Understanding WebRTC Security: Best Practices and Considerations

9 min read
June 20, 2023

Today, businesses use different communication mechanisms to modernise their digital communications. According to a Forbes Advisor Survey, 16% of workers spend 21 to 25 hours weekly on digital communication platforms. The growing need for advanced digital communication solutions has led businesses to embrace various technologies, including WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication). 

WebRTC is an open-source technology that enables real-time communication and data exchange between web browsers and devices through APIs. By enabling peer-to-peer interaction, WebRTC facilitates bidirectional video, audio, and text communication directly within web pages without native app downloads or plugin installations. 

Table of Contents 

  1. Understanding WebRTC security
  2. WebRTC security concerns
  3. The role of WebRTC encryption in WebRTC security 
  4. Why is application-level security necessary for WebRTC?
  5. WebRTC security best practices to secure WebRTC communications
  6. Enable secure real-time communications with Digital Samba

However, as WebRTC gains popularity, the capability of facilitating embedded audio or video communication within a web browser has given rise to security concerns surrounding this technology. 

Therefore, Implementing robust security measures becomes crucial with the growing threat landscape. 

This article explores WebRTC security, associated security concerns, and how WebRTC encryption can enhance communications.

Understanding WebRTC security

WebRTC provides JavaScript APIs for developers to create P2P communication between web browsers and mobile apps. It enables real-time audio and video communication through web pages without plugins or custom software.

WebRTC security refers to the set of measures and protocols to ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and integrity of communications conducted through the WebRTC protocol. WebRTC communications leverage various security protocols, including end-to-end encryption (E2EE), to secure user connections. 

In the case of unencrypted WebRTC communications, the entire session can become vulnerable, leading to compromised user identity and data theft. Therefore, it is essential to recognise the risks of unauthorised access and data breaches and the significance of encryption, authentication, and access control in WebRTC security. 

Understanding WebRTC Security - Digital Samba

Security considerations that may influence WebRTC security are: 

  • Browser security: Your choice of web browser plays a crucial role in WebRTC security. Ensure your browser is up to date with the most recent security patches and upgrades. To defend against harmful actions, browsers employ security techniques like sandboxing and secure origin policies. 

While browser security doesn't directly secure the WebRTC connection, it contributes to securing the supporting connections and overall user experience. Moreover, DTLS, a standardised protocol embedded in WebRTC-supported browsers, encrypts information across web browsers, email, and VoIP platforms, ensuring secure communication channels.

  • Operating system security: The security of your operating system is another important aspect of WebRTC security. Both desktop and mobile operating systems provide built-in controls to protect end users. Many security protocols in web browsers are also present in operating systems. However, additional security measures may be required when using mobile devices. 

Upgrade your operating system frequently to guarantee you have the most recent security fixes. Protect yourself against malware and illegal access by putting strong security measures in place, such as firewalls and antivirus software

  • WebRTC community security: WebRTC is an open-source tool, which might initially raise concerns regarding its security, as the source code is accessible to the public. However, the open nature of WebRTC enhances its security since professionals worldwide continuously try to test and improve all aspects of WebRTC, including security. 

This leads to rapid discovery and correction of bugs and security flaws, ensuring security issues are swiftly addressed and feedback is provided to improve poorly developed WebRTC applications.

WebRTC Security Concerns

WebRTC leaks are a major security concern in using WebRTC to communicate. They occur when unintentional disclosure of IP addresses happens through web browsers, potentially revealing personally identifiable information such as IP addresses, DNS requests, and IP-based geolocations.

These leaks can compromise user privacy and sometimes expose identities even when anonymisation services are used.

Therefore, discussing potential risks and weaknesses that could jeopardise your sensitive information is important. Let's discuss some of the WebRTC security issues you need to be aware of:

The role of WebRTC encryption in WebRTC security 

WebRTC encryption enables secure data transfer between browsers and apps using WebRTC-enabled connections. Since WebRTC sessions can't be secured using only standard security, incorporating encryption is necessary to tackle the security challenges WebRTC poses. Several data protection standards, such as the GDPR, also mandate the use of encryption for secure data transmission. 

It consists of three necessary WebRTC encryption specifications: Secure Real Time Protocol (SRTP), secure encryption key exchange, and secure WebRTC signalling. Every WebRTC session necessitates the implementation of these encryption protocols, which ensure the encryption of transmitted data, safeguard the encryption keys, and secure the connection to the web server.

These include the following:

WebRTC encryption makes up the protocol layer security of WebRTC-enabled connections. 

Why is application-level security necessary for WebRTC?

Application-level security measures are necessary for WebRTC security to address the unique security requirements of individual applications, provide customised protection against risks, and enforce access control. This requires a comprehensive understanding of how security is managed in WebRTC and a commitment to developing applications that adhere to the same high standards.

Key considerations include securing the signalling channel. By safeguarding the signalling channel, the integrity and confidentiality of communication can be maintained, preventing unauthorised access or tampering.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that media servers, TURN servers, and application servers are protected against WebRTC vulnerabilities that may compromise their security. Regular security assessments, application of patches and updates, and adherence to industry best practices are essential to reduce the risk of threats.

WebRTC security best practices to secure WebRTC communications

WebRTC has become one of the most popular real-time communication protocols due to its high scalability and low latency. However, implementing security measures to protect sensitive information and ensure the integrity of communications is necessary. 

There are various best practices you should adhere to as a company aiming to guarantee the security of your WebRTC communications. Let’s explore them below. 

Enable secure real-time communications with Digital Samba 

Digital Samba Video Communication API helps you integrate live WebRTC video into your products. Our GDPR-compliant EU infrastructure is end-to-end encrypted, ensuring higher security for your WebRTC-based applications. 

Our cloud infrastructure guarantees 99.99% uptime, enabling you to enjoy lag-free real-time communications. Digital Samba WebRTC video API is designed to provide low latency, high availability, and security. Additionally, our platform offers various advanced features, including seamless integration with existing hardware and software, robust user authentication mechanisms, and much more. 


Is WebRTC secure?

WebRTC is generally secure, using encryption and secure protocols for communication.

Can WebRTC be hacked?

Like any technology, WebRTC can be vulnerable to hacking if not properly secured.

Is WebRTC data encrypted?

Yes, WebRTC data is encrypted, ensuring secure peer-to-peer communication.

Does WebRTC use TLS?

WebRTC uses DTLS, a derivative of TLS, for encryption and security.

What are the security vulnerabilities of WebRTC?

Vulnerabilities in WebRTC include potential IP address leaks, especially for VPN users, and the possibility of man-in-the-middle attacks if certificate pinning is not properly implemented.

What is SRTP?
SRTP (Secure Real-time Transport Protocol) is a protocol used in cyber security to provide encryption, message authentication, and integrity for real-time communications, such as VoIP and video conferencing.


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