With online privacy becoming a common topic these days, more and more people are aware of the measures they need to take to lock down their identity and personal information. Running a VPN on all of your devices is a great place to start, but they can’t take care of everything all at once. WebRTC leaks vulnerability affects all browsers, from Firefox to Chrome to Safari, and they’re present even when you’re using a VPN.
Solving WebRTC leak vulnerabilities for different browsers isn’t as complicated as you might think. Our guide below covers all you need to know to get started, from understanding what a WebRTC vulnerability is to protecting your IP address and learning how to patch the hole in your device’s security. Read on for the full scoop on solving the WebRTC leaks vulnerability for all browsers!
- 1 Basics of WebRTC leaks
- 2 WebRTC leaks vulnerability solved for all browsers
- 3 Best VPNs for securing your browser
- 4 Conclusion
Basics of WebRTC leaks
WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. It’s a free and open source project launched in 2011 aimed at providing web browsers and mobile apps with a simple interface for exchanging audio and video communications in the browser window, all without installing additional plugins. The project is supported by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera, meaning it’s built into just about all modern browsers.
About WebRTC vulnerabilities
WebRTC issues are usually associated with VPNs, but they’re actually browser vulnerabilities. The confusion comes from the fact that VPNs usually can’t prevent IP address leaks through WebRTC due to the way it communicates through the browser.
Think of it this way. VPNs create a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. They do this by encrypting all traffic before it leaves the system, and by masking the IP address associated with that traffic. This ensures no one can tell what you’re doing or where you’re doing it from, all thanks to the VPN’s software.
WebRTC vulnerabilities are made outside of the usual data request channels. They can’t be detected or blocked by most script killers or VPNs. It’s as if some of the data passing through that encrypted tunnel is carrying a well-wrapped package, one that can be opened up on the other side to reveal your actual IP address.
How the leak happens
In more technical terms, WebRTC implements STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for Nat) to operate in your browser, a protocol that natively allows scripts to discover public IP addresses. STUN requests are made outside of normal XMLHttpRequest procedures, making them invisible to most standard methods of detection.
Is this the same as a DNS leak?
Not exactly, no. WebRTC vulnerabilities are a different animal from DNS leaks, meaning VPN features that protect against open DNS data sharing will not solve the problem. The end result of both leaks is roughly the same, though: your identity can be discovered by malicious third parties. Both WebRTC and DNS vulnerabilities need to be solved separately, no single solution can fix them both.
WebRTC leaks vulnerability solved for all browsers
It’s time to fix this frustrating privacy issue once and for all.
First, test for a WebRTC leak
Before you attempt to fix a WebRTC leak for your browser, it’s a good idea to run a quick test to make sure one of your extensions or browser settings doesn’t already patch the problem. This is as quick and simple as running a quick online test in the browser you use most.
- Make sure your VPN is active and connected to a secure server.
- Open your default browser and go to ipleak.net
- Wait a moment for the tests to automatically run.
- Look at the section that says Your IP addresses – WebRTC detection
- If the box shows an IP address, the vulnerability is affecting your browser.
- If the section says “No leak”, you’re good to go.
Once you’ve confirmed the WebRTC vulnerability, use the instructions below to fix it for all major browsers.
Firefox WebRTC vulnerabilities
Open an empty tab and type about:config into the URL bar, then press enter. A warning will display saying “this might void your warranty”. Leave the checkbox enabled next to “show this warning next time”, then click the blue “I accept the risk!” button to continue.
The next screen will be filled with confusing entries. You’re only looking for one, though: media.peerconnection.enabled Type this directly into the search box near the top of the window and a single entry should show up. Double click the preference and the value will change to “false”.
Now your Firefox browser is completely safe from the WebRTC vulnerability. This works on both the desktop and mobile versions of the browser, so you can be completely leak-free no matter where you surf.
Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi WebRTC leaks
While Chrome does offer a lot of configuration options for power users, it unfortunately doesn’t have a setting for protecting you from WebRTC vulnerabilities. Instead of tweaking the browser itself, you’ll need to either switch to a more secure browser, like Firefox, or download an add-on that can take care of the issue.
If you’re using a desktop version of Chrome, the best add-on for preventing WebRTC leaks is WebRTC Network Limiter, with WebRTC Leak Prevent coming in at a close second. Add this extension to your Chrome-based browser by visiting the previous link and clicking the “Add to Chrome” button at the top right. The extension will download and automatically enable, allowing you to stay safe from WebRTC vulnerabilities.
The add-on fix for WebRTC leaks works for many browsers based on the Chromium engine, including Vivaldi and Opera. If they support Chrome extensions, you can install the vulnerability patcher and use it just like normal.
If you’re using Chrome on a mobile device, you won’t be able to install the extensions listed above. Instead, open a blank tab and enter the following URL: chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc Scroll down to where it says “WebRTC STUN origin header”, then tap to disable it. Save the changes by tapping the relaunch button below.
Brave Browser WebRTC Fixes
Brave is based on Chromium, but its support for add-ons is limited at the moment. Since the browser is so focused on privacy, however, you can easily disable WebRTC to prevent any sort of leak issues, all without installing extra software.
Start by opening Brave and navigating to Preferences > Shields > Fingerprinting Protection. Under the first dropdown menu on the right, choose Block all fingerprinting. This will disable WebRTC communications and stop potential leaks.
An alternative method is to go to Preferences > Security > WebRTC IP Handling Policy and select Disable Non-Proxied UDP. This will make doubly sure that WebRTC leaks are taken care of. You can also follow both methods for added privacy, if you like.
This fix works on most versions of Brave, including mobile releases. Some iOS users report issues with WebRTC still staying active after following the tips above. Brave’s developers are aware of the issue and are working on a fix, so make sure you keep the browser up to date at all times.
