Webrtc Vpn Leak
What is a WebRTC leak & How To Test It [+Video] | NordVPN
ContentsWhat is a WebRTC leak? What is WebRTC? How does a WebRTC leak happen? The problem with WebRTC How to test for WebRTC leaksHow to block WebRTC leaks How to disable WebRTC on ChromeHow to disable WebRTC on FirefoxHow to disable WebRTC on SafariBlocking WebRTC leaks is not enoughWhat is a WebRTC leak? A WebRTC leak is a vulnerability that can occur in web browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Brave, Opera, and others. A WebRTC leak presents a major security risk, as it can can expose your real IP address when you’re connected to a subpar VPN that doesn’t protect you against WebRTC is WebRTC? WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is an open-source tool that allows web browsers to form real-time peer-to-peer connections with the websites they allows your Firefox browser, for example, to send live audio and video feeds back and forth between you and another participant online without having to download any additional software. This is a non-proprietary protocol that allows any website to plug in and make such a connection (with your permission) does this by establishing special real time communication channels from the browser. They communicate with the website you’re visiting and exchange information (including your local and public IP addresses) does a WebRTC leak happen? WebRTC leaks happen when communication channels bypass your encrypted tunnel created by using a VPN. In this case websites and online services you visit can see your IP problem with WebRTCWebRTC presents a massive vulnerability. Any website you visit can potentially request and access your true IP address despite your VPN. When this vulnerability was first discovered, it gave VPN providers (ourselves included) quite a scare. The worst part is that this is part of the basic functionality of WebRTC, so it can’t be “fixed. ” It’s up to the user to find ways to block these leaks or disable WebRTC entirely. The good thing is that you can easily perform a WebRTC leak test to test for WebRTC leaksCheck your VPN for any potential WebRTC leaks. You can perform a WebRTC leak test by following these simple steps:Disconnect and exit whatever VPN you’re out and note down your IP address by typing “What’s my IP” into Google and hitting Enter – your original IP address will the your VPN and refresh the webpage. Re-do step your WebRTC is NOT leaking your IP address should display as something completely different. If your IP address is the same, after you re-do step do with your VPN on – a WebRTC leak is likely exposing your IP your original IP usually begins with or or sometimes an alpha-numeric IPv6) to block WebRTC leaksIf a WebRTC test showed that there is a leak, there are a few ways to block it. By far the simplest way is to block WebRTC leaks by using NordVPN. Whether you’re using our regular VPN or our browser plugins for Firefox or Chrome, either will block any unwanted IP address leaks through WebRTC while allowing authorized WebRTC connections to continue under your anonymous IP otect your IP address and enhance online security with the click of a can also prevent WebRTC leaks by blocking WebRTC requests from your browser, but this process will be a bit more complicated. Furthermore, unlike with NordVPN, blocking WebRTC leaks using these methods will often disable WebRTC functionality to disable WebRTC on ChromeDisabling WebRTC on Chrome is tricky, and we strongly suggest using an extension to do so. That’s because the extension-free way involves manually editing setting files that can potentially make your Chrome browser malfunction if you do it Leak Prevent is the leading Chrome extension for preventing WebRTC leaks. As the developer has noted, this extension only changes WebRTC’s security and privacy settings – it doesn’t turn WebRTC to disable WebRTC on FirefoxFortunately, Firefox does have a built-in way to disable WebRTC. It can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look, so follow these steps! That’s it! This will disable all WebRTC, so it will also disable any websites that use it to deliver their to disable WebRTC on SafariDisabling WebRTC on Safari is possible, but the option is a bit harder to find than on Firefox. That’s because WebRTC was only recently implemented, and is still considered an experimental feature that only developers would want to fiddle with. If you follow these instructions, however, you’ll find it easily! That’s it! Your Safari is now free of WebRTC leaks. However, this may also prevent WebRTC-based services from working in your browser. Blocking WebRTC leaks is not enoughBlocking WebRTC leaks is a good start to securing your online activity, but it’s not enough. If you use NordVPN’s browser extension or VPN service to block these leaks, you’ll already have a collection of tools at your disposal to help you stay rdVPN offers a variety of useful features, including our CyberSec system and a Kill Switch to prevent unwanted data exposure. Our premium VPN can give you unrivaled internet speeds, without compromising on strong data ‘s never been a better time to improve your day-to-day internet safety and protect your privacy. With NordVPN, encryption is just a click rdVPN will keep you secure and private online. Try it with our 30-day money-back guarantee.
