This is an era where data privacy risks from internet connected devices involves your data being generated, propagated, analyzed, and stored by third-parties on a daily basis.
A large portion of your data being generated revolves around four main catageories of data privacy risks.
I. Domain Name Service (DNS) Leaks II. Email IP Leaks III. IPv6 Leaks IV. Browser/OS Fingerprinting
These data privacy risks are predominantly tied to your internet protocol (IP) address which reveals a lot of your online activities. When using devices on your home network or small business network you have two IP addresses to contend with, your internal private IP address and your external public IP address.
The internal network facing IP address, also known as the private network address is assigned uniquely to each device on your home network by your home router. The address only pertains to the communications between devices happening inside your network.
The external public IP address is assigned by your internet service provider (ISP) and usually represents only your home router or small business router which is then used by each device communicating on the internet. This public IP address represents all of the devices operating behind that home router or small business router.
For example, when your device requests a website address through a given website name, such as https://eff.org, it’s translated from those letters into actual IP address numbers. That translation is made possible by the the DNS servers your device is communicating with.
The role DNS servers play in your overall privacy and security on the internet is often overlooked. This is due to the fact that using a modem and router provided by your ISP means the default settings are communicating with their DNS severs.
ISP’s log all activity on their networks and even if a website you are visiting has a padlock symbol signifying encrypted traffic between your device and the website requested, DNS traffic is usually not encrypted. So in addition to your ISP keeping record of all sites you visit, other third parties have visibility into the unencrypted DNS traffic as well.
Should the test reveal that your settings are not achieving the desired outcome then you will have a starting point for identifying and making necessary corrections.
An excellent VPN service provider such as Private Internet Access will actually wrap all of your device traffic in strong encryption including DNS traffic and then route it through their servers, including their own DNS servers.
That shield against ISP traffic monitoring goes a long way towards increasing your online privacy and security.
Email IP Leaks
Another reason and use case for using a VPN service is that simple emails you send can also reveal your IP address.
If you are sending emails while connected to a VPN service then the IP address of the VPN server is revealed instead of your personally identifiable IP address.
IPv6 is the preemptive solution to the Internet’s problem of a dwindling pool of IPv4 addresses available. IPv6 vastly expands the TCP/IP identifiers that can be created.
IPv4 is still the prominent internet protocol in use today, however more ISPs are supporting IPv6 which means that is another avenue for a unique identifier which identifies you. If you have adjusted your router settings to disable IPv6 or use a VPN which claims to shield IPv6 leaks as well, then its highly recommended to test for IPv6 leakage here.
Finally, last but not least is browser and operating system (OS) fingerprinting. This is one of the most nefarious and privacy violating tracking methods currently used.
In essence, browser and OS fingerprinting involves capturing many unique data points about your web browser in-use and your operating system in-use. All the data points captured from your browser and OS, which are to numerous to list here are then compiled into a unique and traceable fingerprint across the internet.
So far the best defense to browser and OS fingerprinting is the herd approach. Meaning, you want your device to have identical specifications and settings along with the majority of other users. The more people producing the same browser and OS fingerprint waters down the tracking ability.
PART IX ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.
With 5G cellular connectivity being rolled out in locations around the world, love it or hate it, 5G is poised to empower the next wave information technology advancements. These advancements are focused on pushing automation forward and will be tied to connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data.
We are already seeing the current advancements as a foreshadowing of what is to come. Look at any car, truck or SUV built in the last 10 years, which most of us probably own and drive.
Every time the ignition switch is turned on and a smart phone plugged in, personal data such as location and contacts are being processed and shared.
This is in addition to actual data about your vehicle, such as mileage and maintenance.
Additionally, many people have multiple data producing smart devices installed in homes in addition to the smart phones carried every moment of every day.
The commonalities concerning privacy and security risks associated with connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data are numerous and will be discussed below.
Ties that bind
You may have an understanding that when your smart phone is with you while at home or away, it’s constantly transmitting and receiving data, most of which revolves around you.
What many people fail to consider are the inexpensive home automation system data risks and the connected car data risks. You don’t have to live in a mansion or drive a Tesla to be affected by either.
As mentioned above, if you drive a car manufactured in the last 10 years and have Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Google Nest Mini devices installed in your home or thinking about adding them, then this article is for you.
Depending on your own unique situation, it doesn’t hurt to review the risks associated with connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data. Here are some risks to consider when using these internet of things (IOT) devices.
