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Home / Tips and Tricks / Is your VPN leaky? | PCMag.com

Is your VPN leaky? | PCMag.com

How secure are your private data? You may think that you have a Fort Knox-like attitude, but do not compromise your personal information. It is worth confirming that the virtual private network or VPN, the software you are using, actually does its job or if it allows your personal data to go there and from there without your knowledge.


Most of the time, if you choose one of our best VPN services, you will be well protected, whether it's on a computer or even a smart device (most of the best services offers software over all operating systems). But it never hurts to control. Things are broken, new exploits are found, and there is always a chance that your VPN can leak more data than you prefer. Here are some steps you can take to see if it's true.

Check your IP address

Your home has an IP address, not just a street address. The IP address (Internet Protocol) is the unique number assigned by your ISP to your router. Your internal home network also provides every node in your home computers, phones, consoles, smart devices, anything that is connected to the router, an IP address. But in this case, we are only concerned about your IP address. It is an IP address.

The IP address is how your computers / router is talking to servers on the internet. They actually do not use names ̵

1; like PCMag.com – because computers prefer numbers. IP addresses are usually not only tied to Internet service providers who assign them, but also specific sites. Spectrum or Comcast has a number of IP addresses for a city and another area for another city, etc.

When someone has your IP address, they get much more than just a few numbers: they can limit where you live.

IP addresses are available in multiple formats, either an Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) version as or an IPv6 type that looks like 2001: 0db8: 0012: 0001: 3c5e: 7354: 0000: 5db1 .

Let's keep it simple. Your own IP address to the public is easy to find. Go to Google and type "What is my IP address." Or go to websites such as the Test Browser Privacy Test, IPLocation, WhatIsMyAddress.com or WhatIsMyIP.com. The latter three will show more than the IP; They will also give you the Geo IP address linked to the address.

 Tenta Browser Privacy Test

Take the IP address that comes up and look for it on Google with IP, such as "IP" (sans quotation marks). If it continues to arrive at your location, your VPN has a big messy leak.

Leakage can be caused by what is called the WebRTC error; WebRTC is a collection of standards that look hard to find your IP address, to make things faster when using the internet and services like video chat and streaming. If you have a modern desktop browser, you're likely to get it because the browser all makes it possible for WebRTC to work better. VPNs that work via an extension in a browser turn it off, among other things.

  • : Requires an extension such as WebRTC Network Limiter or WebRTC Leak Prevent, or try WebRTC Control to switch on and off from the toolbar.
  • Edge : You can not fix it properly, but you can completely hide your local IP address by typing "about: flags" and selecting the box next to "Hide my local IP address via WebRTC connections."
  • Safari : That should not be a problem, because Apple's browser does not share the rest.
  • Firefox : type "about: config," click "I accept the risk!" button, type "media.peerconnection.enabled" in the search box, then double-click to change to the value column to say false.
  • Opera : Go to View> View Extras> WebRTC Leakage Prevention> Options. Select to disable it and save the settings.

Check for DNS Leaks

The internet domain name system (DNS) is what makes IP addresses and domain names (like "pcmag.com"). You enter the domain name of a web browser, DNS translates all traffic that is moved back and forth from your web browser to the web server using IP address number, and everyone is happy.

ISPs are part of it-they have DNS servers on their networks to help translate, and it gives them another avenue to accompany you. This video from ExpressVPN spells it out (and explains why a VPN with DNS services on its servers is large).

Using a VPN, the theory means that your internet traffic is redirected to anonymous DNS servers. If your browser just sends the request to your ISP, there is a DNS leak .

There are easy ways to test for leakage, again using websites like Hidester DNS leakage, DNSLeak.com or DNS leakage Test.com. You get results that indicate the IP address and owner of the DNS server you are using. If it is your ISP server you have DNS leakage.

DNSLeak.com gives you a particularly good color-coded result, with "Looks Like Your DNS Can Leak …" In Red, or Green If You Look Done. Hidester gives you a complete list of all DNS servers you can beat. When several correspond to your actual ISP, it better underscores your leakage.

Be aware that there are actually some Google Chrome extensions for specific VPN devices that have been found to have DNS leaks by themselves. In July, TheBestVPN found 8 of 17 tested leaks. The worst of the party seems to be Hola VPN, Touch VPN, Betternet and HoxxVPN. Many who leaked became fixed (like TunnelBear and PureVPN); has not affected any, as does our editorial election VPN.

In fact, TheBestVPN has tested 74 VPN, both free and paid, and found that almost 22 percent had any kind of leakage, ie DNS, WebRTC or something caused by add-ons. Caveat emptor child.

Fix the leaks

If you have a leak, you have a few options. One, change your VPN to one that specifically works to prevent DNS leakage. Among our choices of editors, both private Internet Access VPN and NordVPN choose to be leak-free. (Our third EC, TunnelBear, leaked according to TheBestVPN.com, but fixed it.)

If you like your current VPN too much to swap, you may purchase Guavis VPNCheck Pro for 19.92 USD. It has its own DNS leak fix and monitors your VPN for other problems.

You can also change the DNS servers used by your router when sending requests to the internet. This may be a little complicated because it requires that you enter the settings of your router, but it may be worth it for other reasons. Services such as Google Public DNS, Comodo Secure DNS, or Cisco OpenDNS provide instructions on how to configure them with most routers. The latter has a personal version with various free options, including one that is specifically targeted at family / parental control that blocks questionable sites. You can pay $ 19.95 / year for additional services called OpenDNS Home VIP.

 Cisco OpenDNS

(If you used Norton ConnectSafe, remove it from the ASAP-Symantec router, this service will shut down on November 15, 2018.)

On the top, a DNS update means Your router means that all traffic in your home or office uses the new DNS service and any associated features. It includes phones, tablets, consoles, even smart speakers.

Please note that with these services you pass your DNS traffic to another company. You can instead invest in hardware on the router level to add extra security, but it can be overkill if you do not feel thermal paranoid. At least, on individual computers and handheld devices, get VPN software / apps for added security around.

Plug Other Leaks

Your location is probably something you've connected to your browser at any time. If so, your browser is usually more than willing to share that information with the websites you visit, even if your VPN does not. Check the huge amount of data you can give up by visiting IPLeak.net.

Use an alternate browser to be sure about you, such as Tor Browser. It's about keeping anonymous by bouncing your requests around the world before they land on the web server you want, then back again. It makes it difficult for you to find your local information and slow down things everywhere, but it's a good bet on security.

If you can not think about giving up your current browser, use incognito permission, go to complicated route to configure a fake site or just get a site extension (for Chrome, Opera, or Firefox) to spoof your place of residence.

If you are worried about your web-based email system, switch to ProtonMail. It does not redirect not only messages via the Tor network, it keeps everything encrypted. Proton Technologies also offers ProtonVPN for Mac, Windows, Linux and Android. There is a service for free forever for a device, including DNS leakage protection, while the paid versions support Tor servers and more.

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