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96

I'm the founder of DuckDuckGo. D.W. is right, if we were to violate our privacy policy we could get in a lot of trouble. Additionally, I've tried to be as transparent as possible on how we operate, both in our privacy policy and on my blog. I've thought and explored external verification, from someone like the EFF for instance, but I don't think that really ...


90

There is no proof that DuckDuckGo operates as advertised. (There never is, on the web.) However, that is the wrong question. DuckDuckGo is very clear in its privacy policy. DuckDuckGo says it doesn't track you, it doesn't send your searches to other sites, by default it does not use any cookies, it does not collect personal information, it does not log ...


43

TOR is better for you than it is for people in countries whose intelligence services run lots of TOR exit nodes and sniff the traffic. However, all you should assume when using TOR is that, if someone's not doing heavy statistical traffic analysis, they can't directly correlate your IP with the IP requesting resources at the server. That leaves many, many ...


42

For the purposes of this discussion there are only a couple differences between web signing certificates: Extended vs standard validation (green bar). Number of bits in a certificate request (1024/2048/4096). Certificate chain. It is easier to set up certificates with a shorter trust chain but there are inexpensive certs out there with a direct or ...


36

Update 5 The root problem (heh) with the CA model is that in general practice, any CA can issue certs for any domain, so you're vulnerable to the weakest link. As to who you can trust, I doubt that the list is very long at all, since the stakes are high and security is hard. I recommend Christopher Soghoian's post on the subject, which clarifies the ...


24

Paranoia, professional skepticism, risk management... sometimes these concept are hard to separate. The odds that somebody is reading my packets right at this moment are relatively low. The odds that somebody has sniffed my internet traffic at some point in the past year... I guarantee it has happened, I've been to DEFCON. The advent of wireless networking ...


24

You would also need to be careful of the fact that your ISP is in a position to see that 'your IP address' is using Tor, even though it can't tell what you're using Tor for. If conditions are so hostile that you could be brought under suspicion simply for appearing to be clandestine, then you should take care to use Tor everwhere except on an Internet ...


23

As Matt Blaze once wrote, CAs protect you from anyone who they are unwilling to take money from. That should tell you something about where the CA's incentives lie, and some potential risks in the arrangement.


22

As Rook pointed out, security theatre is a big part of how consumer perception is exploited to ensure that customers believe that something is safe, without the vendor having to go through all that complicated hassle with actual security. The TSA is a great example, but there are many others: Extended Verification on SSL certificates are largely theatre, ...


19

What D.W. said. But also, You don't have to trust DuckDuckGo. You don't log in, you can clear cookies, you can change your IP address, you can access it via Tor. Not being an appendage of an identity company (e.g., Google) is a big privacy plus to begin with.


16

Unfortunately there are no automated scanners to detect all the types of vulnerabilities in modern web applications (I often hear less than 50%). Relying only on automated solutions is fraught with shortcomings. Automated scanners can expose the easy stuff, but you need human intelligence to explore and reveal additional vulnerabilities. With that said, ...


15

It does give you considerably more protection than browsing directly. There are some identified weaknesses which offer potential routes to attack your computer, however these can be mitigated using normal protection on your machine (ie patch/av up to date, run as unprivileged user etc) but the only real weakness in terms of compromising privacy seems to be ...


15

I'm afraid that the short answer to this question is that it's impossible to know, as far as I can see. There are a large number of default CA's installed in most common browsers and assessing how likely they are to be "trustworthy" in terms of giving out certificates to governmental or other organisation is difficult. If a CA became known as untrustworthy ...


15

2013 calling I think this question deserves a new answer after what we know now. Given the financial sources of the Tor project and what we learned about the NSA inserting backdoors (e.g. see here) casts a shadow on the trustworthiness of the project. From the annual report for last year (linked above): However, keep in mind that the US government ...


13

A weak password + two-factor authentication might still be safer than a strong password alone but it will be less safe than a strong password + two-factor authentication. It all depends on how weak you go: if you go all the way and make the password trivial you effectively end up with one-factor authentication (the Google text message to your phone). But ...