I. Location and pattern-of-life data
In addition to your smart phone, both your car and your home will now give your location away. Combining connected car data and inexpensive home automation data and the location information about you becomes more detailed and precise.
For example, depending on how a smart home is configured it will identify what room you spend most time in, what time you eat dinner, and when you go to bed. Depending on video capture devices being utilized it may record you and anyone visiting your house while going so far as to conduct facial recognition.
The same goes for connected car data. When you link your smart phone to your car your location for routes and destinations are more accessible.
Data you are producing and sending out via connected car data and inexpensive home automation data goes beyond just your location. There are additional privacy and security implications which should be considered.
With so many people working from home, having these devices nearby could pose a privacy concern and may want to be considered before important meetings take place. These IOT devices also compile information such as what TV’s and Movies you watch and shopping habits.
After your smart phone is synced with your car it also uploads your contacts, messages, call history, and favorite locations to the vehicle and in some cases to cloud servers as well.
This may be fine if it’s a car you own and operate. However, what happens when you sync your phone to a rental car or company car? Guess what, that vehicle which you don’t own and operate regulary now has nearly a mirror image of your smart phone.
For some of us that could be a pretty sobering prospect, especially if you value your privacy. I mention this because in the past I’ve done exactly that and want others to learn from my mistake.
If the idea of strangers knowing your contacts, phone calls, messages, and frequent locations doesn’t sit well with you then keep reading. Although not without risk of possible compromises, there are ways to employ connected car data and inexpensive home automation data in a safe manner and enjoy the benefits that they do offer.
II. How to employ connected car data and inexpensive home automation data with reduced risk?
Now that you are aware of the risks here are many of the benefits that employing connected car data and inexpensive home automation data in your life can offer which revolves around convenience and safety.
It can be helpful to receive alerts that a car needs maintenance prior to a breakdown.
Additioanlly, having the confidence that your home will automatically turn off lights when you leave and automatically turn them on upon arrival is a great feature.
Depending on where you live you may have seen commercials for General Motors OnStar service which contacts first responders in the event of an airbag deployment and sends them to your location. That is a great potentially life-saving service which connected car data can be used for.
Additionally, an inexpensive home automation system with security cameras can deter home invasions and alert home owners too suspicious activity while smart smoke and CO2 alarms can automatically alert when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
As you can see there are great possibly life-saving benefits to be had by leveraging this technology. The key is to employ it smartly by using only devices that have the best reputations for privacy and security.
You have read about the increased risks to your personal data concerning location, habits, and security associated with automated homes and connected cars.
Thankfully though my own experience and research I’ve compiled a list of companies who more than just claim to be privacy and security focused, they put it into practice and act on it.
Each of these products has earned a NETPRAETOR thumbs up and is broken down by best use case.
As I mentioned at the beginning we are on the verge of a new automated era with the advent of 5G and beyond cellular technologies. As self-driving cars become a mass market reality in the next decade, the protection and integrity of their systems will be critical.
Do you want to drive in a car that gets hacked? GuardKnox is at the forefront of preventing that from happening. If you’re a consumer looking to buy a new Tesla or another automotive brand that has semi-autonomous autopilot capabilities, its worth discussing with the manufacturer if they offer Communication Lockdown technology. If they don’t ask them why. Enough consumers demanding safe and sound next generation vehicles will help to ensure they are built right.
If you own a small franchise repair shop or auto dealership, ensuring you’re facility has the knowledge and capabilities to service these automotive security technologies could keep your business future-proof and one step ahead of the competition.
This application addresses the concern I mentioned earlier in the post. What happens when you sell your car or return a rental with your synced smart phone data?
The Privacy4Cars application allows you too rapidly delete Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from vehicles, such as contact book, phone calls, text messages, navigation history, address history, and garage codes.
At this time Apple HomeKit is the only NETPRAETOR recommended home automation solution. Its not 100% private or 100% secure, however Apple is doing the best job currently at making the most private and most secure inexpensive home automation system on the market.
If you already have an iPhone or iPad it doesn’t take much to start building your kit. I’m providing some affiliate links below to help get you started and keep an eye out for a detailed post on correctly assembeling an Apple HomeKit automation system.
Apple TV 4K is the foundation to establishing your Apple HomeKit based smart home. Not only will this provide endless TV watching and Movie entertainment, it acts as the critical hub for your entire smart home. Without this (or an iPad / HomePod) your smart home aspirations are not possible.
This Lutron Caseta kit will give you the starting point for enabling hardwired smart dimmer switches throughout your entire home. I recommend this over the standard on/off switch starter kit as its more fun to have Siri adjust the light settings rather than just on or off.
