Privacy has become a scarce commodity on the web, and the number of cyber attacks has been exponentially surpassing the expectations. With that, ISPs and governments are using multiple surveillance tactics to log our digital footprints. A VPN can be used to avoid online surveillance, which hides your IP address from ISPs.
However, the DNS leak can hinder the VPN service from providing online privacy, how? Let’s see what DNS leaks are and what needs to be done to remove it.
But, if you’re using a VPN, make sure to use the VPN service with the best reviews; your anonymity and privacy will further be safeguarded.
What is a DNS leak?
That’s the kind of question you should be asking since DNS leaks are dangerous for your Internet privacy; the sooner you learn, the better your odds will be prevented.
Here’s how things work:
- Launch your browser.
- Type in “FaceBook.com.”
- When you type in, your ISP DNS servers will store a record in their servers of this activity, and the next time you type in, the server will automatically suggest it.
A DNS server is a telephone directory for all the websites in the world, linking URLs (like www.facebook.com) with IP addresses. When a browser is used to search up a site, a request is sent to the DNS server with the URL that has been typed which is directed towards the authentic IP address.
Multiple times the browser ignores that a VPN service is set in place and delivers the DNS request directly to your ISP. This is called a “DNS leak.” Users will believe their online activities are hidden, but in reality, they are visible to ISPs.
A DNS leak is a security breach between the DNS server and your computing device which affects your online privacy; then all your browsing requests will be sent using unencrypted DNS over the networks.
Causes of a VPN DNS Leak
DNS leak is a major concern over a VPN, why? The leading cause of your VPN leaking DNS is because of the improper manual configuration of the tool on your device. This requires careful consideration and users should opt for a VPN that provides various compatible clients.
Apart from this, the significant factors causing DNS leak include:
- Improper configuration and settings of the network.
- Operating System features that might alter DNS settings.
- Using IPv4 and IPv6 protocol while using a VPN with no IPv6 support.
- If configured DNS manually where it is set not to use DNS servers provided by the VPN provider.
Is your System DNS Leaking? Check DNS Leak
By definition, there are no exact signs users can look for while trying to find if they are a victim of a DNS leak, but there are some simple hints. These steps should be adopted through ‘DNS leak testing’ with free online tools.
- Make sure you are connected to a VPN
- On your web browser type in dnsleaktest.com website
- Select the standard test and wait for the result
- Your system would leak DNS if your screen would show information regarding your ISP
Never rely on a single test for DNS and try to test through other websites and without the help of the free test as well. For that, you should know the Windows command prompt and the IP address. Also, knowing a trusted server is crucial to ping directly.
You can try using the following test servers as well:
Preventing DNS Leaks
Multiple steps can be taken to check DNS leak and ensure it does not occur but to understand them is a complicated task. Let’s reasonably break those steps.
Switch DNS Servers and get a Static IP
Changing DNS servers would be beneficial as it will ensure your ISP doesn’t spy on you. Majority of the VPN servers will provide DNS server details and you can re-route your requests passing a public DNS server provided by OpenDNS, Comodo Secure DNS, and Google Public DNS.
It’s recommended using OpenNIC over Google DNS as Google DNS is not worth the privacy. Here is the break down for all platforms.
- Open the Network and Sharing Center on the Control Panel and change the Adapter settings
- Right click on the screen and select “Properties”
- Scroll on the list and look for ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) choose it and click on Properties
- Click OK and disconnect the connection, wait for a few seconds and connect it back
Configure a VPN to block External Traffic
Having a VPN is a good solution because it has a feature to ignore and block traffic outside the VPN automatically. Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to configure a firewall to remove any traffic that you don’t want.
This is possible by changing the Windows Firewall Settings:
- Connect to a VPN of your choice.
- Open the Network and Sharing Center and confirm if you can see both your ISP connection that will show up as “Network” the VPN should be visible.
- If any of the above are on a different setting, then set them according to the network type
- Keep yourself logged in as ‘Administrator’ and launch the Windows Firewall settings
- Select “Advanced Settings”
- Search for “Inbound Rules” on the left panel and select it.
- Under Actions, on the right pane, an option for “New Rule” will appear. Select it.
- Choose “Program” in a new window and click Next.
- Click on “All Programs”
- Click on “Block the Connection” and move Next.
- Tick “Domain” and “Private” and untick “Public.” Choose Next.
- You will return in the Advanced Settings menu for the Windows Firewall; search “Outbound Rules” and repeat steps 7 all the way till 11.
Incorporate a VPN Monitoring Software
The big names in the VPN industry come with support to fix DNS leaks. Ignore the free versions and opt for the pro version of VPNcheck which will check the DNS leak automatically with the OpenVPN Watchdog. Only the premium paid VPNs will have this option, and many would ignore it due to the price factor. But having a premium VPN connection is essential to secure your DNS issue
Teredo is a Windows Operating System OS technology that allows communicating across IPv4 and IPv6 protocols. Both the protocols are available on the internet and on multiple occasions, you would need Teredo to enable them to establish a communication. Be cautious because at times Teredo leaks DNS as well and you will have to do a DNS safety check and disable it.
To disable it, you need the following commands:
To deactivate Teredo, it’s suggested to open up the command space and copy paste this text: “netsh interface teredo and disable it” (without quotations). While to enable Teredo again at a later date, copy paste the command: “netsh interface teredo set state type=default.”
So far, we have learned how DNS leaks your identity and how using a VPN removes the DNS leaking constraints. DNS can be leaked by multiple factors such as wrongly configuring VPNs leading to IPV6 protocol issues and cyber attacks. Overall the most practiced and best way to solve DNS Leaking is to make use of a renowned VPN provider that has a built-in DNS leak feature to protect your identity even when the connection breaks with the VPN.
Do not fall for cheap or free VPN because their privacy and security are a big question. If nothing works, you can still start off by spoofing your IP address in simple steps and add an extra layer of security online.