13

Specifically for Google, if you use two-factor authentication it is safe to "weaken" your password "from a 16-character password with a search space on the order of 1030 to an 8-character password with a search space on the order of 1014" as long as you use a good 8-character password (i.e. completely random and not re-used across sites). The strength of ...


12

Security seals are used on phishing sites, and our tax dollars fund the TSA. Whether we like it or not, "Security Theater" rules us all.


11

Good stuff in other answers, let me add some remarks about proper CA behaviour. If the CA has an history of lack of security policy enforcement, of violation of "browser approved CA" agreement, of signing of non DNS names using their official root certificate (like IP addresses, or non existent DNS names f.ex. bosscomputer.private), of lack of ...


11

On any Wi-Fi network - encrypted or not, given today's Wi-Fi encryption protocols - any sufficiently skilled and equipped user of the network (and especially the network administrator) could easily access any data you transmit or receive via cleartext protocols. This includes usernames and passwords as well as web pages, documents, and other data sent or ...


11

This is such an astonishing question that I find it difficult to answer. This distrust doesn't come from theory, but from experience. When we say "FTP is too dangerous to use" is because we've found it, in practice, too dangerous to use. You seem to think that a "packet logger" is either difficult to obtain or difficult to use. Neither is true. It takes ...


10

I arrive late to this question, but hopefully I can contribute some useful information which will also help others make a more informed decision regarding the trustworthiness of DuckDuckGo. This answer gives a few reasons to believe that DuckDuckGo is putting its privacy policy into practise by investigating the technical aspects of DuckDuckGo as of ...


10

So we had to install their root certificate "PrivateCompany Root CA" to our web server. Why? Globally trusted CAs are useful in general purpose clients like browsers. But if you consume specific web services from a custom client you can add that CA locally. Every decent SSL client allows you to influence certificate validation. For example by ...


9

It is not possible to prove that it will operate this way, but it is very easy to use it the way they advertise it. I also agree with D.W. and started using it some days ago. I deleted google from my search engine list but had some problems trusting ddg too, since I'm a slightly paranoid person, but it provides a secure connection, I use it over tor and ...


9

Short answer: Yes, computers can get a whole lot wrong before any human can realize that there's a problem so "trust" just doesn't work in computer systems. Default distrust is the only viable posture for high-performance system. To explain why, I'll contrast interactions between computers to interactions between humans. In human interactions, default ...


9

Currently SSL works the way that there is always some English language country based company issuing certs based on their root key. Now this is all in the control of the goverment, because they can gain access to these keys upon request, and they have agreements to do it. However, for business this is not good enough, definitely. You're ...


9

From a technical standpoint, the only thing that matters is browser recognition. And all of the trusted authorities have very nearly 100% coverage. I could say more, but to avoid duplicating effort here's a nearly-identical question with a lot of well-reasoned responses: Are all SSL Certificates equal?


9

I would assume your reasoning is something like, "If the person constructing the page chose to send some of its images insecurely, then the browser should respect that this decision was done for a reason and allow it without a warning. The page is as secure as the entity providing it wanted it to be." By contrast, the reasoning of the browser developers is ...


8

The main way to help users to trust you is be worthy of your users' trust, and make it apparent to your users why you are worthy of their trust. There are various ways to establish that you are worthy of trust. The details are likely to be specific to your particular site, but here are some examples from other domains. One way is through branding: if your ...


8

2 examples that go to the heart of what you need to know, but not what you're explicitly asking: Several years ago (2006, or maybe end of 2005) there was pretty-well publicized incident of SSL phishing - a bogus bank website received a legitimate SSL cert (from GeoTrust, I believe), for a misspelling of a regional bank's site. (Update: found this ...


8

Yes, SSL web browsing is exactly as strong as the weakest CA. DigiNotar could sign any certificate in the world, so in theory, any SSL conversation could be MITM'd. Furthermore, there are around 1500 certificates that can sign for any site in the world, so there are a lot of places that things could break down. Validating the chain of trust manually ...



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