How do you know whether your VPN is doing its job? You may think your VPN is working even while it leaks your identity and location. Leaks can be hard to spot, so use these tips to see if your VPN is really protecting you.
There are many reasons why your VPN might not be providing 100% security and exposing your private information. Here are the most common ways that your VPN could be leaking:
Your IP address says a lot about you, like your location or the websites you visit. A VPN protects you from snoopers trying to access this information, so if your original IP leaks it defeats the purpose of using a VPN. This usually happens due to two internet protocols, IPv4 and IPv6 and their incompatibility.
Sometimes your IP might stay hidden while your DNS address secretly reveals your location. The DNS server changes plain text URLs into numerical IP addresses. If you’re not using a VPN, this process is handled by your ISP and their servers, which can see who visited what websites. If your DNS leaks, then anyone snooping on your traffic will be able to access this information too. It could even lead to a DNS hijacking attack.
Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is built into most popular browsers (i.e., Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Brave). It enables real-time communications such as voice and video chat, but it also presents another vulnerability for VPN users.
Some websites can take advantage of WebRTC by inserting a few lines of code to see past your VPN and discover your original IP. This is very useful for websites that provide or block content based on your geo-location.
It’s possible to prevent these leaks, but first, you have to identify them. You can do so by running some basic tests that anyone can do.
The easiest way is to change your VPN provider to one that has dedicated DNS Servers or offers DNS leak protection, like NordVPN. Or you could manually turn IPv6 off on your device. However, this might require some technical know-how.
This time, changing your VPN or tinkering with your settings won’t help. However, you can:
However, checking for various leaks might not be enough. There are other reasons why it might seem that your VPN isn’t working, for example:
If your VPN connection dropped and activated your system-level kill switch, you will not be able to access the internet until you connect back to a VPN server.
Protect yourself from IP and DNS leaks with a reliable VPN – NordVPN.