Do you admire VPN privacy? Do you consider it as a securest tool? If yes then you are not the only one. Many people have the same thinking, and that’s why people are rapidly moving towards this tool. To a greater extent, this is true.
But this is a general concept for VPNs, whereas, in particular, VPNs can differ from each other in security and efficiency. Apart from features, the primary factor “VPN security” is compromised in many VPNs, which is the sole purpose of this technology. VPN privacy is mostly affected by the data leaks, which remain hidden from a user until tested through a tool or in case of a vulnerability exploit.
Why people use VPN
VPN usage has increased because of two main reasons;
- People want to have data security through encryption so that they can remain secure from cyber-attacks and data monitoring or snooping.
- To hide IP address for unblocking websites, streaming restricted content, P2P file sharing and for other such purposes.
VPN Data Leaks
VPN data leaks can undermine the VPN functionality and could completely demolish the purpose of VPN. Data leaks can occur due to many factors, but VPN vulnerability is a significant factor behind this privacy lack.
Here are some prominent VPN leaks which you should never ignore while you are connected to a VPN.
1. DNS Leak
DNS server acts as an intermediary between a user’s device and the Internet. When a user inserts a URL to his browser, the browser sends a request to the DNS server. The DNS server maintains IP addresses of web servers of all the domains, so it promptly sends the relevant IP address of a URL. The browser is then able to display the webpage a user is asking for.
Usually, the DNS process is carried out by the ISP DNS server if the user has not specified any other. However, when you use a VPN, it automatically places anonymous VPN DNS for the browser’s DNS requests.
DNS leak occurs when the DNS requests bypass VPN server and contact the ISP DNS servers. This issue has been increased due to some reasons including the VPN vulnerability.
How to detect DNS leak?
It’s quite easy to spot DNS leak. There are many tools for this purpose, but despite selecting a random tool, you should go for a not affiliate and legitimate VPN DNS leak tool. Make sure you don’t go for a misleading tool for checking DNS leak.
How to protect from DNS leak?
There are two ways to avoid DNS leak.
- Manually change the ISP’s DNS server to a third-party DNS server like OpenDNS or Google DNS. You can change the DNS settings in Internet Adapter
- Use a VPN, which has the DNS leak protection feature. A VPN automatically change the DNS server, and the protection feature is designed to monitor the DNS requests continuously.
2. IP Leak
IP is the Internet address assigned to every device. Your ISP (Internet service provider) provides you with an IP address, which can indicate your location as well as your hostname/ISP. By this specific IP address, the websites can know your location and your ISP can know what Internet activity you are performing.
For instance, you cannot access some content, or you see a notification “Sorry, but the content isn’t available in your country.”
Therefore, for hiding browsing history and to unblock restricted content many people use privacy tools such as VPN or Tor. Unfortunately, some issues can bypass the protection and can reveal your real IP address.
There are some prominent leaks through which your IP is exposed.
Torrent IP Leak
If you are connected to a VPN while you are torrenting, then your torrent client could be leaking your IP address while downloading/uploading the torrent file. This may be due to many reasons including the factor that you forget to configure your torrent client properly with the VPN. For instance, disabling the features of DHT and PEX. Also, due to the higher chances of connection drops, while torrenting, your data could go unencrypted to the Internet, which can result in IP revelation.
How to Detect Torrent IP leak?
Like DNS leak, you can check your torrent IP and spot any vulnerability that keeps you exposed even when you are behind a VPN.
How to Protect against Torrent IP Leak?
There are a few ways to avoid IP leak while P2P file sharing.
Use a VPN, which has a kill switch to prevent data leak during connection drop.
You can also bind IP with the torrent client you are using.
There are some third-party software such as VPNwatcher, VPNcheck, or VPNNetMon which can monitor the torrent traffic and react promptly if something goes without encryption while VPN connection drops.
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a browser feature, which is enabled by default in most of the browsers. With this feature, browsers can form a real-time, peer-to-peer connection with the websites they visit. Therefore, a user can send and receive live audio and video to the other user without any additional software.
The communication channel established between the browser and the user’s visited website also involves information exchange including the IP address. Unfortunately, this WebRTC functionality could result in exposing your real IP address even when you are using a VPN. By a little effort, any website could access your IP.
How to spot WebRTC leak?
You can detect WebRTC leak through a testing tool. The tool will perform a test and will let you know if your IP is leaking through WebRTC or not.
How to prevent WebRTC leak?
It is really easy to stop WebRTC leak by manually changing the browser settings and disabling WebRTC. But the setting change option is only available in Firefox.
If you are a using Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Yandex, or any other browser, then you can download an extension to disable WebRTC.
There are two types of Internet protocols – IPv4 and IPv6. To get the real difference between both the protocols, you need to have a look at a detailed description of IPv6.
In short, IPv6 adoption is really slow, and this could result in vulnerability such as IP leak through IPv6 requests. Some VPN providers only have support for IPv4 request, and they cannot resolve IPv6 requests. Therefore, if a website sends IPv6 request, then your ISP DNS could be accessed to get the answer.
However, the chance of IP leak through IPv6 requests is really low because most ISP’s also have the support for IPv4 only.
How to check IPv6 leak?
Similar to other tools, there are some tools to check IPv6 leak too.
How to prevent IPv6 leak?
You can avoid IPv6 leak by selecting a VPN with IPv6 leak protection. Also, you can disable IPv6 in your network by changing the router configuration.
Is Your VPN Secure?
If you own a VPN, it’s good for your privacy, but is it really secure and provides you anonymity? Using a VPN is not a guarantee to privacy because of the common data leaks, which remain hidden from a user. Therefore, make sure to carry out all the VPN tests we have mentioned above.