Researcher: Existing connections in iOS 15.5 bypass VPN tunnel

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Security researcher Michael Horowitz claims that iOS 15.5 does not close existing data connections when using a VPN service. This makes it possible to view a user’s IP address without expecting it.

Security researcher Michael Horowitz has been checked which data is sent by an iPad with iPadOS 15.4.1 after the VPN functionality is activated on the device. He called on the VPN app from ProtonVPN with version number 3.1.3 and saw through logging that the operating system continued to connect to Apple’s servers outside the VPN tunnel. Some of iOS 15.4.1’s outgoing requests went to Apple servers that run FaceTime and Game Center, even though the guy wasn’t using those services at the time.

Shortly after his first test, Horowitz checked to see if he could get the same results with iPadOS15.5. This time he did use an app from another VPN provider, OVPN with app version 0.5.0. After setting up the VPN connection, the man saw that there were again a lot of outgoing requests that again went outside the VPN tunnel. These requests went to the servers of Apple and Amazon Web Services, among others.

It is not the first time that Apple has been in the news for problems with the VPN functionality in iOS. After all, in 2020, ProtonVPN warned of the same problem that Horowitz encountered. Then it was about iOS 13.3.1 and version 13.4. ProtonVPN then warned that users’ IP addresses could be viewed despite using a VPN because some existing connections could persist for hours outside the VPN tunnel. The company then suggested toggling airplane mode on and off after setting up the vpn. According to ProtonVPN, this was supposed to help close existing connections.

Active sessions on Michael Horowitz’s iPad after VPN service was activated

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