Charles is a content writer with a passion for online privacy and freedom of knowledge. A technophile with a weakness for full Smart Home integration – he believes everyone should strive to keep up-to-date with their cybersec.
How to stop WebRTC leaks on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and …
@pabischoff UPDATED: November 17, 2020
WebRTC is used by web browsers for voice and video chat applications like Skype for Web, Discord, and Google Hangouts. The free and open-source project lets apps set up peer-to-peer connections without the need for any extra plugins or applications, allowing for efficient real-time communication (the ‘RTC’ in WebRTC). Most modern web browsers now support and enable WebRTC by default, including desktop browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, as well as mobile browsers on Android and iOS.
The problem is that WebRTC compromises the security provided by VPNs, or virtual private networks. When a user connects to a VPN server, all of the internet traffic from their device should go through an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server. Among other benefits, this prevents websites and apps from determining the user’s real IP address, which is masked by that of the VPN server. An IP address is a string of numbers and decimals unique to every internet-connected device that can be used to determine location.
Whenever a VPN user visits a site that has WebRTC enabled, WebRTC can transmit data outside the encrypted tunnel. This exposes the user’s real IP address and location to the website, which means the user can be tracked by advertisers and other third parties.
In this article, we’ll explain how to prevent WebRTC leaks when using a VPN on all major browsers.
Preferred solution: Use a better VPN
Not all VPNs suffer from WebRTC leaks. Some have added security features to their apps that prevent WebRTC traffic from traveling outside the encrypted VPN tunnel. Of the many VPNs we’ve tested, two stand out:
While many VPNs claim to prevent leaks, many fail to live up to their promises. We’ve put both of these VPNs through rigorous leak tests to ensure they never allow WebRTC leaks to occur under any circumstances. ExpressVPN and NordVPN will both prevent WebRTC leaks on any web browser or app.
By signing up for and installing either of these VPNs, you don’t need to worry about WebRTC leaks. No further tweaks are required.
How do I know if WebRTC is leaking?
When you connect to a VPN, your WebRTC IP address should either change to that of the VPN or be disabled entirely.
As an example, here’s my connection info while connected to a VPN that suffers from WebRTC leaks:
Notice that my standard IP address and WebRTC address are different. That’s because my real IP address is being leaked through WebRTC and WebRTC traffic is not going through the VPN. While connected to the VPN, both addresses should both be identical.
You can run this test on your own using our VPN leak tester.
WebRTC leak severity depends on permissions granted
Before we get into other ways to prevent WebRTC leaks, we want to clarify that not all leaks are equal. When it comes to WebRTC leaks, we categorize them into two levels of severity:
Leaks when permissions granted – less severe
Leaks when permissions not granted – more severe
When you visit a website that uses WebRTC, your browser will usually ask your permission before allowing a website access to your camera or microphone.
Except for the two mentioned above, almost all VPNs suffer from the less severe version of WebRTC leaks, in which your IP address is exposed to the website only after you grant it permission to use your microphone or camera. Even though this leak is less severe, it’s still cause for concern. A VPN user should be able to safely visit WebRTC-enabled sites without exposing their IP address.
How to stop WebRTC leaks in Chrome
Google Chrome requires a simple browser extension to disable WebRTC. WebRTC Network Limiter lets you choose how WebRTC network traffic is routed. You can easily configure it to use only your VPN’s public IP address.
See also: Best VPNs for Chrome
How to stop WebRTC leaks in Firefox
In Firefox, you can disable WebRTC in the browser settings:
In the URL bar, enter:
Run a search for:
Double-click the entry to change it to False
Note that changes you make to the settings may not carry across updates, so you might need to re-adjust this setting again if your browser updates.
