DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is not completely private, a security researcher has revealed. The privacy-focused search engine app, for iOS and Android, doesn’t block Microsoft trackers.
The news came to light when security researcher Zach Edwards, who was conducting a security audit of the browser, discovered that the app was blocking trackers from Google and Facebook. He observed that the app did not block Microsoft trackers. Screenshots and messages Edwards posted to Twitter reveal that the app allows trackers to work on Bing and LinkedIn domains. This in turn puts the user’s privacy at risk, as the Redmond company may collect information such as IP address, user agent and other relevant data.
The application includes, among other things, a tracker blocker and a cookie blocker to protect the privacy of users. Description of DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser on App Store and Google Play Store reads as follows,
“Escape Website Tracking – Tracker Radar automatically blocks hidden third-party trackers that we may find hidden on the websites you visit within DuckDuckGo, preventing the companies behind these trackers from collecting and selling your data.”
When an app has such a description, you expect it to apply to all websites, right? That’s why the fact that he doesn’t block Microsoft trackers is a problem, he should have been upfront about the issue.
Why does DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser allow Microsoft trackers?
Bing is one of the many sources DuckDuckGo pulls results from. In case you didn’t know, the privacy-focused search engine has an agreement with Microsoft to display contextual ads in its search results. These advertisements were generally considered untrackable, as the service does not profile its users.
Gabriel Weinberg, founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, responded to Edwards’ findings, confirming that the browser allows Microsoft trackers.
He explained that the search engine provides users with anonymity when loading search results, and that includes the advertisements displayed. But, it seems the internet company’s deal with Microsoft prevents DuckDuckGo from blocking its trackers.
Is DuckDuckGo.com safe to use?
Yes it is. While the browser was found guilty of allowing said trackers, Weinberg confirmed that the search engine remains intact. So, there is some good news amidst this chaos. I would still recommend using an ad blocker, like uBlock Origin or AdGuard, to protect against trackers. It’s unclear if the macOS browser is affected, but given the nature of the problem, it’s likely affected as well.
In a statement sent to Bleeping Computer, Weinberg said his company was working with Microsoft to remove the restriction to block trackers. He also defended DuckDuckGo’s browser, saying it blocks third-party tracking scripts before they load on sites, instead of tracking other browsers that simply offer third-party cookie protection and protection. against fingerprints. The company will also update its app store descriptions to provide more information.
The timing of the discovery is particularly bad for DuckDuckGo, as it criticized Google’s privacy practices just weeks ago. He proudly announced that his Chrome extension blocked new Google tracking methods, such as Topics and FLEDGE.
Practice what you preach, DuckDuckGo.