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How to Prevent DNS Leaks When Using a VPN

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How to Prevent DNS Leaks When Using a VPN

Using a VPN is the easiest way to stay anonymous online. It takes just a few simple clicks and some information to mask your location from any site that you visit. A DNS leak can entirely void the purpose of a VPN. A domain name system (DNS) is a system that links URLs and IP addresses. When browsing a website, it sends a request to a DNS server containing the URL that is visited, and it points to the right IP address.

When you use a VPN (virtual private network), the request is sent to an anonymous DNS server through the VPN and not directly through the browser, making sure that the ISP is not monitoring the connection. Sometimes browsers will ignore the use of a VPN and will send the DNS request right to the ISP. This is called a DNS leak and will lead someone to believe that they are staying anonymous when in reality they are not. This is how to keep that from happening.

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Diagnose the Leak

When a computer is using the default settings and is not routing DNS applications by means of the VPN’s DNS server, this will not be obvious. It will be necessary to perform a leak test. You can visit cryptoip.info for the test. After the test is run, you will know your DNS leak status and can continue on appropriately.

Change DNS Servers

The default DNS server is more than likely the one that the ISP assigned, and one of the easiest ways to make sure that the ISP is not seeing your online activity is to change your DNS server. Even if leaks are not a huge concern to you, this might still be a good idea because it can result in faster internet speeds while stopping a DNS leak as well. There are DNS servers that exist that will provide you with great security and performance, and are well-maintained to prevent DNS leaks.

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Use VPN with DNS Leak Protection

A number of VPNs come with a property that can allow for monitoring your DNS requests to make sure that they are going through the VPN rather than directly to the ISP (this is what causes the DNS leaks). To see if a VPN has this, open the settings and there should be an option that checks for and prevents DNS leaks.

Use VPN Monitoring Software

Some software that monitors VPNs will also include support in the event of a DNS leak. This might only be available in the premium version of some software, but some VPN monitoring software does include a monitoring option for those that are concerned about a DNS leak or online security hacking.

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Disable Teredo

This is a Windows-based technology that will allow for communication across two IP protocols, but sometimes this software will cause DNS leaks, so it would be wise to disable it if there is worry for the leaks. To deactivate Teredo, you will need to open up the command space and enter this in: “netsh interface teredo set state disabled” (no quotation marks). If the times comes to enable Teredo again at some point, type in the following command: “netsh interface teredo set state type=default” (no quotation marks).

Some people that use a VPN are under the impression that their information has become totally secure, when in reality there may be leaks for one reason or another. For those who are concerned about their private information being sent to their ISP through a DNS leak, it is vital to perform all of the necessary tasks to stop and prevent leaks from happening when using a VPN.

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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