What is WebRTC and how to prevent it?
Read on to know more about what a WebRTC leak is and how to prevent WebRTC to protect yourself from vulnerability.
What is a WebRTC?
WebRTC stands for "Web Real-Time Communication," a free, open-source project enabling real-time communication between web browsers, mobile applications, and other devices. With WebRTC, developers can directly embed audio and video communication capabilities into their web applications without additional plugins or software installations.
WebRTC has many applications, including video conferencing, online gaming, remote desktop sharing, and even file sharing. It is supported by all major web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, and it has become an increasingly popular technology for real-time communication on the web.
What is a WebRTC leak？
A WebRTC leak refers to a security vulnerability in the WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) protocol that can reveal a user's real IP address to the websites they visit, even using a VPN or proxy server.
WebRTC is a popular technology used in web browsers to enable real-time user communication, such as video and audio calls, file sharing, and screen sharing. However, WebRTC uses STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) to find the best possible path for data transmission, which can potentially leak the user's IP address, even if they are using a VPN or proxy server.
Websites or third-party scripts can exploit this vulnerability to collect the user's IP address and other sensitive information without their knowledge or consent. As a result, WebRTC leaks can compromise a user's privacy and security. Therefore, it is essential to prevent them, such as disabling WebRTC in the browser or using a browser extension or VPN that includes WebRTC leak protection.
How does a WebRTC leak work?
A WebRTC leak occurs when a website or a third-party script can obtain a user's real IP address through the WebRTC protocol, even if the user uses a VPN or proxy server to mask their IP address.
When a user connects to a website that uses WebRTC, the browser sends a request to a STUN server to determine the user's network configuration and obtain the user's IP address. The STUN server returns a response with the IP address and port number of the user's device, which can be used for real-time communication.
However, this information exchange can reveal the user's real IP address, even if they are using a VPN or proxy server. The reason is that some VPNs and proxies do not fully support WebRTC, or they do not prevent the browser from leaking the real IP address.
As a result, a website or a third-party script can intercept the STUN requests and responses to obtain the user's real IP address, which can be used to track the user's online activities or even launch targeted attacks.
To prevent WebRTC leaks, users can disable WebRTC in their browser settings or use a VPN or browser extension that includes WebRTC leak protection.
What information is leaked?
A WebRTC leak can reveal a user's real IP address, which can be used to determine their location and internet service provider (ISP). In addition to the IP address, a WebRTC leak can also reveal other sensitive information, such as:
- Network interface type (e.g., Wi-Fi, Ethernet)
- Local IP address (e.g., 192.168.x.x)
- Public IP address (e.g., 123.23.x.x)
- Internet connection speed
- Browser type and version
- Operating system type and version
Websites or third-party scripts can use this information to track the user's online activities, display targeted ads, or even launch targeted attacks. For example, a hacker could use a user's real IP address to launch a DDoS attack or attempt to exploit known vulnerabilities in the user's operating system or browser. Therefore, it is essential to prevent WebRTC leaks and protect your online privacy and security.
How to use the WebRTC leak checker?
To use a WebRTC leak checker, follow these steps:
1. Open a web browser and navigate to a WebRTC leak checker website. Some popular options include
2. Wait for the page to load and follow the instructions to perform the WebRTC leak test. It usually involves clicking a button or running a script to initiate the trial.
3. The website should display the results of the WebRTC leak test, indicating whether your browser is vulnerable to WebRTC leaks and what information is being leaked.
4. Suppose the test shows that your browser is vulnerable to WebRTC leaks. In that case, you can prevent them by disabling WebRTC in your browser settings, using a browser extension or VPN that includes WebRTC leak protection or configuring your firewall to block STUN requests.
5. After preventing WebRTC leaks, you can re-run the WebRTC leak test to confirm that your browser is no longer vulnerable.
Regular WebRTC leak tests can help you identify and address potential security vulnerabilities and protect your online privacy.
How to prevent a WebRTC leak?
There are several ways to prevent WebRTC leaks:
1. Disable WebRTC in your browser settings: Most modern web browsers include an option to disable WebRTC. Disabling WebRTC can prevent the browser from making STUN requests and potentially leaking your IP address.
2. Use a VPN with WebRTC leak protection: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can help protect your online privacy by encrypting your internet traffic and routing it through a remote server. However, not all VPNs fully support WebRTC, which can lead to leaks. Look for a VPN with WebRTC leak protection to prevent your real IP address from leaking.
3. Use a browser extension with WebRTC leak protection: Some browser extensions, such as WebRTC Network Limiter for Google Chrome or WebRTC Leak Shield for Mozilla Firefox, can help prevent WebRTC leaks by blocking or restricting WebRTC traffic.
4. Configure your firewall to block STUN requests: You can configure your firewall to block STUN requests, preventing WebRTC from making requests that may lead to IP address leaks. However, this method may require technical knowledge and can affect other applications that rely on STUN for connectivity.
By preventing WebRTC leaks, you can help protect your online privacy and security and avoid potential vulnerabilities.