Logitec Circle 2 is one of the few cameras that integrates with Apple HomeKit. It works with your Apple TV 4K to provide end-to-end zero knowledge encryption of your home video feeds. When setup correctly all video streams that run through Apple Homekit Secure Video will be encrypted by the Apple TV 4K in your house prior to being uploaded to the cloud.
Why live in fear of your footage being hacked or intercepted like Ring device users and other smart home system users do? This is one of main privacy and security advantages Apple brings to the table with HomeKit, elevating themselves way ahead of the competition.
What Does Connected Car Data and Inexpensive Home Automation System Data Have In Common?
If this is your first time reading a NETPRAETOR post on data privacy and data security, welcome. If you’ve been following along the last 5 months, this concludes the 9 part series of the main information technologies which have the most impact on end user data privacy and data security through daily use.
Look forward to new posts weekly and feel free to share your feedback in the comments section or let me know if there’s a topic you would like to hear more about.
PART VIII ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.
What Is Cloud Storage
If you’re someone who needs remote access to files without having access to your local storage systems, then chances are good a cloud storage solution can be right for you.
Setup properly, cloud storage provides you with the the ability to easily access and share files remotely without having direct access to the local storage device.
This ease of access and flexibility can provide you with time savings through quick accessibility on any device and redundancy through off-site backups and syncing among multiple devices.
As with anything and especially related to information technology that houses sensitive personal information, cloud storage strengths and weaknesses must be considered.
Starting with the bad news first I’ll go over cloud storage weaknesses, of which some are more important than others and can be deal breakers for use.
Cloud Storage Weaknesses
Without a doubt, when it comes to cloud storage you get what you pay for. Simply, a quality cloud storage solution is going to come with additional costs in one form or another whether that be monetary or trading your data.
As I mentioned in my other post talking about Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s), buyer beware when it comes to any information technology device, application, or service advertised as free.
99% of the time that so called free service is free because you are agreeing to give up your data when accepting their terms and conditions.
Whether paying for cloud storage with your currency or your data, taking a close look at the costs charged by any cloud storage provider is essential.
The monetary costs of quality cloud storage which respects end-user privacy can add up quickly if you are uploading and downloading large volumes of files to and from the cloud frequently.
II. Internet connectivity
Easy access to your data can quickly come to an end if no internet connection is readily available. Cloud storage strengths and weaknesses are predominately dependent on the availability of a reliable internet connection.
If the internet connection is good then large files can be accessed efficiently. If the internet connection is bad or non-existent then you could be cutoff from your critical files at inopertune times.
III. Support and Data Security
Cloud storage providers are not known to provide the best customer service and support. For example, in some cases it can be by design due to the employment of end-to-end encryption. Without access to the encryption keys a cloud storage provider simply can’t provide support to data it cannot access. In those cases the responsibility of file maintenance and recovery is shifted to the customer.
If you’re reading this blog chances are good you care about the privacy and security of your data. If that’s the case then the potential issues posed by end-to-end encryption are actually a good thing and can be mitigated if the right steps are taken when you choose to employ it.
Rather than gambling with the grey area of wondering who is responsible for making sure your files in cloud storage are secure, why not take ownership and accept the stewardship of managing your own data?
Cloud Storage Strengths
Cost is tied to both cloud storage strengths and weaknesses. As noted above the monetary and privacy costs of cloud storage can be a major weakness.
However, with the cost of purchasing suitable quality physical storage rather expensive, especially for large volumes of files, reduced monetary cost of cloud storage can be less expensive per gigabyte or terabyte than using external drives and other storage solutions.
In addition to monetary cost savings over physical file storage, cloud storage provides access to your files from anywhere an internet connection is available.
Imagine getting pulled over for accidentally rolling past a stop sign. Thats already a position you don’t want to be in, however making matters worse you realize you left your wallet with drivers license at home. Not only have you failed to stop at a stop sign, now you’re driving without your license.
Given that most people are more likely to leave a wallet or purse at home than their smart phone these days, if you happen to keep a scanned copy of your drivers license syncd in the cloud you could at least produce a copy of your drivers license via the cloud storage application and hopefully mitigate additional problems.
An additional benefit of storing important files in the cloud is redundancy and the ability to recover important files in the event of a hard drive or device failure. Files stored in the cloud are backed up and reduce the risk of physical storage failure.
IV. Syncing Devices
The best cloud storage providers will do more than just protect your data at rest in the cloud with end-to-end encryption, they will protect your data in transit as you upload and download files with end-to-end encryption as well. In addition to that, a great cloud storage provider will allow for an option that synchronizes your files across multiple devices.