How to stop WebRTC leaks in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge now supports both WebRTC plus its own proprietary version, dubbed ORTC. Unfortunately, Edge does not allow you to disable either. You merely get the option to hide your local IP address over WebRTC connections, but not your public IP address.
A “WebRTC Leak Shield” extension is available on the Microsoft app store, but given it has no user feedback at time of writing and sparse details about the developers, we would avoid it for now.
If you’re an Edge user and you want to prevent WebRTC leaks, ExpressVPN and NordVPN will both get the job done. Websites will only see your VPN server’s public IP address and not your own when connected through either of their respective apps.
See also: Best VPNs for Microsoft Edge
How to stop WebRTC leaks in Safari
Safari blocks sites from accessing your camera and microphone by default, so we’re really only concerned about the less severe type of WebRTC leak here. You can turn WebRTC off in the developer settings:
Open Safari and go to Safari > Preferences…
Go to the Advanced tab and check the box at the bottom that says Show Develop menu in menu bar
Close the preferences menu and go to Develop > Experimental Features
Check the option for Remove Legacy WebRTC API
See also: Best VPNs for Safari
How to stop WebRTC leaks on Android
In the latest version of Chrome for Android (tested with 8. 1. 0 Oreo), it is not currently possible to completely disable WebRTC. Many other tutorials on this subject instruct users to disable WebRTC Stun origin header in the flags menu, but in our experience this does not work. Even if we disable every WebRTC-related setting, our real IP address leaks.
Notably, ExpressVPN and NordVPN do prevent this leak when we connect through their Android apps. Websites can still see an IP address, but it’s the VPN server’s IP address and not our real IP address.
We will update this section of the tutorial if we find a way to disable WebRTC in Android 8 Oreo or, when it is released, Android 9 Pie.
See also: Best VPNs for Android
How to stop WebRTC leaks on iOS
You can only disable WebRTC in mobile Safari on iOS 11 or earlier. The setting to disable it was removed in iOS 12. For later versions of iOS (12+), you can use ExpressVPN’s or NordVPN’s iOS app to mask your real IP address and prevent WebRTC leaks.
Disabling WebRTC on the Safari browser in iOS 11 or earlier is fairly similar to the desktop version:
Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
Scroll down and tap on Safari > Advanced > Experimental Features
Tap the switch next to Remove Legacy WebRTC API so it turns green
We will update this article if we come across a way to plug WebRTC leaks in iOS 12 and later.
See also: Best VPNs for iPhone
How to stop WebRTC leaks with uBlock Origin
uBlock Origin is a popular browser add-on/extension for Firefox and Chrome. It can prevent your browser from leaking your device’s local IP address, but not your public IP address. For this reason, we recommend uBlock Origin more as a supplement to the other solutions in this list, and not a standalone solution.
After installing it, just go into the Settings and check the box that says, Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP address.
What about VPN browser extensions?
There’s no shortage of browser plug-ins that claim to work like VPNs by redirecting internet traffic through a secure proxy. The vast majority of VPN browser extensions won’t protect you from WebRTC leaks. The only standalone VPN add-on we know of that does stop WebRTC leaks is NordVPN. In addition to its native desktop and mobile apps, its browser extension for Chrome and Firefox protects against WebRTC leaks.
Disabling WebRTC won’t break VoIP apps
If you want to stop WebRTC leaks but like to use voice and video chat apps like Google Hangouts, Discord, and Skype, worry not. Disabling WebRTC doesn’t usually break those apps; they just have to fall back on a different method of communicating. While the call quality might suffer a bit, you can still use voice and video chat normally with WebRTC disabled.
Test for WebRTC leaks
Once you’ve applied a fix, you can check to make sure it’s working using Comparitech’s DNS leak test. This page runs a test in two parts: with the VPN connected and with the VPN disconnected. The results will show you in plain terms whether your VPN is leaking DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC traffic. You can even choose whether to allow or disallow microphone and camera permissions to determine leak severity.
