VPNs are primarily used to give you privacy and security on the internet. They protect you from having your internet usage monitored by your ISP and can give you confidence that you can use a public Wi-Fi hotspot safely. However, one risk to consider when using a VPN is the possibility of it disconnecting and allowing your information to leak. The best protection you can get against your data leaking if your VPN disconnects, is a kill switch.
A VPN kill switch is a tool that constantly monitors your connection to your VPN provider’s servers. If it detects an interruption that indicates that your VPN connection has dropped, the kill switch blocks all network communications. A VPN kill switch also protects you from a scenario where your VPN connection was not active. For example, this could be from the VPN not starting automatically after a system restart or software update.
By cutting off your network communications when not connected to your VPN, the kill switch protects your details from being leaked. For example, your IP address being leaked to the websites you’re connecting to or your internet usage being leaked to your ISP.
If you’re using a VPN, your privacy and security is likely your primary reason for doing so. Using a VPN kill switch is a key part of ensuring that your VPN is always protecting you, even if it disconnects.
Unfortunately, not every VPN provider includes a VPN kill switch in their software. There are third-party solutions however, that can perform a similar task. VPN Watcher is a paid application that can be used to specify applications to be blocked from sending any network communications when the network connection is down. VPN Lifeguard is a similar, free, and open-source application. In the event of your VPN dropping out, it can prevent specified apps from communicating, prevent unsecured communications, close specified applications, and attempt to restart the VPN automatically. While an integrated VPN kill switch is the ideal way to ensure your details stay secure and private, a third-party solution is better than not having one.