Tutorials

How to disable WebRTC on your browser – Firefox and Chrome

WebRTC has been around for over a decade and it has become a default feature in many web browsers. Although it can be useful when it comes to streaming and other tasks, WebRTC posses some risks to privacy. This is why many people would prefer to disable it. Today, we will take a look at some of the methods that you can follow to disable WebRTC.

More about WebRTC

The reason why WebRTC has been implemented in popular browsers is that it provides real-time communication within the browser. In fact, the name WebRTC comes from Web Real-Time Communication. This means that it supports voice calls, video chats, as well as P2P file-sharing and you won’t need an additional plugin or browser extension. WebRTC features multiple plugin-free APIs that can be used in both desktop and mobile browsers. Its flexibility has allowed it to become part of most browsers available nowadays. Before WebRTC, this performance could only be achieved with extensions and third-party plugins.

How does WebRTC work?

WebRTC is a media engine with Javascript on it. If you point you direct your browser to a URL and someone else points their browser to that URL, you both will have the possibility of seeing each other while you are on different browsers, thanks to WebRTC. A web application generates two elements: client and server. The first is a browser that would connect to the server and demands HTTP requests. The server is designed to deliver responses. WebSockets is a technology that works in a similar way. The browser is in charge of transmitting the message to the server and from there, it is sent to the intended recipient. When a browser includes WebRTC, the message could be delivered directly from one browser to the other, without a server in the middle, but this connection is developed after a short process of signaling that allows the browsers to identify each other. Thanks to this, WebRTC has gained recognition as an effective P2P solution.

Why is WebRTC vulnerable to attacks

The advantage of WebRTC when it comes to data transfer, is also its main downside in terms of privacy. Even if you are using a VPN service, WebRTC could put your information at risk. The issue with WebRTC is that it can allow website owners to see your real IP address. It has to be mentioned that this issue affects Windows users, while Linux and macOS users won’t need to address this security flaw. The good news is that many VPNs offer protection against WebRTC leaks and it is also possible to disable it on browsers that include it by default.

WebRTC allows the request to STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) servers, which exposes your public IP address and even if you have a VPN in place ( at least one that doesn’t feature WebRTC protection), your real IP will be compromised. The best solution is to disable WebRTC in your browser. Check the below steps to disable WebRTC. If for some reason, you can’t disable WebRTC following the instructions that we mention here, you can use third-party add-ons as an alternative. You can also look for a VPN service that includes anti-WebRTC leaks protection as part of its features. Some of the best VPN services that include protection against the security vulnerabilties of WebRTC are SurfShark and Hidester. These are secure, fast solutions that will allow you to keep your privacy and enjoy online online freedom while you are browsing.

First, let’s test if WebRTC is enabled

We need to start by checking if WebRTC is enabled or not. There are many ways to test this, but the best solution is to use a WebRTC leak test tool that will allow you to check and disable WebRTC in your browser. After that, you can follow the steps below, according to your browser.

How to disable WebRTC in Firefox

By making some changes in your browser’s settings, you will be able to prevent the security risks associated to WebRTC. You just need to disable WebRTC so that you can browse the internet, without fearing that your IP address and information become exposed. Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Go to the URL bar at the homepage and enter: “About:config” and then press Enter
  2. You will see a warning message, where you will be asked to accept the risk. This is a warning that appears at the bottom of the page
  3. Under the URL box, you will see a search space. There you can type: “peerconnection.enabled“ and then click twice on the preference name to change the value to false.
  4. That is all, now you will be able to browse the internet using your Mozilla Firefox browser safely.

How to disable WebRTC in Chrome

Let’s start by saying that desktop users won’t be able to disable WebRTC in Chrome browser by changing the privacy settings. The only option is to get a Chrome extension in this case. To be able to disable WebRTC and avoid leaks on Chrome and Chromium-based browsers, you will need to get an extension such as WebRTC Leak Prevent.

If you have a mobile device, you can open the Chrome app and enter this URL: chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc
You will see an option in the list that says “WebRTC STUN origin header”. You can disable this. To take security further, you can disable WebRTC Hardware Video Encoding/Decoding as well.

Checking if there are WebRTC Leaks

Even after disabling WebRTC, you may be concerned about possible leaks. To confirm that there is nothing to worry about, you can go to a website like http://ipleak.net. You can test this, even if you are using a VPN or even after disabling WebRTC from browser settings. If your real IP address is shown and you are using a VPN, it means that your browser is still at risk.

Renee Biana

VPN Pick brings you all the latest vpn news, reviews and discounts.

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