Is DuckDuckGo safe and Does it Really Ensure Online Privacy?

Bisma Farrukh

January 20, 2023
Updated on January 20, 2023
Is DuckDuckGo safe and Does it Really Ensure Online Privacy?

Every online action you take today puts your personal information in danger, including simple web searches. Your IP address and browsing history will be recorded every time you utilize search browsing. Various businesses can benefit from this data. Users are identified so that advertisements can be tailored to each individual. Displaying personalized advertisements is how even Google and Facebook generate substantial revenue.

The problem is solved in a completely new way by DuckDuckGo. It claims to be the most private and secure search engine out there. To be sure, DuckDuckGo’s real-world security is the most pressing concern. This article will deepen your understanding of the subject and help you find the truth.

What Is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo, launched in 2008, is one of the best search engines emphasizing users’ right to privacy and security. DuckDuckGo’s primary goal is to provide a private search engine for its customers; hence it does not have as many bells and whistles as Google.

You can trust that DuckDuckGo (https://DuckDuckGo.com) will never sell or give away any information about you or your search activity. While they take several precautions to keep your data secure, one of the most elementary is that they never record your IP address. DuckDuckGo does not store user agent information, only visits websites that are available via the more secure HTTPS protocol, and blocks third-party cookies from reaching your browser.

They offer a standalone mobile browser, add-ons, and plugins for popular browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that force users to use their search engine. Protect your privacy using these browsers by installing extensions and add-ons that alter or restrict certain settings. DuckDuckGo helps keep you safe by disabling privacy-invasive features like Google Chrome’s Topics and FLEDGE monitoring technologies, which secretly build profiles about you and sell your data to third parties.

How Safe is DuckDuckGo?

Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users, it isn’t easy to quantify how many people use the private search engine, browser extension, and mobile app to browse the web anonymously for free.

DuckDuckGo answered over 35 billion search requests in 2018, an increase of 46.4% from 2020. Another indication of DuckDuckGo’s rising popularity is that it is now available as a search engine option in significant browsers like Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and even Google Chrome.

If you’re concerned about maintaining your anonymity online when browsing, you should use DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo’s primary selling point is protecting your privacy throughout web searches. It has gone to great lengths to make its software as transparent as possible, so that end users can judge its quality for themselves.

To demonstrate its dedication to transparency, DuckDuckGo has released several of its extensions’ and apps’ source code on GitHub under the Apache 2.0 License. Large portions of its infrastructure were developed utilizing open-source and free tools (FOSS).

Since everything is open, users know the system can be relied upon. DuckDuckGo does not track your search history or collect any personal data.

In addition, it does not remember your prior inquiries, so each user is like the first. However, turning off auto-suggest is a small price to pay for privacy when using the internet.

How does DuckDuckGo work?

You may be assured that your online privacy will be preserved when using DuckDuckGo, as the company has promised not to log your IP address under any circumstances. Using the HTTPS protocol ensures that the user’s search history and any cookies set by third-party sites remain private. Your searches will always be safe and confidential, whether performed on a mobile phone, laptop, or desktop computer.

Also Read: What can someone do with your IP Address?

Although it’s best known as a search engine, DuckDuckGo also provides several useful apps and browser extensions for the most widely used operating systems and online browsers.

DuckDuckGo Revenue Model

Now you’ll be wondering how does DuckDuckGo make money?

As with any business, DuckDuckGo relies on users’ search terms to generate revenue. Ads on DuckDuckGo’s search page may be contextualized based on your search terms, such as “car tires.” On the other hand, the service won’t recall your previous search for “car tires” when you leave the current page.

They even claim their revenue model proudly on their official website:

If you scroll through their website, in their revenue model guide, they state:

“At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been profitable since 2014 without saving or sharing your search or browsing history when you view our search results or navigate to other websites.”

This shows their confidence in their model and their conviction to maintain user privacy.

Also, DuckDuckGo earns through affiliate codes, meaning that when a user purchases something as a result of a search on DuckDuckGo or through their advertisements, DuckDuckGo receives a commission.

Pros and cons of DuckDuckGo

ProsCons
There will be no tracking of your online activity, and your privacy will be protected.DuckDuckGo’s search results don’t impose associated or “related” page results like Google’s.DuckDuckGo runs ads without tracking you. Search ads are based on your search query. DuckDuckGo’s interface is simple.    DuckDuckGo doesn’t keep your search history or make customized suggestions because it’s private.DuckDuckGo has fewer services than Google and other search engines.

DuckDuckGo and Microsoft’s Controversy

Despite DuckDuckGo’s stellar track record in protecting user privacy, a new incident calls attention to this flaw.