WebRTC Leak Test: Prevent IP Address Leaks | ExpressVPN
How to use the WebRTC leak checker
What’s the difference between public and local IP addresses?
When you use the leak checker you’ll see two classes of IP addresses displayed: public and local.
Public IPs are highly specific to you. They form part of your identity on the internet. When you use a VPN, sites see the VPN server’s public IP address instead of yours, and your identity is protected.
However, if WebRTC detects your real public IP address when you’re connected to a VPN, as opposed to the VPN server’s, then third parties can still use it to identify you. If you see a public IP in the test results, then you may have a privacy leak.
Local IPs are not specific to you. These IPs are assigned to you by your router and are reused millions of times by routers all over the world. So if a third party knows your local IP address, it has no way of linking it directly to you. If you see a local IP in the test results, it is not a threat to your privacy.
5 steps to test for a WebRTC leak (with and without VPN)
If you’re not using a VPN you will undoubtedly be exposing some private information to third parties. (Want to learn more? See how a VPN hides your IP address to keep your information private. )
If you are using a VPN and the leak tool indicates there may be a leak, then you can perform the following leak test to be sure:
Disconnect from your VPN and open this page in a new tab or window
Make a note of any public IP addresses you see
Close the page
Connect to your VPN and reopen the page
If you still see any of the public IP addresses from Step 2, then you have a privacy leak
If you’re using a VPN and the tool specifically tells you there is no leak, you’re safe!
Want to check for other privacy leaks? Try these tools:
DNS Leak Test
IP Address Checker
What is WebRTC?
Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a collection of standardized technologies that allows web browsers to communicate with each other directly without the need for an intermediate server. Benefits of WebRTC include: faster speeds and less lag for web apps like video chat, file transfer, and live streaming.
Any two devices talking to each other directly via WebRTC, however, need to know each other’s real IP addresses. In theory this could allow a third-party website to exploit the WebRTC in your browser to detect your real IP address and use it to identify you. This is what we call a WebRTC leak.
Any leak of your public IP address is a threat to your privacy, but WebRTC leaks are lesser-known and easily overlooked, and not all VPN providers protect you from them!
How does a WebRTC leak put my privacy at risk?
The problem with WebRTC is that it uses techniques to discover your IP addresses that are more advanced than those used in “standard” IP detection.
How does WebRTC detect my IPs?
WebRTC discovers IPs via the Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) protocol. This protocol specifies several techniques for discovering IPs, two of which are covered below.
STUN/TURN servers play two key roles in WebRTC: They allow web browsers to ask the question “What are my public IPs? ” and they also facilitate two devices talking to each other even if they are behind NAT firewalls. The former is the one that can affect your privacy. STUN/TURN servers discover your IPs much as a website sees your IPs when you visit it.
Host candidate discovery
Most devices have multiple IP addresses associated with their hardware. Usually these are hidden from websites and STUN/TURN servers via firewalls. However, the ICE protocol specifies that browsers can gather these IPs simply by reading them off your device.
The IPs most commonly associated with your device are local IPv4 addresses, and discovery of them won’t affect your privacy. If you have IPv6 addresses, however, then your privacy could be at risk.
IPv6 addresses don’t work quite the same as IPv4 addresses. Generally, an IPv6 address is a public one (which means it is unique to you). If you have an IPv6 address associated with your device, and it is discovered via ICE, then your privacy could be exposed.
A malicious website could use STUN/TURN servers or host candidate discovery to trick your browser into revealing an IP address that could identify you, all without your knowledge.
WebRTC leaks: Which browsers are most vulnerable?
As of this writing, users of Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Edge are most vulnerable to WebRTC leaks because these browsers have WebRTC enabled by default.
Browsers that are most vulnerable to WebRTC leaks
Note that you may be safe from WebRTC leaks in one browser and not in another. If you regularly use multiple browsers, then you should consider using the ExpressVPN WebRTC Leak Test on each of them.
What does ExpressVPN do to protect me from WebRTC leaks?
