VPNs are widely used not only to access high-quality entertainment. They also protect the privacy of users, especially in this age when hacking, online fraud, and identity theft have become rampant. People would not want to find out one day that they have been suddenly married to some person, or that their identity was used by someone else to amass thousands of credit card debts.
In the succeeding sections, you will learn how to detect and avoid such WebRTC IP leak on the Opera browser.
What is WebRTC and how does it work
Whenever you use your browser to communicate with someone via audio or video call, your browser needs to know the other person’s IP address (and vice versa). In the past, you need a plug-in to do this, so most people opted to use Skype and other VOIP apps.
However, WebRTC changed the game—it allowed for direct and real-time communication between browsers by combining several protocols into an API. Most notable of these were the STUN and TURN protocols which enabled browsers to know the IP address of the other browser that it’s communicating with.
With WebRTC, there’s no more need for a browser plug-in, or a separate app, for people to communicate through browsers. To learn more about the basics of WebRTC, check out this video from Express VPN.
However, with the STUN/TURN protocol, experts discovered that WebRTC could be exploited by people with malicious intent, as the real IP address of
This ‘bug’ has been called the WebRTC IP leak. Since almost all web browsers support WebRTC, the bug has become a global problem.
— The Hacker News (@TheHackersNews) February 3, 2015
As one of the first browsers to support WebRTC, Opera is vulnerable to IP leaks, especially when you use the browser’s built-in
How to disable WebRTC Opera
Opera doesn’t have a built-in way to disable WebRTC. This is true for most browsers, except Chrome for Android. You need to add an extension to turn off WebRTC on Opera. Here is how you do it:
- Click on the Opera logo located at the upper left-hand corner of the browser. Go to Extensions > Get Extensions.
- On the search bar, type in WebRTC to call all WebRTC extensions.
- We recommend the WebRTC Leak Prevent extension. Click on it to open the details page. Click on the Add to Opera button, and wait as the extension is being installed.
- Do the WebRTC leak test again.
Notice that although the local IP address is no longer leaked, the public IP address is still shown. Note that this public IP address can still be traced back to you, so this situation is not ideal.
If after adding the WebRTC Leak Prevent extension, your IP is still leaking (as in our case above), do the following:
- Go to the Extensions page by pressing Ctrl+ Shift+E.
- Look for the WebRTC Leak Prevent extensions, and click on Options.
- On the IP handling policy dropdown, select “Disable non-proxied UDP (force proxy).”
- Do the leak test again. This time, both the local and public IP addresses are not shown.
I chose the WebRTC Leak Prevent extension because it had the highest rating with the most number of reviews. For comparison, the WebRTC Control extension has more reviews, but it has a lower rating. You may try other extensions available on Opera, just make sure that you do a WebRTC Opera IP address leak test after you add one.
VPN tests you can do
WebRTC isn’t the first technology that has affected
— Silensec (@Silensec) March 28, 2018
For now, all that you can do as a