The internet is dark and full of terrors, but so long as you avoid the most dubious parts of it and have a healthy relation with the online world then you’ll be fine and avoid any trouble. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still many menaces out in the open, and one of the best ways to stay protected at all times is to subscribe to a VPN. But since this is an industry that is continuously growing and every company advertises its great service, features, and promotions, it can be hard to know which details to pay attention to when looking for something for protection. With this is mind, here are the biggest VPN vulnerabilities that can leave users open to attack.
DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Leaks
Leaks are serious security flaws that we always pay close attention to in our reviews. When it’s said that a VPN is leaking, this often means that the DNS requests from your connection are sent directly to the ISP’s DNS server instead of through the VPN as they should. This is one of the most common flaws even in some of the most reputable VPNs, and if they happen constantly then your subscription is essentially a complete waste of money. DNS leaks allow ISPs to see through the VPN and detect which websites you visit and find out, for instance, if you’re torrenting. Likewise, digital eavesdroppers are also able to see and intercept your traffic, which is precisely the opposite of what VPNs are used for.
WebRTC leaks rather similar in manner to DNS leaks, with the key difference being that they’re exclusive to web browsers and, fortunately, much less common nowadays. In a summarized explanation, the problem is often not due to the VPN itself but the browser – namely on Window’s versions of Firefox and Chrome. However, more and more VPNs offer protection against this, so it’s important to know the basics in case it does still happen.
Then there are IPv6 leaks that can be a problem too, though they’re the least common of the three. IPv6 is the successor to IPv4, a much bigger and safer form of IP address that will eventually take over the internet – though at this point the online world still relies on IPv4. Most VPNs offer IPv4 leak protection but not many of them are still to provide the same for IPv6 yet. If the IPv6 is targeted on a website and not IPv4 and a VPN doesn’t utilize this feature, then this is known as an IPv6 leak and can be solved by disabling IPv6 communications when using a VPN, which is actually the procedure usually adopted by most providers that offer this protection.
The Strength of Encryption and Exploits
Unless taking advantage of the these leaks, it’s actually very hard to exploit a VPN. Remember that this type of software was made for security purposes and fortunately VPNs are some of best tools for online security. 128-bit encryption is a pretty solid protection but it’s worth opting for the standard these days, 256-bit, which is also the strongest level of encryption in the market, is unbreakable to date, and is even used by the military. Because of this, it’s much easier for attackers to try steal the decryption keys from the VPN servers, but even that is very unlikely since it involves a lot of time and money.
The bottom line is that while VPNs are not perfect and do have known vulnerabilities, it’s still much better to use them than going online unprotected, so long as you choose a trustworthy provider.
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