VPNs are designed to conceal your true IP address. However, in some instances, your IP address may be leaked. This article discusses why IP breaches happen & what you’ll do to prevent them.
By definition, an IP leak occurs when your true IP address must be concealed and is therefore not. IP leakage is inextricably linked to VPNs, which mask your actual Internet address and assign it to the VPN service with that you are associated.
VPNs can modify the DNS settings, often within their DNS servers, preventing third parties from obtaining your web history via DNS requests. With these safeguards in place, you become more difficult to identify, locate, and track when connected to a VPN, enhancing your online anonymity. That is essentially the reason for a VPN’s existence.
As stated previously, this is how things are meant to work. However, occasionally, things go wrong and your original IP address or the IP address of your DNS server(s) is revealed despite the VPN server’s connection. When this occurs, you have IP address leakage.
However, keep in mind that if you’re utilizing a high-quality VPN service, you should not encounter any IP leaks. While we offer some remedies to IP leaks in this piece, we would propose switching providers as a long-term solution and using the tips provided here as a stop-gap measure until you do.
How To Conduct An IP Leak Test
It’s simple to check for IP leaks. Simply connect to your VPN and navigate to an IP leak website. Browserleaks.com or ipleak.net are popular choices. Additionally, there are others.
Compare the results from these sites with and without the VPN connected. If any of the IP addresses displayed before and after connecting to the VPN are identical, then you leak.
Either of these sites will display a list of your discovered IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, as well as DNS and WebRTC addresses If any of the other services reflect actual Internet service IPv6, DNS, IPv4, or WebRTC IP address rather than their Network alternatives, they have quite an IP address leakage. Then there are the leaks. We’ll begin with IPv6 leaks.
Leaks of IPv6
Today, an overwhelming number of web users continue to utilize IPv4 addresses exclusively. Because the majority of VPN companies do not currently offer IPv6, the most likely situation is that your IPv6 address leaks and compromises your masked IPv4 address.
If your IPv4 address is leaked while connected to a VPN, the connection has most likely failed. That is, unless your VPN is completely inactive, which seems improbable — but you never know.
IPv6 leaks occur when a VPN provider fails to perform one of the following two tasks:
- Complete IPv6 support and tunneling of all IPv6 traffic through the VPN.
- Restrict IPv6 communication entirely there at the root level.
Avoiding IPv6 intrusions
- Choose to use a VPN provider that either strongly supports or transmits IPv6 communication.
- Should choose a VPN connection that provides a client app with IPv6 leak detection.
- Configure IPv6 properly on your system.
DNS stands for domain name system and the domain name system is what allows you to visit websites by name rather than by IP address. So that when you enter the website address in the browser, a connection will be first established to a Name server to transform website.com into an IP address, and then you’re sent off to the website.
So, even if you’re using a VPN, someone can still look into your DNS records and see everything you’ve done on the internet. To keep your online activities secure, a good virtual private network (VPN) will substitute your original DNS servers with its own, in-tunnel DNS servers.
DNS leaks can happen for many causes. But it usually comes down to:
- A badly constructed native VPN client program that fails to route DNS requests properly.
- A poorly developed native VPN client software that fails to account for IPv6 DNS servers, creating an IPv6 DNS leak.
- A DNS misconfiguration in a third-party client program.
- A device operating platform failed to relay the DNS queries through to the VPN.
- A VPN uses the method of standard DNS servers rather than their own
Preventing DNS leaks
Choose a VPN service that supports DNS leak protection.
- Check your VPN with our DNS Leak Test.
- If you’re experiencing an IPv6 DNS leak alone, disable IPv6 manually on your system.
- Modify the DNS settings manually on the PC to the VPN’s DNS servers. That won’t technically fix the breach directly, however, users start leaking DNS to your VPN provider instead of your ISP. Your DNS requests will be answered by your VPN provider’s in-tunnel DNS servers.