ExpressVPN works hard to ensure its apps protect you from WebRTC leaks. When you open new web pages while connected to ExpressVPN, your public IP addresses won’t leak.
Some browsers, however, can be aggressive when it comes to holding onto data from old tabs. If you have a tab open from before you connected to the VPN, your real IP address may be cached in memory by the browser. These IPs can persist even if you refresh the tab, which puts your privacy at risk.
The ExpressVPN browser extension (currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge) solves this problem by letting you completely disable WebRTC from the settings menu, which will ensure that you’re not vulnerable to any caching issues.
How ExpressVPN’s dedicated leak-proofing engineers keep you safe
ExpressVPN protects you from a wide spectrum of WebRTC leaks across different browsers and platforms. Because WebRTC is still a relatively new technology, it’s important to continually test different scenarios for WebRTC leaks across different platforms and browsers. ExpressVPN leads the industry with a team of dedicated engineers who constantly investigate new leak vectors and rapidly develop any necessary fixes.
Learn more about ExpressVPN’s latest leak-proofing developments.
How else can I prevent WebRTC leaks?
In addition to using ExpressVPN, you may be able to guard against leaks by manually disabling WebRTC in your browser. *
How to disable WebRTC in Firefox on desktop
Type about:config into the address bar
Click the “I accept the risk! ” button that appears
Type erconnection. enabled in the search bar
Double-click to change the Value to “false”
This should work on both mobile and desktop versions of Firefox.
How to disable WebRTC in Chrome on desktop
There are two Chrome extensions known to successfully block WebRTC leaks:
uBlock Origin is a general all-purpose blocker that blocks ads, trackers, malware, and has an option to block WebRTC. WebRTC Network Limiter is an official Google add-on that specifically stops IP leaks without totally blocking WebRTC.
How to disable WebRTC in Safari on desktop
There’s no need to disable WebRTC in Safari. Safari’s permissions model is stricter than those of most browsers. By default, no IP addresses are made available to websites except the one you use to access the site. Therefore you shouldn’t need to take any additional action to prevent WebRTC leaks in Safari. Note, however, that if you grant any particular site permission to use audio or video capture, you might expose your IPs.
How to disable WebRTC in Opera on desktop
To disable WebRTC in Opera, you’ll need to download the extension WebRTC Leak Prevent and follow these steps:
Access the extension’s settings (View → Show Extensions → WebRTC Leak Prevent → Options)
Choose “Disable non-proxied UDP (force proxy)” from the dropdown menu
Click Apply settings
How to disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge
Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to completely disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge. However, you can set your browser to hide your local IP address if you:
Type about:flags into the address bar
Check the option marked Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections
As mentioned above, revealing your local IP address is not a threat to your privacy, so the steps above offer little benefit. Therefore the best way to stop WebRTC leaks while using Microsoft Edge is by using the ExpressVPN app for Windows.
*Disabling WebRTC probably won’t affect normal web browsing. Most websites don’t depend on it… yet. But as WebRTC becomes more popular, the functionality of certain sites may decline if you disable it completely.
What if I’m connected to ExpressVPN, and I still see a WebRTC leak on this page?
Contact ExpressVPN Support, and we’ll get that sorted out promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions about webrtc vpn leak
Does WebRTC work with VPN?
Whenever a VPN user visits a site that has WebRTC enabled, WebRTC can transmit data outside the encrypted tunnel. This exposes the user’s real IP address and location to the website, which means the user can be tracked by advertisers and other third parties.Nov 17, 2020
How do I know if WebRTC is leaking?
5 steps to test for a WebRTC leak (with and without VPN)Disconnect from your VPN and open this page in a new tab or window.Make a note of any public IP addresses you see.Close the page.Connect to your VPN and reopen the page.If you still see any of the public IP addresses from Step 2, then you have a privacy leak.
What are WebRTC leaks?
A WebRTC leak is the visibility of an IP address, which can pose a big security risk for an end-user. WebRTC leaks take place when you’re trying to establish video or audio communication with another person via a browser that uses WebRTC technology.