. They may then attempt to hack into your computer, phone, or network.
Active Kill Switch Vs. Passive Kill Switch
There are two different kinds of kill switch features that VPN services may offer, and they come in the form of an active or passive kill switch.
When you disconnect from a VPN provider, an active kill switch protocol detects this and sends the information to your device, preventing it from connecting to potentially dangerous networks.
Although it sounds harmless, a Passive Kill Switch Protocol is more secure. The VPN program does not wait for information from the VPN server to arrive; instead, if it does not get a signal from the server, it instantly disables that device from delivering your traffic.
The VPN kill switch feature does a few things to keep you secure:
- A VPN kill switch scans for changes in your network status or IP address in real-time, analyzing your connection to the VPN server.
- The kill switch function detects any disturbance in your VPN connection right away.
- Depending on your VPN service and settings, the VPN may disconnect your complete device from the internet or only block selected programs.
- When your VPN connection resumes, the VPN app’s kill switch is disabled, and your connection will instantly reconnect.
The 3 Reasons Why You Would Get Disconnected From A VPN
Continuing without being aware that you’ve been disconnected from your VPN can have potentially devastating consequences for personal safety. As with all technology, it does become problematic, so here are some of the leading causes of why a VPN would disconnect:
1. A VPN May Have Weak Connectivity And Fluctuating Loads
Because VPN services permit users to connect to remote servers, it’s easy to overlook the importance of local Wi-Fi conditions. Unfortunately, the reliability of your VPN connection is directly influenced by the strength of your Wi-Fi connection.
Due to high data losses, low signal strength may most likely cause your connection to drop. Additionally, intensive internet usage in airports, libraries, coffee shops, or similar public spaces might cause your VPN connection to become unreliable.
2. You Haven’t Granted Your VPN Access Through Your Firewall
The settings in your firewall, antivirus, or anti-spyware application may be causing your connection to fail regularly. Disable your router’s firewall, then rejoin your VPN connection and keep an eye on things.
Router firewalls can sometimes cause disconnection; after all, they are meant to disconnect the VPN connection after a few minutes if the router firewall is set on.
On a PC or macOS device, it’s a good idea to add your VPN client to your third-party antivirus software or firewall exclusion/exception list. Third-party antivirus software and firewalls have been known to cause VPN connection issues.
3. Switch The VPN Protocol
Switching protocols is the first step in the troubleshooting process. After disconnecting from a VPN, switching between the different VPN protocols is always good to re-establish the VPN connection.
Due to ISP network compatibility concerns, a VPN connection may be quickly terminated after connecting. Changing the protocol and reconnecting the VPN is always the first advised option, whether the problem is on the server or with the ISP.
VPN kill switches are crucial because they protect your IP address, location, and identity; protect yourself and your family by keeping the kill switch feature on at all times.