The way syncing works is when you make changes to a file on one device, it will then automatically cascade those changes through the cloud to all the other linked devices as well.
For example, going back to the drivers license scenario above, let’s say you finally made a decision to store a copy of your drivers license in the cloud the day you go for a drive and roll through a stop sign, thus getting pulled over.
If you uploaded your drivers license to your cloud provider from your MacBook Pro prior to leaving the house that day and your settings were configured to automatically sync with the application on your iPhone, its that syncing ability which allowed you to access your drivers license copy later that when you got pulled over and realized your wallet was at home.
That example is just one of the many benefits of syncing files through cloud storage.
Not all cloud storage providers are created equal. The best cloud storage providers carefully weigh cloud storage strengths and weaknesses and will enhance the strengths while reducing the weaknesses.
Only the best cloud storage providers add additional layers of security to their services. Again circling back to the drivers license scenario above, you would only want to store sensitive documents like a drivers license on a platform offering the best security with zero-knowledge end-to-end encryption.
Ensuring that your files can only be accessed by you or individuals you designate is best achieved by only using cloud storage offering zero-knowledge end-to-end encryption. This will help to prevent your files being accessed by someone you didn’t authorize.
Cloud Storage Strengths and Weaknesses?
Having reviewed the main elements of cloud storage strengths and weaknesses here are the three cloud storage solutions earning a NETPRAETOR thumbs up broken down by best use case.
Large volumes of data to back up with end-to-end encryption
PART VII ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.
What is collaboration tool software?
Collaboration tools are applications designed with the purpose of enabling people to work together efficiently and securely across audio, video, text, and data transfer channels.
Some reasons for using collaboration tools may be focused solely on a specific channel such as text messaging or video, for example.
Whether for business use with colleagues or personal use with friends and family, if you’re in the market for a specific collaboration tool or uncertain why you need one in the age of COVID19, then continue reading.
No matter the reasons for using collaboration tools one thing is certain, the world as a whole is now seeing the value of staying connected when physical interaction is limited or outright banned as the global pandemic has revealed in such an abrupt and paradigm shifting way.
The 5 best reasons for using collaboration tools below will help you identify the main benefits of online collaboration tools and provide ideas of how you may use them for business and for personal use.
I. Increased security and privacy
There is no doubt, sensitive information is traversing the internet constantly. If you listen to the news even a little, there are too numerous reports to count highlighting data breaches and data compromises from the mishandling of sensitive data.
These compromises can be as simple as an email being accidentally sent to the wrong person or more nefarious acts of not properly encrypted data being intercepted.
Most people do not pay attention to the fact that email communication is inherently insecure. Simply sending emails with sensitive information or attachments is like sending a postcard through the mail with your medical history and tax ID number written on it.
For those reasons it is of paramount importance that only the best collaboration tools are selected to ensure your privacy and the privacy of those whom data you handle.
Collaborating from an encrypted and centralized location with only authorized individuals can protect sensitive information.
II. Travel cost savings
Even before the COVID19 pandemic spread across the globe many businesses and individuals were looking for ways to collaborate remotely in an effort to reduce expensive travel and lodging costs. The COVID19 pandemic has brought a lot of attention to the very important role collaboration tools have across the world.
Eventually when the world fully reopens from the global shutdown, traveling both for work and for fun will resume. When it comes to business travel for meetings, adding up the cost of transport, lodging, and dining out can prove to be very expensive.
Corporations and small businesses alike have valid proof of concept regarding the widespread success and acceptance of empowering remote workforces. The cost savings alone are one of the many reasons for using collaboration tools, now and into the future.
III. Reduction in the number of collaboration software tools used
Selecting the right collaboration tool for the job can mean the difference between more time spent on progress towards profitable goals or wasted time spent troubleshooting issues and dealing with data compromises.
A great collaboration tool will allow for the secure centralized use of many applications from one place, instead of having to sign-in to multiple different applications during a session.
IV. Collaboration in real-time
Simple emails may have been fine in the past, especially when they can be followed up in-person by walking over to a colleagues desk or office. With remote working arrangements quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception, the lack of physical interaction is another one of the many reasons for using collaboration tools.
In this case, collaborating in real time with the right tool allows for audio, video, text, and document sharing among many individuals at one time. This real-time centralzied approach can prove much more productive than tracking document updates via email and provide instant feedback.
