Last week, Opera added a VPN to the dev version of its browser, which was certainly good news. The bad news is that unlike the more robust VPNs it tries to replace, it leaks data that should be encrypted all over the place, namely your private IP address. Here’s how to fix it.
Reader Jeff Baines emailed shortly after our story to let me know that he’d tested Opera’s new VPN, and sure enough, discovered that it does leak your private IP address even when you have the VPN running and you’re connected to one of Opera’s exit servers. You can check for yourself over at Roseler’s WebRTC IP leak tester, which we mentioned the last time we discussed how to check if your VPN is leaking your IP.
Sure enough, once the VPN is enabled, you’ll see Opera’s IP address in the browser, but the WebRTC leak test will reveal your actual, ISP-provided IP address. (Seen in the image at the top of this post.)
Luckily the solution is just as simple: Install the WebRTC Leak Prevent add-on for Opera. Enable it, restart your browser and try the test again. Your local IP address is blocked now, but your private, ISP-provided IP is still leaked.
To fix that, head into the add-on’s preferences, and click the drop-down at the top and choose “Disable non-proxied UDP (force proxy).” Then check the box that says “Prevent WebRTC from using non-proxied UDP.” Try the test again, and you’ll see now that the leak test won’t report ANY IP addresses from you, since WebRTC is being blocked. The end result is you’ll see something like the screenshot below:
This is probably the reason many of you reported that using Opera’s VPN doesn’t get you around content blocks like Netflix’s. Of course, this isn’t Opera’s fault entirely — most web browsers will leak your private IP via WebRTC when a STUN request is made, including Chrome and Firefox. Either way, the add-on is a simple fix that will improve your privacy, and one that — if you’re going to try Opera’s new built-in VPN — you should make sure you do as soon as possible.
Thanks to Jeff Baines for sending in the tip!