How safe is your private data? You may think you have a Fort Knox-like setup, but take no chances with your personal information. It's worth confirming that the virtual private network or VPN software you use actually does its work or that your personal information can go back and forth without your knowledge.
Whenever you choose one of our top VPN services, you're well protected on a PC or even a smart device (most of the best services provide software for all operating systems). But it never hurts to check it. Things are breaking, new exploits are being found, and there's always a chance your VPN will lose more data than you'd like. Here are some steps to find out if this is the case:
Check Your IP Address
Your home has an IP address, not just a street address. The Internet Protocol (IP) address is the unique number that your router assigned from your ISP. Your internal home network will give an IP address to every node in your home-PCs, phones, consoles, smart devices, and all devices connected to the router. In this case, it's just your public IP address.
Computers / routers communicate with servers on the Internet using this IP address. They do not use names like PCMag.com because computers prefer numbers. IP addresses are usually not only tied to the ISPs, but also to specific locations. Spectrum or Comcast have a range of IP addresses for a city and another range for a different city, and so on.
If someone has their IP address, they get much more than a few numbers: they can limit themselves to where they are Life.
IP addresses come in a variety of formats, either an IPv4 version (Internet Protocol version 4) such as 1
Let's just keep it simple. Your own public IP address is easy to find. Go to Google and enter "what is my IP address". Or visit websites like Tenta Browser Privacy Test, IPLocation, WhatIsMyAddress.com or WhatIsMyIP.com. The last three show more than the IP; They also give you the geo IP address associated with the address.
Take the displayed IP address and search it with IP in Google, such as "IP 172.16.254.1" (without the quotation marks). If the location of your city is constantly displayed, your VPN has a big, chaotic leak.
The leak could be caused by the so-called WebRTC error. WebRTC is a collection of standards that seem to find your IP address difficult to speed up Internet usage and services such as video chat and streaming. If you have a modern desktop browser, this is likely because all browsers will make WebRTC work better. VPNs that work via an extension in a browser are disabled, among other things. Or disable WebRTC directly in browsers.
- Chrome : Requires an extension such as WebRTC Network Limiter or WebRTC Leak Prevent, or try turning WebRTC Control on and off in the toolbar.
- Edge : You can not really fix it, but you can completely hide your local IP address by typing "about: flags" and checking the box next to "Hide my local IP address using WebRTC connections." activate. It probably hurts you more with location services than it helps you to protect you.
- Safari : It should not be a problem as Apple's browser does not share the rest.
- Firefox : type "about: config", click "I accept the risk!" Click the button, type "media.peerconnection.enabled" in the search box, and then double-click "False" to go to the "Value" column.
- Opera : Choose View> Show Extensions> WebRTC Leak Prevent> Options. Disable and disable the settings.
Check for DNS leaks
The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) makes IP addresses and domain names (such as "pcmag.com") work. You enter the domain name into a web browser, DNS translates all the traffic going from your browser to the web server, using the IP address numbers, and everyone is satisfied.
ISPs are part of it – they have DNS servers in their networks to help with translation, and this gives them another way to guide you. This video from ExpressVPN explains why a VPN with DNS services is so good on its servers.
Using a VPN means that your Internet traffic is theoretically redirected to anonymous DNS servers. If your browser still sends the request to your ISP only, it is a DNS leak .
There are simple ways to test a leak, again with sites like the Hidester DNS Leak Test, DNSLeak.com or DNS Leak Test.com. You will receive results that tell you the IP address and the owner of the DNS server used. If it is an ISP server, you have a DNS leak.
In particular, DNSLeak.com gives you a nice color-coded result with "Looks like your DNS is leaking …" in red, or green when you seem to be in free space. Hidester gives you a complete list of all DNS servers you can meet. If more than your actual ISP, this underlines your leakage.
Note that there are actually some Google Chrome extensions for certain VPNs that have been found to have their own DNS leaks. By July, TheBestVPN had detected 8 out of 17 leaks tested. The worst seems to be Hola VPN, Touch VPN, Betternet and HoxxVPN. Many who leaked have been fixed (like TunnelBear and PureVPN); did not affect some of them, as did our selection of editorial VPNs.
In fact, TheBestVPN has tested 74 free and paid VPNs and found that nearly 22 percent had some kind of leak, be it DNS, WebRTC or something caused by extensions. Forewarning Children.
Repair the leaks
If you have a leak, you have several options. First, change your VPN into a VPN specifically designed to prevent DNS leaks. With our choices for editors, both the private Internet access VPN and the NordVPN promise to be leak-free. (Our third EC, TunnelBear, had a leak, according to TheBestVPN.com, but was fixed.)
If you like your current VPN too much, you may buy Guavi's VPNCheck Pro for $ 19.92. It has its own DNS Leak Fix and monitors your VPN for other problems.
You can also change the DNS servers your router uses when sending requests to the Internet. This can be a bit complicated as you will be prompted to enter the settings for your router, but this may be worthwhile for other reasons. Services such as Google Public DNS, Comodo Secure DNS or Cisco OpenDNS provide instructions on how to set up with most routers. The latter has a personal version with several free options, even one that is specifically designed for family / parent controls and blocks questionable sites. For additional services called OpenDNS Home VIP, you can pay $ 19.95.
(If you have used Norton ConnectSafe, take it out of your router as soon as possible.) – Symantec will stop the service on November 15, 2018.)
If you Doing a DNS update for your router means that all the traffic in your home or office is using the new DNS service and its additional features. These include phones, tablets, consoles and even smart speakers.
Remember, using these services, you can share your DNS traffic with another company. Instead, you can invest in hardware at the router level for additional security. However, this can be exaggerated if you do not feel downright paranoid. At least you'll get VPN software / apps on individual PCs and handhelds for extra security all around.
Attach Other Leaks
Your location is probably something you've plugged into your browser at some point. In this case, your browser is usually willing to share this information with the websites you visit, even if your VPN does not. Check the huge amount of data you may be giving out by visiting IPLeak.net.
Use an alternate browser if you want to be in your safe location, such as: B. the Tor Browser. It's about keeping you anonymous by getting your requests around the world before they land on the desired web server and then back again. This makes it hard for you to find your local information and can slow things down overall, but it's a good choice for security.
If you can not stop thinking about abandoning your current browser, use incognito mode A complicated way to set up a fake location or an extension like Location Guard (for Chrome, Opera, or Firefox) to fake your whereabouts ,
If you are worried about your web-based e-mail system, switch to ProtonMail. It not only transmits messages over the Tor network, but keeps everything encrypted. Proton Technologies also offers ProtonVPN for Mac, Windows, Linux and Android. There is a service level that is forever free for a device – including DNS leakage protection – while the paid versions support Tor server and more.