If you are one who is looking for secure browsing using a world-class VPN service, then you should know the hard truth about VPN services. According to ‘An Analysis of the Privacy and Security Risks of Android VPN Permission-enabled Apps‘ report, more than 80% of VPN solutions that commits to providing a fully secured and protected environment to their customers failed to keep their promises. We believe it is not a wise man’s decision to believe their promises blindly. We urge all VPN users or buyers to measure the integrity of VPN services before they buy. If you don’t know how to test a VPN leak, we are here to let you know how to test a VPN leak and how to fix a VPN leak in this post.
We hope this post will help you learn about what is VPN, how does a VPN work, why you should use a VPN service, what information your ISP may capture, what is a VPN leak, how to test a VPN leak, and how to fix a VPN leak.
Table of Contents
Introduction to VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that helps connect two different networks or computers together over a private tunnel over a public network like the internet. It allows you to use the internet with enhanced security and privacy, as it encrypts your activity within an encrypted tunnel on the internet and keeps your identity hidden while browsing. This makes it difficult for anyone to track or monitor your online activities, which helps protect your personal data from being exposed to data brokers.
How Does VPN Work?
VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel to a secure server hosted on a different geo-location. It just lets you connect internet from different parts of the world. By default, internet traffic is routed through the Internet Service Provider’s(ISP) server. VPN circumvents this default ISP routing by routing your device’s internet connection through a private secured VPN tunnel to a VPN server located on a different geo-location rather than your internet service provider (ISP).
VPN secures this VPN tunnel using protocols such as OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, etc. These protocols are used to establish a secure connection and to negotiate the encryption keys that will be used to encrypt and decrypt the data that is transmitted through the tunnel.
Upon connecting the VPN tunnel, your device’s public IP will change from your ISPs IP to the VPN server’s IP address. This helps to hide the real location, IP address, and identity from data brokers, hackers, government entities, secret agencies, or other actors.
Why Should You Use a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) has always been found as an essential technology for anyone who wants to hide his identity. Privacy or anonymity are not the only reasons people use VPNs. One may need VPN for privacy, another one may be to remove the geo-restrictions, and another one may need VPN to access the office network to access applications hosted inside the office network from outside the office. In this section, we see the major reasons people use VPNs to fulfill their needs.
- Protect Your Privacy: Privacy and anonymity are the primary reasons to use VPNs. VPN encrypts your internet traffic and hides your real public IP address to ensure your privacy on the public network.
- Bypass Restrictions: Since a VPN allows you to connect to a VPN server hosted in a different geo-location, users will often get a chance to access geo-restricted content, such as streaming services or websites that are blocked in their countries.
- Secure Your Connection: Encryption plays a vital role in strengthening the security of the VPN tunnel. A VPN can help protect you from tracking and hacking by creating a secure tunnel between your device and the internet.
- Increase Online Anonymity: With a VPN, you can hide your location and IP address from websites and services, making it difficult for them to track your online activity.
Overall, using a VPN is one of the best ways to stay safe and secure when browsing the web.
What Information Does Your ISP Capture?
You may think there is nothing to steal about you when you surf the web. This is not real. There are a lot of people who are interested in your data and activities on the web. Your ISP is the gateway for them.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can capture a lot of information about your online activities. This includes data such as your browsing history, search queries, and even the content of your communications if unencrypted. ISPs are able to track this information because they provide the connection between you and the internet. Every time you access a website or send an email, your ISP is able to see that activity and record it. This means that ISPs can build up a detailed picture of what you do online and how often you do it by capturing this information.
- IP address: IP address is one of the basic entities required to communicate on the network. Your router will be assigned a unique IP:port to communicate with the ISP’s router. Your ISP uses this IP address not only to identify your device on the internet but also helps to determine your approximate location too.
- Browser and device information: Your ISP can see a lot of information about your device and application, such as whether you are using a desktop computer or mobile phone to access the internet, what is your device’s operating system and sometimes the version information too, and what web browsers you use to access the internet, such as Chrome or Safari.
- Websites visited: Most of the ISPs can also see the websites you visit, including the specific pages you visit on those sites. Your browsing history.
- Search queries, downloads and uploads: Some ISPs will go further and capture the search queries you type on search engines and the files you download and upload, including the size and type of files.
What is a VPN Leak?
The ideal purpose of having a VPN is to protect and mask the information your ISP computer has about you. VPN Leak refers to a condition when your VPN service fails to provide a secured VPN tunnel and fails to protect the information on the public network, which is not supposed to.
This can occur due to a variety of reasons, including configuration errors, bugs in the VPN software, a lack of proper security measures on the user’s device, or a VPN provider will leak this information due to its profitability.
