Browse Definitions :
Definition

kill switch

A kill switch is a mechanism used to shut down or disable machinery or a device or program. The purpose of a kill switch is usually either to prevent theft of a machine or data or as a means of shutting down machinery in an emergency. In manufacturing, for example, a kill switch (also called a big red button) might be used to shut down machinery if a worker is in danger. In mobile computing, a kill switch can disable a device that has been reported lost or stolen. By activating a kill switch, the network administrator can protect the data on the device from being stolen or altered. In a car or boat, a kill switch can prevent the vehicle from starting unless an associated security mechanism is activated.

Software programs sometimes include encoded kill switches as anti-piracy mechanisms. After installing the software, if a user fails to enter a valid registration key before a specified deadline passes, the software will either stop functioning or continue to function but with reduced capabilities. Microsoft Vista, for example, was designed to operate in "reduced function mode" if the user didn't register the software within 30 days.

Software-based kill switches (sometimes called virtual kill switches) are also often coded into platforms for smartphones and other devices as an anti-malware measure to protect the devices from infected apps. Microsoft, Google and Apple are among the companies that include kill switches in their products. When a problem is detected, the company can send instructions to the devices that will alter or remove the offending application.

Kill switches are also used for a wide variety of machinery both inside and outside the IT world, including car ignition systems, boat motors, industrial machines and gas pumps. A kill switch for vehicles and machinery is sometimes called a "dead man's switch" because its purpose is to shut the vehicle or machine down if the operator becomes incapacitated.

 

Continue reading about kill switch:

An Internet kill switch bill wouldn't ensure security 

Why gadget makers wield a 'kill switch'

Vista's Windows kill switch: What to do if RFM kicks in

This was last updated in May 2011

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • data breach

    A data breach is a confirmed incident in which sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data has been accessed and/or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

  • business continuity software

    Business continuity software is an application or suite designed to make business continuity planning/business continuity ...

  • business continuity policy

    Business continuity policy is the set of standards and guidelines an organization enforces to ensure resilience and proper risk ...

SearchStorage

  • business impact analysis (BIA)

    Business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

  • dedicated cloud

    A dedicated cloud is a single-tenant cloud infrastructure, which essentially acts as an isolated, single-tenant public cloud.

Close