Safari WebRTC issues
Safari blocks sites from accessing your camera and microphone by default, just like many modern browsers. WebRTC vulnerabilities can still persist, however, so it’s a good idea to disable the feature anyway.
First, open Safari on your Mac device. Go to Safari > Preferences and select the Advanced tab. Check the box at the bottom that says Show develop menu. Close the preferences window and navigate to Develop > Experimental features. Look for the option named Remove Legacy WebRTC API and select it to close WebRTC leaks.
If you’re using Safari on iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to follow a slightly different path to disable WebRTC access. Open the settings app on your iOS device and scroll down. Navigate to Safari > Advanced > Experimental features. Look for the switch labeled Remove Legacy WebRTC API and tap it so it turns green.
Microsoft Edge WebRTC
The bad news for Edge users is that Microsoft does not allow you to disable the feature. There are no add-ons or hacks anyone can deploy to fix the vulnerability, either. We recommend using a reliable VPN that specifically offers WebRTC protection, or simply switch to Firefox for added privacy.
You can take a half measure in Edge to protect your privacy by hiding the way the browser shares your local IP address. In the URL bar, type about:flags and press enter. Check the option marked Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections and save your changes.
Best VPNs for securing your browser
Online privacy is a concern for everyone, not just travelers or citizens of countries where censorship is a problem. Running a VPN is the best way to create a solid foundation for protecting your identity. Use any of the below selections to start your privacy journey right, no matter which devices you use.
1 – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs you can use, no matter where you’re connecting from or which devices you prefer. It’s easy to understand, offers one-click protection, has a built-in speed test for optimal connections, and has lightweight apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, and other platforms. Use it to gain instant access to anonymous IP addresses worldwide, all while keeping your data safe and sound.
With ExpressVPN, all of your information is secured with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption and backed by a strict zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. Information stays protected by an automatic kill switch and DNS leak prevention features, as well. All of these work together with ExpressVPN’s network of over 2,000 servers in 94 different countries to give you a fast and secure connection anywhere in the world.
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that offer built-in WebRTC vulnerability protection. By running the app on mobile, desktop, and laptops and staying connected to a secure server, you can stop WebRTC vulnerabilities before they occur, even if you’re unable to change your browser’s settings. According to the service itself: “ExpressVPN protects you from a wide spectrum of WebRTC leaks across different browsers and platforms.” You won’t necessarily have to manually disable the technology on your browser to stay safe, but it’s a good idea to do so anyway, just in case you forget to connect to ExpressVPN.
For more info about this VPN and its great features, check out our ExpressVPN review.
- SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off - link below)
- 3,000+ super fast servers
- Torrenting/P2P allowed
- Strict no-logs policy for personal information
- Live chat support available.
- Expensive month-to-month plan.
2 – NordVPN
NordVPN is a fast, secure, and extremely popular VPN. It comes with all the features you need to lock down your information and keep your identity safe, including built-in WebRTC leak protection on all versions of its software. You also get access to one of the largest and fastest networks in the industry, currently over 5,000 servers in 61 countries. NordVPN also delivers exclusive privacy features like double encryption, protection from DDoS attacks, and onion routing over VPN.
The software comes jam-packed with everything you need to stay safe on any device, from PC to Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and more. You get 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a zero-logging policy that covers time stamps, DNS requests, IP addresses, and traffic when you join. It’s extremely easy to set up NordVPN and use it on all of your devices.
NordVPN also blocks potentially malicious WebRTC requests. According to the provider: “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 address.” To protect yourself from these vulnerabilities, all you need to do is run NordVPN on your device, that’s it. You can also manually disable WebRTC via the browser methods above as an extra precaution.
Learn more about the NordVPN experience in our full NordVPN review.
- Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat
- Mind-boggling number of servers
- Torrenting/P2P explicitly allowed
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- 30-day money back guarantee.
- Some servers can have average d/l speeds
- Can't specify City or Province in App.
CyberGhost delivers an amazing all-around VPN experience that’s perfect for newcomers and experienced privacy advocates alike. It’s fast, easy to use, extremely secure, and it runs on nearly every device, from iPhones and iPads to Android devices and laptops. As soon as you sign up you’ll have access to CyberGhost’s large network of over 3,300 servers in 60 countries, all with unlimited data and no restrictions on speed. There’s no easier way to unblock sites or to enhance your privacy online.
CyberGhost’s privacy features keep everyone safe with 256-bit AES encryption on all data, a zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP addresses, and both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch. These features hide your identity whenever you go online, allowing you to connect with fully encrypted data and an anonymous IP address no matter where you live.
Learn more about CyberGhost’s fast speeds and smart privacy features in our complete CyberGhost review.
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- Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed
- Located in Romania (out of 14 eyes)
- Zero logs
- Live chat support (24/7).
- Doesn’t work well in China.
4 – PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN is a well-respected, strong, and safe VPN that lives up to its name. The service makes it easy to keep your data and identity secure in an instant, all you have to do is click to connect and you’re done. With PrivateVPN you can surf and stream with full privacy on a wide array of devices, including PC, iOS, Android, and Mac, all thanks to the company’s lightweight and straightforward software.
PrivateVPN operates a reliable network of about 100 servers in 59 different countries. Data is locked down with 256-bit AES encryption to keep your connection safe, and an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection along with a zero logging policy on all traffic ensure your privacy is never at risk.
Read more about PrivateVPN’s stellar features in our complete PrivateVPN review.
WebRTC vulnerabilities may sound complicated and difficult to fix, but most users will be able to patch them up in just a few minutes. Running the right VPN service can even handle the leaks for you, allowing you to lock down your information and keep your identity safe no matter what.
Got any additional tips on solving WebRTC leak vulnerabilities? Share your thoughts in the comments below!