What is a Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC)Leak?

What is WebRTC?

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is an open-source program that enables web browsers to establish real-time peer-to-peer connections with websites they visit.

  • WebRTC enables your Firefox browser, for example, to exchange live audio and video feeds back and forth between you and another online user without the need for any additional software to be downloaded.

  • WebRTC is a non-proprietary protocol that allows any website to plug in and connect (with your permission). WebRTC does this by using the browser to build specific real-time communication channels. They exchange information with the website you are browsing (including your local and public IP addresses).

WebRTC Leak

A WebRTC leak is a security flaw that can affect web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Brave, Opera, and others. When you're connected to a poor VPN that doesn't protect you against any leaks, a WebRTC leak might disclose your real IP address, posing a serious security risk.

Regardless of your VPN, each website you visit has the capacity to request and obtain your genuine IP address. When this vulnerability was originally found, it alarmed VPN providers (including us). Worse, because this is part of WebRTC's core operation, it cannot be "fixed." It is the user's responsibility to discover solutions to prevent these leaks or to stop WebRTC completely.

Steps to Check for WebRTC Leakage

Follow the steps given below to check if there's a WebRTC Leakage −

  • If you're using a VPN, disconnect and exit it.

  • By putting "What's my IP" into Google and pressing Enter, you may find out what your IP address is and write it down.

  • Close the browser window.

  • Restart your VPN and reload the page. Step 2 should be redone.

  • Your IP address should show as something totally different if your WebRTC is not leaking.

  • If your IP address remains the same after re-doing step with your VPN turned on, it's likely that a WebRTC leak has exposed your IP address.

  • WebRTC leaks can also be avoided by disabling WebRTC requests in your browser; however, this is a more involved procedure.

Steps to Disable WebRTC

It's difficult to disable WebRTC in Chrome, therefore we recommend installing an extension. That's because the extension-free method involves manually modifying configuration files, which, if done incorrectly, might cause your Chrome browser to fail.

The most popular Chrome plugin for avoiding WebRTC leaks is WebRTC Leak Prevent. This add on merely modifies WebRTC's security and privacy settings, not turning it off, as the creator has said.

Even if WebRTC leaks are a risk if you use a VPN service, you can address and prevent them with a separate VPN service if the provider can offer complete WebRTC leak protection. In this case, a free trial is really useful since it allows you to thoroughly verify the connections to ensure that there are no leaks.

For Firefox:

  • In the URL bar, type "about:config."

  • After pressing Enter, choose "I accept the risk." Don't be alarmed by the warning.

  • Now, in the Search field, type "media.peerconnection.enabled."

  • Look for the "Preference Name" tab in the Search box.

  • To alter the value to "false," double-click the displayed item.

  • If you're a CactusVPN subscriber, you can effortlessly deactivate WebRTC using our Firefox plugin.