In the quest for total online privacy and internet data security, one of the most recommended practices is in using a quality VPN service. This is valid for more reasons than one. Given the way these pieces of software allow you surf the net anonymously, access geo-blocked content and so much more, you are put in a place where you can do everything you ever wanted to without the fear of Big Brother looming over you. Like every other security model though, this too can fail. When this failure happens, a Domain Name System (DNS) leak follows.
What is a DNS leak?
Upon connecting to a VPN, the internet data goes through a variety of channels. Each and every channel has an important role to play in the protection of user privacy. These channels are the:
- Entry node: Where the user connects to the internet. At this point, the user’s data is also encrypted by encapsulating it in secure packets.
- Middle node: These are the transmission lines which a VPN offers the user based on what server they are connected to. It can also be seen as the transit point for the data.
- Exit node: Refers to the final destination (i.e. target server). The encapsulated data gets revealed at this point only, ensuring no one could have intercepted it in transit.
Due to personal user configurations though, internet data might be sent on insecure links rather than through the VPN’s operational model. This problem is what is referred to, technically, as a DNS leak.
Problems Caused by DNS Leaks
The biggest reason for using a VPN is to beef up your internet security. Beyond that, you could also be using the piece of software to access content not originally available in your region.
Likewise, the VPNs help you keep a secure connection when transmitting sensitive information on the internet. Going by these, the biggest DNS leak problems are too grave to consider.
All the data you have been trying to protect from hackers will now be at their beck and call. Transmitting on unsecure servers also leaves you at a risk of exposing your anonymity online. Information from the DNS leak can be used to associate an IP address with you, thus, exposing your identity.
That is not to mention the fact that you would be caught under any geo-blocks you might have been trying to escape in the first place.
In short, all your reasons for using the VPN would have gone down the drain!
Checking for DNS Leaks
You won’t always get a notification when you’re transmitting on insecure servers. Thus, it is important that you stay ahead of the game by making sure your connection is secure at all times.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go through hoops and hurdles to know the status of your DNS. In fact, you can check to see if you are experiencing DNS leaks with a variety of online tools, and for free too.
Fixing DNS Leaks
Windows devices are the most prone to DNS leaks. You can easily plug this leak by switching the server you are on from DHCP to static DNS. If you don’t know which DNS server to use, we recommend looking through the Open NIC Project for some ideas.
In all, make sure your DNS server is different from the home router’s server and you should have a fix for the problem.
Looking inwards is yet another solid fix. Good VPN software come with added functionality to help you address DNS leak problems. If you can’t find this feature on your own, you might want to get in touch with the customer support personnel in charge of the software.