Types of VPN Leaks
VPN leaks are of many types, but the most common are:
- IP leak: When a user’s IP address is exposed and can be seen by websites and other online services, this result in an IP leak. This can happen if the VPN connection is not properly established or if the user’s device is infected with malware.
- DNS leak: When a user’s DNS requests are sent over the regular internet connection instead of being routed through the VPN tunnel, ISP and other services can track your internet activities. What if this happens over a VPN tunnel? This is what is referred to as a DNS leak.
- WebRTC leak: This occurs when a user’s browser is using the WebRTC protocol, which can reveal the user’s IP address to websites. Some VPNs do not block or protect against this type of leak.
- IPv6 leak: IPv6 is a newer version of the IP protocol. Some VPNs do not support IPv6 or do not properly configure it, which can lead to leaking the IPv6 addresses.
A VPN leak can compromise a user’s privacy and security, making it important to test for and prevent leaks. This can be done by using online VPN leak test tools or by testing the VPN connection manually. In the next section, let’s see how to test a VPN Leak.
What is WebRTC?
WebRTC can also expose a user’s IP address, even when using a VPN, through a technique known as STUN or TURN request. The browser requests a STUN server to obtain the IP address of the device. If the VPN is not configured to block or protect against this type of request, the true IP address will be exposed.
How to Check if VPN is Secured? How to Test a VPN Leak?
There are several ways to test a VPN leak, you can check the manual way upon enabling the VPN session, or there are several online tools available to check if the VPN is secured. You can make use of them. Or, if you want to dive deep to test a VPN leak, there are ways to do so. However, this advanced test would need a lot of technical knowledge with resources. However, let’s limit this post only to basic and online testing.
In the basic test, you are just going to see who to do IP leak, DNS leak, and WebRTC leak tests. There are several online tools available such as ipleak.net, astril.com, vpntesting.com, and dnsleaktest.com, to test a VPN leak. These tools are capable of checking for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks for you.
List of Online VPN Test Tools:
- ipleak.net (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS) – from AirVPN
- ipleak.org (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, DNS) – from VPNArea
- IPX.ac (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, DNS, browser fingerprinting, location data, and more) – from VPN.ac
- test-ipv6.com (IPv4 and IPv6)
- Perfect Privacy Test tools (IPv4 and IPv6, DNS, WebRTC) – from Perfect Privacy
- ExpressVPN leak tests (IPv4, DNS, WebRTC) – from ExpressVPN
- dnsleaktest.com (use extended test to identify DNS leaks)
- BrowserLeaks WebRTC Test
Time needed: 10 minutes
How to Test a VPN Leak?
We are using a proton VPN to demonstrate this VPN leak test. You can try this with your VPN service. There is no difference in the procedure to test the VPN leak. Let’s get started.
- Run the online test tools disconnecting the VPN
Browse any of these tools when VPN is kept disconnected. You should see your public IP address, ISP info, and location details.
- Run this test upon enabling the VPN
If you see the below screenshot, you can see the new IP address belongs to the United States. This means you are connected to the internet through a server located in the United States.
This test clearly shows that the IP address is protected, but this VPN failed in protecting DNS information. This VPN leaks the DNS information. DNS requests and browsing activities could be tracked.
- Perform WebRTC leak test
Some tools may detect WebRTC leaks more efficiently and some may fail to detect them. Try running the WebRTC leak test on different online tools. If you find an IP address in the test result as shone in this picture, you may end up in a WebRTC leak.
How to Fix a VPN Leak? How Do You Protect Your Data From a VPN Leak?
When it comes to protecting your data from VPN Leaks, the first thing you should consider is identifying a good, secured VPN service because VPN is a technology where there is nothing in the hands of a user. Choosing the best VPN service is the best possible solution to fix a VPN leak. On top of that, there are several factors that you should consider are:
- Keep your VPN software updated: Make sure that you have the latest version of the VPN software installed, as new updates may include bug fixes and security patches that address known leaks.
- Enable Kill switch: Keep the ‘Kill switch’ feature enabled. This helps cut off internet access if the VPN connection drops.
- Disable WebRTC: As mentioned, WebRTC can reveal your IP address even if you’re using a VPN. You can disable WebRTC in your browser settings or use browser extensions to block WebRTC requests.
- Check for malware infection: Make sure that your device is not infected by malware and viruses, as these can interfere with the VPN connection and cause leaks.
- Test VPN leaks regularly: This is also important to perform regular VPN leak checks as it helps to protect your data and the integrity of the VPN service.
We hope this post helps you learn.
We hope this post helped you learn about what is VPN, how does a VPN work, why you should use a VPN service, what information your ISP may capture, what is a VPN leak, how to test a VPN leak, and how to fix a VPN leak. Thanks for reading this post. Please share this post and help to secure the digital world. Visit our social media page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, Tumblr, Medium & Instagram, and subscribe to receive updates like this.