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How You Can Check if Sites Use WebRTC

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How to Check if Sites Use WebRTC

One of the new technologies which is, on one hand, quite useful but, on the other, causes privacy issues, is WebRTC.

The RTC part of the WebRTC, stands for Real-Time Communications. It is a set of APIs which all of the major web browsers support. The primary use of WebRTC is for the integration of better communication capabilities in the browser where, services and websites utilize for video or voice chat, as well as other communication forms.

Chrome, Firefox and other web browsers enable WebRTC by default. Services and websites might use it without any user interaction. One of the issues that one would experience with WebRTC is that from a privacy perspective. Through WebRTC, the browser might leak the real IP address of the device which one uses to navigate. As there is no permission prompts with WebRTC, sites might do so without even letting the users know about such a thing.

Users that connect to Tor, Socks proxy, or VPN, might be at risk of having the IP address of their device leaked automatically. It is due to this reason that a huge privacy concern had been ignored by browser makers for the most part. Only some of the browsers actually include an option to have WebRTC IP leaks blocked. Vivaldi is one of the browsers that provide such an option, and Firefox allows WebRTC to be disabled entirely by users. However, most of the users do not know about the issue.

Check Whether Sites Use WebRTC

Load - chrome://webrtc-internals/ - in your browser's address bar if you use Google Chrome or any of the Chromium-based browsers like Vivaldi or Opera in order to have all the WebRTC connections listed.

Mozilla Firefox users on the other hand would need to load - about:WebRTC - on the address bar of their browser so as to have the WebRTC connections displayed. The site address would be listed on Firefox under Session Statistics. The fact is that a WebRTC connection that is listed by the browser doesn’t always mean that the IP address had been leaked with respect to the device used.

If one has configured their browser to block WebRTC leaks, or in case the VPN software allows users to block WebRTC IP leaks automatically, the IP address leaks would not happen. The internal pages might be used to find out whether the site uses or abuses WebRTC. Although, one would expect that WebRTC is used on sites that offer communication apps and services, you would think hard to find a reason why news websites would want to do the same!

Conclusion

The truth is that browsers should NEVER implement such features which give rise the data leaks like IP addresses without first asking the user for permission. For instance, is the Mozilla browser (Firefox), that offers a higher standard to users as compared to others when it comes to privacy. One thing that could be puzzling about Firefox is that it does not display the permission prompts before the connections of WebRTC have been established.