WebRTC is a feature that became popular in 2008; major browsers have adopted it as a default feature for their users. However, there are concerns regarding privacy that might be compromised. Therefore users are questing ways to disable WebRTC.
This article will get some easy ways to disable WebRTc with greater insights into the technology.
How to Test If Your Webrtc Enable or Disable?
There are many ways to test if your Webrtc enables or is disabled in your browser, but highly recommended to use the webRTC leak test Tool to check and disable WebRTC in your browser quickly.
What is WebRTC?
WebRTC offers real-time communication within the browser; therefore, it’s named “Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC).” It allows the user to voice calls, video chats, and P2P file-sharing without any additional browser extension or plugin.
WebRTC uses various plugin-free APIs that could be used in desktop and mobile browsers. Most popular browsers now use this modern web browser technology. However, such enhanced performance was only possible with external plugins when WebRTC wasn’t there.
Working of WebRTC
Suppose you point your browser to a URL and then get another person to point their browser to that URL. Magically, you both would see each other while being on different browsers, which is just because of WebRTC.
Here we will tell you the working of web browsers in the simplest possible way.
Thinking of a web application would generate two elements, client and server. The browser client would connect to the server and demand HTTP requests. On the other hand, the server is bound to deliver responses. We have been using a similar technology which is WebSockets. Their work is like a post office where the browser transfers a message to the server, and from there, it is transferred to the designated person.
If a browser has a WebRTC feature, the messages could be delivered directly from one browser to the other without a server in between. However, the such linkage is developed after a short signaling process through which the browsers locate each other. This is why it is becoming popular as an efficient peer-to-peer technology.
How Could WebRTC Be Vulnerable?
While this is an innovation to browser efficiency, it could also threaten a user’s privacy even if he is behind a secure element such as a VPN. However, many browsers have it as a default, for which you need to disable WebRTC.
Security experts and researchers have discovered a critical flaw in WebRTC that enables a website owner to view the actual IP address of the user. Such privacy lack was able to insert vulnerability into the Windows operating system; otherwise, Linux and Mac OS X users are safe from such privacy threats and don’t need to disable WebRTC from Firefox and Chrome browsers.
What Makes WebRTC Vulnerable
WebRTC works in a manner that allows the request to STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) servers which delivers the public IP address or “hidden” IP in case of VPN and send the local IP address of the system; a user is using.
The best way to keep such vulnerability away is to disable WebRTC in your Firefox and Chrome browsers.
Disable WebRTC Solutions
- As I have mentioned before, an intelligent solution is to disable WebRTC, for which you have to follow some steps that are explained below.
- Other than this, you could also use browser add-ons and extensions if you could not disable WebRTC for some reason.
- Use a VPN that is safe enough to protect you from WebRTC leaks.
How to Disable WebRTC in Firefox and Chrome
WebRTC is considered to be a flaw in a browser instead of a VPN or your networking systems. Therefore, some alterations to the browser’s setting could help you to disable WebRTC and you can then browse without the hassles and concerns of being exposed.
Disable WebRTC in Firefox
- First, go to the URL bar at the homepage and type “About:config” and hit enter.
- Then you will be presented with a warning message and there you are required to press “I accept the risk” option shown at the bottom.
- Just below the URL box, there is a search space. Type “peerconnection.enabled“ there and double-click the preference name to switch the value to “false”
Finally, you are up to a Firefox browser that is without the WebRTC feature enabled in it.
Disable WebRTC in Chrome
You could not disable WebRTC in the chrome browser on your desktop by changing the privacy settings. Therefore you are just left with the option to download a Chrome extension. If you are a user of Google Chrome or a Chromium-based browser then WebRTC Leak Prevent could be an intelligent choice.
On your Android device, type the URL chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc on the Chrome application. There is an option of “WebRTC STUN origin header” from the appeared list and then disable it. As an additional safety measure, you could also disable the WebRTC Hardware Video Encoding/Decoding option.
How to check your WebRTC Leak
Most probably, a user would remain concerned and confused about the WebRTC leak even if he has disabled WebRTC in his/her browser.
A simple way to check WebRTC leaks is to visit the site http://ipleak.net. Whether you have enabled a VPN or have disabled the WebRTC from browser settings, you must see the results as shown below;
However, if your browser is affected, then you would be shown the results displaying your real IP address.
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About the Author
Zehra Ali is a Tech Reporter and Journalist. She has done her Masters in Mass Communication. Topics related to cybersecurity, IoT, AI, Big Data and other privacy matters are extensively covered by her on various platforms. You can follow her on twitter.More from Zehra Ali
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