Private Internet Access (PIA) Responds to “TunnelVision” Exploit Report, Emphasizes Kill Switch Protection

Private Internet Access (PIA) Responds to “TunnelVision” Exploit Report, Emphasizes Kill Switch Protection

Paige Henley Paige Henley
Published on: May 20, 2024

Security researchers in Seattle, Washington, have published a report detailing a new exploit named “TunnelVision,” which impacts VPN users by rerouting and intercepting traffic before it reaches the encrypted VPN tunnel. The exploit leverages a compromised or malicious DHCP server and the absence of a VPN kill switch. However, Private Internet Access (PIA) assures its users that their kill switch functionality effectively neutralizes this threat.

The “TunnelVision” exploit primarily affects users connected to untrusted Wi-Fi networks without an active kill switch. PIA’s default security settings and kill switch are designed to block all non-VPN traffic, significantly limiting the risk for PIA users.

“PIA’s kill switch is specifically designed to block all traffic that does not travel via the VPN client. When using trusted Wi-Fi networks, and with default app security configurations enabled, any risk to PIA users from this exploit is extremely limited,” PIA stated in a blog post.

PIA emphasizes that this exploit is only feasible if users deliberately disable the kill switch and connect to a compromised network. To maintain security, users should ensure the kill switch remains enabled.

TunnelVision exploits DHCP network routing settings at the OS level, using option 121 to potentially reroute traffic through non-protected routes, bypassing the VPN. Without an engaged kill switch, expected protected traffic could be exposed.

PIA’s kill switch tool neutralizes this threat by blocking all non-VPN traffic. The standard kill switch, enabled by default on all devices except smart TVs, prevents traffic leaks even during unexpected VPN disconnects. The advanced kill switch further enhances security by blocking traffic even when the VPN is turned off.

PIA does not offer kill switch functionality for Apple TV or Android TV apps due to low attack incentives and typical use on trusted networks. On iOS, the exploit can impact users, but connecting via 4G or 5G networks is recommended for security until Apple addresses this issue.

PIA remains committed to transparency and prioritizes user security. Users are advised to keep their kill switch activated to ensure continuous protection.

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