As of 2022, it was discovered that DuckDuckGo wasn’t obstructing trackers on Microsoft’s Bing and LinkedIn. As it turns out, this is all part of an agreement DuckDuckGo signed with Microsoft to streamline their ad provisioning processes.

DuckDuckGo has issued a statement assuring its users that Microsoft cannot use these trackers to identify or track their browsing habits. Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo’s close ties to major technology corporations and advertising are highlighted by the lack of openness surrounding this scenario.

Things You Need to Know About DuckDuckGo

Popularity and Market Share

With only 0.6% of the search engine market, DuckDuckGo hardly threatens industry leaders Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.

Still, it’s hard to deny DDG’s meteoric rise in popularity. Among mobile search engines in the United States in 2021, it trailed only Chrome.

Ads and Revenue Model

DuckDuckG makes money through contextual advertisements. Ads related to footwear will appear in response to a shoe-related query, but they will only follow you when you use the search engine again.

DuckDuckGo receives a commission for any goods purchased from one of its partners after being directed there via an ad or a search.

DuckDuckGo !Bangs

Quickly get search results from other websites with the! Bangs feature of DuckDuckGo.

Do you wish to search for a Lamborghini on the Internet? Enter “!w Lamborghini” to jump to the appropriate section of the Wikipedia Lamborghini article. Buying an iPhone from Amazon? Just enter “!an iPhone” to see related items on Amazon.

The problem is that when you click on one of these sites, you bypass DuckDuckGo’s “privacy zone” and return to being completely exposed.

Acknowledged by Tor

By routing your Internet traffic across a broad range of encrypted servers, Tor effectively conceals your online identity.

Using the search engine while concealed by Tor is simple. Use DuckDuckGo for your searches and Tor for your browsing needs. Tor’s default search engine is DuckDuckGo, so there’s no need to change a thing.

Privacy Concerns

One red flag is that DuckDuckGo is headquartered in the United States. DuckDuckGo can be compelled to pass over their logs by US law authorities. This can be seen as one reason why DuckDuckGo is bad, but DuckDuckGo claims it has nothing to turn over because it is not required to keep any logs.

Secondly, you might be concerned that DuckDuckGo still makes money from you through its advertising and affiliate marketing. DuckDuckGo claims it can make money without tracking its users and does not sell user data to advertisers.

DuckDuckGo with AstrillVPN

Searching on DuckDuckGo is private, but other online dangers, such as governmental spying and online network trackers, are not mitigated.

Your behavior and IP address will still be visible to snoops if you use DuckDuckGo because not all traffic is encrypted. Especially when using public Wi-Fi and perhaps inviting thieves to steal your personal information.

To protect your online privacy from prying eyes, you should use a VPN that provides AES 256-bit encryption to encrypt all your communication and mask your IP address. An anonymous IP address and a secure tunnel between your device and the internet are benefits of using a VPN service like Astrill. This way, even after you leave DuckDuckGo’s “privacy zone,” no one can trace your data or identify you.

With a reliable VPN, you won’t have to worry about the repercussions of a data request from law authorities. Similarly, as DuckDuckGo, Astrill does not maintain user activity logs and has nothing to pass over. DuckDuckGo and AstrillVPN combined provide rock-solid privacy protection.

FAQs

Is DuckDuckGo free?

Yes, DuckDuckGo is 100% free and safe to use. Unlike Google and Yahoo, it is a private search engine that offers privacy and doesn’t track users’ online activities to make money.

Is DuckDuckGo owned by google?

No, DuckDuckGo is an independent search engine. They are the property of Duck Duck Go Inc.

Is DuckDuckGo a VPN?

No, DuckDuckGo is a private browser that does not keep user activity logs. When used with a VPN, it provides excellent anonymity and protects online privacy to the fullest.

Is DuckDuckGo a dark web browser?

DuckDuckGo’s dark web counterpart isn’t a search engine but a secret browsing tool. DuckDuckGo’s leading site is a doorway to the dark web, as it returns results from onion sites and other dark web resources. Neither the anonymous nor the regular versions of DuckDuckGo record your queries.

Is DuckDuckGo an “unfiltered” search engine?

An unfiltered search engine does not exist. When ranking search results, DuckDuckGo does not examine or consider the potential political bias or leanings of websites. Instead, it uses its ranking signals.

Does DuckDuckGo hide your privacy?

Searching on DuckDuckGo is private, but other online dangers, such as governmental spying and social media trackers, are not eliminated. Your behavior and IP address will still be visible to snoops if you use DuckDuckGo because not all traffic is encrypted.

Author: Bisma Farrukh

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