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How to Disable WebRTC in Various Browsers?

The benefits of WebRTC in your browser is far outweighed by the danger it poses to your privacy.  It is true that WebRTC can do a great job in terms of allowing high definition audio and video calls, and even peer to peer file sharing directly from the browser. In addition, WebRTC does not take up much of your bandwidth and does not cause latency issues despite the heavy network connections needed for video communication and file sharing.

However, WebRTC also allows requests to STUN servers that return the local and public IP address of the users in javascript. The scariest part is that these WebRTC requests are hidden, as they are made outside the regular XMLHttpRequest route. Therefore, these requests cannot be blocked by AdBlockPlus or any other plugins. In other words, your IP address is visible to anyone who is interested, thereby endangering your privacy.

This is why it is important to disable WebRTC in your browser, and this guide will tell you how to do this in different browsers.

Checking for WebRTC IP Leaks

This IP leak is even more dangerous for users of VPN and proxy services. You use these kinds of services because you want to be protected. You want your privacy to remain secured. But with innovation like WebRTC, your aim is thrown into the air. Your IP address (and your identity) can easily be leaked and tracked.

You can go to websites such as IPLeak and BrowserLeaks to check for IP leaks. However, you can also check for IP leaks by following the steps below:

  1. Get your IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. You can go to WhatIsMyIP for this. Close the website.
  2. Turn on your VPN and connect to a server.
  3. Get your IP address again by going to the same website in number 1. Your IP address should be different now, reflecting the country where your VPN server is located.
  4. If your browser has WebRTC enabled, then your public IPv6 address will still be visible, despite the fact that you are connected to a VPN server.

How to Disable WebRTC in Chrome for Android

The Android version of Chrome has a built-in ability to disable WebRTC. Here are the steps to  disabling WebRTC in Chrome for Android:

  1. Type in chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc in the address bar, and hit Enter.
  2. An option menu will appear. Tap Enable
  3. Restart your phone.

It is important to note though that this method might not work in newer versions of Chrome.

How to Disable WebRTC in Chrome and Opera

You need third-party extensions in order to disable WebRTC in Chrome and Opera because there is no built-in method to do so. These extensions are available from the Chrome store and Opera Add-ons page:

  1. WebRTC Leak Prevent
  2. Easy WebRTC Block
  3. WebRTC Control
  4. uBlock Origin
  5. ScriptSafe
  6. uMatrix

The last two – ScriptSafe and uMatrix – are for the tech-savvy who has the time and knowledge to use these filters. These add-ons work by allowing users to customize and configure only allow website elements and scripts from specific websites or domains only.

The downside is that you could be blocking important elements that can render an otherwise useful website, useless. ScriptSafe and uMatrix also make use of a lot of RAM.

How to Disable WebRTC in Firefox

You can disable WebRTC directly in Firefox, although the browser also has add-ons and third-party extensions that can do the same.

Below are the steps to disable WebRTC in Firefox:

  1. Type in about:config in the address bar, and hit Enter.
  2. A warning will appear on the screen. Click on “I accept the risk!”
  3. In the Search box below the address bar, type in media.peerconnection.enabled.
  4. Double-click on the search result. This will change the Value column to “false.”

Follow the same steps for the mobile version of Firefox. As with Opera and the desktop version of Chrome, advanced users can also opt to use uMatrix.

How to Disable WebRTC in Safari

Apple has announced that WebRTC is enabled for Safari 11 for both iOS and macOS, and so far, there is no known way to disable it. Safari users, however, may take comfort in the fact that the browser is very strict in terms of the details they share to other websites. With this in mind, WebRTC leaks are less probable.

How to Disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge

The bad news is that you cannot completely disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge. However, the good news is that there is a setting that can stop it from leaking your local IP address. Follow the steps below in order to enable this setting:

  1. Type in about:flags and press Enter.
  2. There is an option to hide your local IP address under “WebRTC”, Mark the checkbox to activate it.

Note that only the local IP address can be hidden, which is pretty much useless since you can still be tracked. Thus, it is advisable to just use a more privacy-friendly browser.

Can I Block WebRTC from the Router?

Most people install and enable their VPN directly on the router in order to save time. This way, they won’t have to install the VPN software on each device. Instead, all devices that connect to the network is automatically protected by the VPN.

The question is, can this method work to disable or block WebRTC? Unfortunately, the answer is NO. You really have to disable WebRTC in your browsers.

How to Disable WebRTC in Various Browsers – Conclusion

As more and more people become conscious and protective of their privacy on the internet, organizations are also looking for ways to invade it. They are always on the lookout for developments that allow them to have a peek into the world of internet users, and WebRTC is one of the best examples of this.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to disabling WebRTC in all browsers, the fact that it can still be disabled through different methods should somehow erase our fears. After following the steps for each browser as detailed above, make sure to check again for IP leaks just to make sure.

As internet users, let us then choose out browsers wisely. Let us choose to use safer and more privacy inclined browsers, along with Virtual Private Networks or VPNs for added security.

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