When using the internet, do not take security for granted. It is especially true even if you’re using a virtual private network service, or VPN, because there is still a possibility that your security could be, for the most part, in danger. There are a couple of drawbacks some VPNs may have that can leak your data or information into the wrong hands, or disclose your IP address.
More often than not, people opt to use a virtual private network service for many reasons, for example, masking IP addresses, securing data, and restoring access to geo-restricted contents. When you use a VPN, you can appear as if you are in a different location because you use the IP address of the virtual private network rather than the one given by the internet service provider (ISP).
Ensuring that your VPN is a hundred percent secure and safe is critical not to leak any vital information to anyone. For a little help, here’s how to test, check, and verify that your VPN is indeed secure. So, take a read!
Local and Public IP Addresses
You need to understand and learn how IP addresses work so that you’ll know how VPNs safeguards your IP address. For the most part, there are two IP addresses types, local and public. The local IP address isn’t unique and does not distinguish who you are.
Instead, it is your public IP address that’s particular to you and creates your distinct identity when accessing the internet. Privacy leaks happen when Web Real-Time Communication or WebRTC reveals your public IP address rather than the IP address of your VPN.
Believe it or not, a website can disclose your public IP via WebRTC. This problem is extremely bothersome if hackers utilize this browser feature because they can get your IP address and determine your exact physical location.
The security aided by VPNs is negated if a hacker uses the WebRTC protocol to reveal your exact ISP IP address, meaning, anyone can access or know your location. The WebRTC protocol can be utilized on both Chrome and Firefox to expose your IP address. However, this danger does not apply to all virtual private network services, for example, the best paid vpn available today.
Is Your VPN Vulnerable?
Chrome and Firefox on all devices are susceptible or penetrable when WebRTC is enabled. For a little help, follow these helpful steps to check if your VPN is affected or influenced by this kind of hacking:
- Know Your Public IP Address
So, the first step is to find out your public IP address. You can see it by turning off your virtual private network service and searching “what is my IP address” in the Google search box. Keep in mind not to use the internet via your VPN.
- Log in and Join Your VPN Connection
The second step is to log in and connect to your VPN connection, then do the first step again. By then, you will know the IP address of your preferred VPN server. Compare the original IP address from step one and the IP address obtained from step two. If you made certain that you switched off your VPN to know your actual IP address and obtained the same addresses for both the first and second steps, then your public IP address is, for the most part, exposed to the world. But if you obtained a different IP address for both then move on to the next step.
- Inspect Your IP Address on BrowserLeaks
You can make certain that your VPN is safe and secure by inspecting and studying the IP address on BrowserLeaks. If you see the IP address of your VPN, then your IP address is indeed secure. If not, then your IP is leaked to the world.
You can switch off the WebRTC protocol on your Firefox and Chrome to guard and shield yourself from this kind of data breach. Most web browsers have enabled WebRTC by default. But some people experience a slow-running browser when they switch off WebRTC.
When using the web, hackers can track you using different methods. One example is through a browser extension. Browser extensions in Chrome are, for the most part, penetrable to leaks. To check for extension leaks, enable the Chrome plugin from your virtual private network service, copy and paste this URL chrome://net-internals/#dns in your browser, double click “clear host cache,” and go to any website to check the vulnerability.
Inspect and study the three common types of VPN leaks, browser extension leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks, to ensure that your VPN is extremely secure. Moreover, ensure that you select or pick out a high-quality VPN provider to optimize the effectiveness, functionality, and efficiency of your virtual private network server.
About the Author:
Tyler Pack is a real estate consultant and journalist, with a passion for smart homes technology. He is keen on writing about home and property security, and cybersecurity.
- Hakin9 is a monthly magazine dedicated to hacking and cybersecurity. In every edition, we try to focus on different approaches to show various techniques - defensive and offensive. This knowledge will help you understand how most popular attacks are performed and how to protect your data from them. Our tutorials, case studies and online courses will prepare you for the upcoming, potential threats in the cyber security world. We collaborate with many individuals and universities and public institutions, but also with companies such as Xento Systems, CATO Networks, EY, CIPHER Intelligence LAB, redBorder, TSG, and others.
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