WebRTC is an HTML5 framework that permits audio and video communication from a web browser. Almost all modern browsers now support WebRTC, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Safari, and Brave. WebRTC enables online apps to initiate peer-to-peer connections using nothing more than a stock web browser.
The difficulty with WebRTC is that even if you’re connected to a VPN when you visit a WebRTC-enabled website, it can interact with your device and transmit data outside of the VPN tunnel. That interaction will reveal your real IP address to the website in issue, undermining the privacy improvements of the VPN.
WebRTC leaks can arise when:
- A poorly-developed VPN client software fails to mitigate WebRTC leakage on IPv4 or IPv6.
Mitigating WebRTC Leaks
- Use a VPN service that mitigates WebRTC leaks.
- Disable WebRTC manually in your browser.
VPN Disconnects & Network Interruptions
There are other instances in which your IP address may leak: if your VPN connection abruptly drops or you experience a network interruption, which causes your VPN to start leaking or to disconnect altogether.
As opposed to the other explanations for IP leaks listed above, the breaches detailed here are transient rather than chronic. And that’s because disconnect and disruption leaks are triggered by an external event.
They can particularly harm users who download over VPN. Obtaining huge files can take a lot of time. Therefore, numerous torrent lovers leave the laptop alone as they seek for the download(s) to conclude.
When a VPN failure was ever to strike while the computer is unoccupied, you might be revealing your IP address for hours as your traffic travels through your ISP connection.
They can also affect mobile users that switch between WiFi and cell data while connected to a VPN. Your VPN may disconnect during the changeover, exposing your true IP until the connection is repaired.
Or the changeover may provoke a network breakdown, and your VPN software may start leaking data. It only takes a few seconds to violate your privacy online.
VPN connections, like any other network connection, are sensitive to network interruptions and can fail. A correctly constructed kill switch may help you in case of an outright disconnect. But your VPN connection won’t necessarily disconnect after a network disturbance; it may simply wind up in a misconfigured condition and start leaking data – a kill switch won’t assist you in that circumstance.
So a disconnect leak is easier to monitor than just a networking interruption leakage since a kill switch will protect you. But for disruption leaks, there isn’t much you can do. The only thing we would recommend is to monitor your VPN connection for leaks regularly.
It shouldn’t take you long to figure out whether your VPN provider is routinely leaking data. If that’s the case, switch provider.
Offsetting VPN Disconnection & Network Outage Issues
- Choose to have a VPN service that has a constructed kill switch inside its client app.
- If you have any networking abilities and if you’ve had an outgoing firewall installed on your machine, you can make your kill switch manually.
It won’t delve into specifics as the exact approach depends on the firewall you’ve set up. But simply, you need to implement one firewall rule that stops all outgoing traffic on your ISP gateway. Then add another rule that enables traffic out your VPN gateway.
The advantage of this strategy is that even if your VPN client fully breaks, your kill switch will stay intact.
- Regularly test your VPN connection for leaks and switch providers if it routinely leaks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if my IP address is compromised?
Your IP address is required for sending and receiving data over the Internet. However, if a hacker obtains your IP address, they can use it to obtain extremely sensitive information, such as your location and online identity. Criminals can leverage your IP address to perpetrate a variety of cyberattacks and scams on you and others.
How can I prevent IP leakage?
Using a VPN server is one of the most popular methods of avoiding a DNS leak. Virtual Private Network services enable you to establish a secure connection between your computer and the Internet. This allows you to connect to the VPN server and then browse anonymously without disclosing your origin IP address.
Is an IP leak a bad thing?
Due to the fact that IPv4 addresses are the most often used protocols, an IPv4 leak indicates that your VPN is unable to establish a connection. Although these are the least common kind of leaks we experience, if you stumble through an IPv4 breach, then advise shifting servers or switching to a more reputable provider.
How do I determine if my IP address is being leaked?
How to do a leak check. Open your browser and navigate google and search for websites that show your real IP address to you, where you can record your IP address. Log into your VPN, select a remote server, and check back to ensure that you are connected. Return to website to check your ip address and take another note.