Warning – 3 Popular VPN Services Are Leaking Your IP Address

Researchers found critical vulnerabilities in three popular VPN services that could leak users’ real IP addresses and other sensitive data.

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a great way to protect your daily online activities that work by encrypting your data and boosting security, as well as useful to obscure your actual IP address.

While some choose VPN services for online anonymity and data security, one primary reason many people use VPN is to hide their real IP addresses to bypass online censorship and access websites that are blocked by their ISPs.

But what if when the VPN you thought is protecting your privacy is leaking your sensitive data and real location?

A team of three ethical hackers hired by privacy advocate firm VPN Mentor revealed that three popular VPN service providers—HotSpot Shield, PureVPN, and Zenmate—with millions of customers worldwide were found vulnerable to flaws that could compromise user's privacy.

PureVPN is the same company who lied to have a 'no log' policy, but a few months ago helped the FBI with logs that lead to the arrest of a Massachusetts man in a cyberstalking case.

After a series of privacy tests on the three VPN services, the team found that all three VPN services are leaking their users' real IP addresses, which can be used to identify individual users and their actual location.

VPN Mentor said the issues discovered in ZenMate VPN were less severe than HotSpot Shield and PureVPN, while the problems in ZenMate and PureVPN have not been disclosed since they haven't yet patched or responded to VPN Mentor's report.

The team found three separate vulnerabilities in AnchorFree's HotSpot Shield, which have now been fixed by the company. Here's the list:
  • Hijack all traffic (CVE-2018-7879) — This vulnerability resided in Hotspot Shield’s Chrome extension and could have allowed remote hackers to hijack and redirect victim's web traffic to a malicious site.
  • DNS leak (CVE-2018-7878) — DNS leak flaw in Hotspot Shield exposed users’ original IP address to the DNS server, allowing ISPs to monitor and record their online activities.
  • Real IP Address leak (CVE-2018-7880) — This flaw occurred due to poses a privacy threat to users since hackers can track users' real location and the ISP. Researchers found that any domain with localhost, e.g., localhost.foo.bar.com, and ‘type=a1fproxyspeedtest’ in the URL bypass the proxy and leaks real IP address.

It must be noted that all the three vulnerabilities were in the HotSpot Shield's free Chrome plug-in, not on the desktop or smartphone apps.

Source: thehackernews.com
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