WebRTC Control – How to disable WebRTC in Firefox and Chrome

disable WebRTC control

The WebRTC is a plugin that allows users to transmit audio and video streaming data in between browsers and mobile applications without the need for intermediary application or server to process the said data. What this means is that audio and video conferences are made possible even on web browsers. This ability has made WebRTC based apps a fierce competitor of Skype, the most downloaded and popular audio and video communication app.

WebRTC is short for Web Real Time Communication and has an open source code. It has gained a lot of popularity since it is being actively promoted by no less than Google. As a matter of fact, all well-known and mostly used browsers support WebRTC – Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera; and by Android-based and iOS mobile applications.

Why is There a Need to Disable WebRTC?

webrtc control

All these things about WebRTC are well and good, so you may be asking why there is a need to disable it.

In order to make audio and video communication possible, browsers need to exchange each user’s local IP addresses. And herein lies the danger: WebRTC reveals your real IP address, which can be a gateway for hackers, scammers, and even the seemingly innocent advertisers.

When users utilize WebRTC, their connection goes directly to the other person’s browser, website, or mobile app, ignoring the user’s network settings. Even when the plugin uses local encryption to keep the communication private and secure, it is still deemed less secure compared to conventional conferencing applications such as Skype. WebRTC makes browsers vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks, thus the need to disable it.

Threat to VPN Users

webrtc control

“I am a VPN user, do I still have to disable WebRTC?” This is the common question of VPN users, and the answer is a big yes. WebRTC can potentially leak your actual IP address to the websites you access because as mentioned before, your network setting will be ignored.

If you are a VPN user and you want to see if your WebRTC is leaking your IP address, follow the steps below:

  1. Connect to the VPN.
  2. Run the WebRTC leak test.
  3. If the tool returns your actual IP address, then there is certainly a leak.

How to Disable WebRTC

Leak or no leak, people find that it is more beneficial to disable WebRTC before it can create any privacy issues.

How to Disable WebRTC in Mozilla Firefox

It makes sense to start with Firefox as it is the only browser that allows users to disable WebRTC directly, without having to install any other plugins.

These are the steps to disable WebRTC if you haven’t been using the technology:

  1. Type in ‘about:config’ in the browser’s address bar and hit enter.
  2. I warning that says “This might void your warranty!” will appear. Click on the checkbox that says “I accept the risk!”
  3. In the about:config page, type in ‘media.peerconnection.enabled‘ on the search bar and press enter.
  4. Right-click on the search result and select Toggle.
  5. Make sure that the Value column is set to False.

If WebRTC is enabled on Firefox because you have been using it and you plan to use it again in the future, installing a plugin makes more sense since switching it on and off will take a long time. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Add-ons page.
  2. In the search box, type in WebRTC Control.
  3. Click on Install.
  4. Activate the plugin. You will know its blocking WebRTC when its icon is blue.

How to Disable WebRTC in Chrome

  1. Go to ‘Customize and Control‘ and scroll down to the ‘More Tools‘ section. Click on ‘Extensions‘.
  2. Scroll down and click on ‘Get more extensions‘.
  3. Go to the Search box in the left corner and type in ‘WebRTC Control‘.
  4. Click “Add to Chrome”.
  5. Click on ‘Add Extension‘.
  6. Activate the plugin.
  7. When the icon of the plugin is blue, WebRTC is blocked.

How to Disable WebRTC in Chrome on Android

  1. Open the browser and type in the following command on the address bar: chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc
  2. Enable the parameter to disable the WebRTC technology.

How to Disable WebRTC in Opera

  1. Go to the Extensions gallery.
  2. In the search box, type in ‘WebRTC Control’.
  3. Click the plugin and click on the ‘Add to Opera’ button.
  4. Activate the plugin.
  5. When the icon of the plugin is blue, WebRTC is blocked.

How to Disable WebRTC in Yandex

  1. Go to the Extensions section of the browser.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and select ‘Yandex Browser extensions catalog’.
  3. In the search box, type in ‘WebRTC Control’.
  4. Install the plugin.
  5. Click the plugin and click on the ‘Add to Yandex Browser’ button.
  6. Click on ‘Add Extension’.
  7. Activate the plugin.
  8. When the icon of the plugin is blue, WebRTC is blocked.

How to Disable WebRTC in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge

The Internet Explorer browser does not support the WebRTC technology, so there’s no need to disable it. Microsoft Edge, on the other hand, supports WebRTC, so follow the steps below to disable it:

  1. Type in about:flags in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Mark the checkbox that says, “Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections”.
  3. Restart the Microsoft Edge browser.

How to Disable WebRTC in Safari on macOS

  1. Go to the Preferences in the Safari browser.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab, and mark the ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’.
  3. In the Develop menu, go to Experimental Features and select the Remove Legacy WebRTC API. This should disable WebRTC in the browser.

How to Disable WebRTC in Safari on iOS

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Click on Safari and scroll down to Advanced.
  3. Click on Experimental Features.
  4. Toggle on the Remove Legacy WebRTC API to disable WebRTC.

Disabling WebRTC in Browsers – The Bottom Line

The WebRTC IP leak vulnerability is a WebRTC issue, and not that of a VPN or any VPN service provider. The best course of action for VPN users is to disable it on their browsers, especially when there’s really no use for it.

Some VPN users might think that this is a hassle, disabling WebRTC. But when privacy and security is an issue for you, which probably is since you are using a VPN, then following just a few steps to disable the WebRTC technology should not be an issue.

It pays to be vigilant and watchful of any innovation that can threaten privacy and security of any user, and WebRTC is an example of this innovation.

 

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and Love in Writing Techie blogs.