V. Increase productivity
Aside from being the next best thing to in-person interaction under global lockdown orders, a boon to productivity is another one of the many reasons for using collaboration tools.
Increased productivity is inherently fostered by excellent collaboration tools. They allow only authorized individuals access to all the information they need in one place. Cutting down on time spent searching for documents can add up to a lot of time saved.
5 Best Reasons For Using Collaboration Tools
Various factors need to be considered before selecting collaboration tools and implementing them. In this post you just read about the 5 best reasons for using them.
Here are the top NETPRAETOR recommended collaboration tools, each earning a coveted NETPRAETOR thumbs up and broken down by best use case.
PART VI ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.
Communications permeate all facets of life and influence it for worse or for better. In the current COVID-19 pandemic era which all of us have suddenly found ourselves unwillingly thrust into, communications (especially electronic) are now more paramount than ever. Citizens in the Untied States and other western countries are seeing their personal rights to assemble temporarily suspended due to these extraordinary circumstances, among other infringements that will be up to the history books to decide.
Additionally, many individuals whose jobs afford them the opportunity to work from home are now doing so, while leveraging technology to stay synchronized with their disparate colleagues. Unfortunately for the many individuals who have been affected with jobs on on hold, essentially hanging in the balance, or let go entirely are also faced with having to leverage emails more frequently.
Email is a very useful method of communication and file sharing which is perfectly suited during shelter-in-place orders such as what most of the world is experiencing right now.
Useful Email, Inherently Unsecure
As great of a communications tool that email is, many people unfortunately have been using personal email accounts over the last two-plus decades without a second thought as to its dangers, of which, there are many.
Thankfully, as time has passed privacy advocates have risen to the challenge of solving the many problems inherent with basic free email services resulting in a growing list of options for all of us!
ProtonMail and Tutanota are the two leaders providing free and paid secure email accounts right now. This post will discuss their many features and benefits while seeking to answer a growing question. ProtonMail vs Tutanota, which is better?
Additionally, it’s understood that many people are fully entrenched with their legacy Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook (previously Hotmail) email accounts to name a few. This post will also seek to answer the question is Gmail secure when used with Apple Mail or Thunderbird email clients?
Legacy Email Providers
You may be wondering why the term “legacy” is being used when speaking of Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook (not the email client) email accounts? NETPRAETOR believes the future of personal email accounts rests with the likes of ProtonMail and Tutanota as will be discussed later in this post.
For now please understand that when “legacy” is used in this post it means an email provider who does not offer end-to-end encrypted email capabilities for emails in transit. Essentially, your emails in transit are either sent in the clear (unencrypted) or (if encrypted) a third-party can decrypt the contents of your email.
It also signifies an email provider that does not provide end-to-end encrypted security for emails at rest. Meaning employees from any of the aforementioned companies can fully access the content of your emails sitting in your inbox, sent folder, junk folder, or trash folder for their own internal purposes or in response to third-party requests.
Is Gmail Secure When Used With Apple Mail or Thunderbird?
Don’t get me wrong, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Mail (again, not the email client) are fully featured and reliable email accounts. I actually still use Gmail and Outlook Mail in limited capacities with a full understanding of their insecure weaknesses. When I do I also happen to use them both with Apple Mail and Thunderbird depending on the platform being used.
Using a legacy email such as Gmail with the Apple Mail client or the Thunderbird mail client is one of the few advantages (trading security for convenience) they have over the new generation of secure email providers like ProtonMail and Tutanota.
That final advantage of the legacy providers is fading fast as both ProtonMail and Tutanota create innovative ways to integrate their email accounts with well established email clients like Apple Mail and Thunderbird while not having to trade security for convenience.
The question of is Gmail secure for example, when accessing through Apple Mail or Thunderbird is not completely black and white. From the NETPRAETOR perspective the short answer is no due to all the legacy attributes as noted above.
However, for an intermediate to advanced technology aficionado there are creative ways to achieve end-to-end encrypted Gmail’s. I will provide a how-to guide in a later post taking you step-by-step on obtaining an S/MIME encryption certificate from a company like Sectigo, pairing it to your Gmail account and loading it to either Outlook or Thunderbird. That process achieves two things.
I. All future emails you send can be digitally signed, thus providing assurance to recipients that your emails are authentic.
II. If a recipient of one of your digitally signed emails has their own S/MIME encryption certificate loaded into their own email client, you can then begin end-to-end encrypted email correspondence.
To go through this process for secure Gmail is cumbersome at best and you can see why it would take a technology aficionado to have the patience or desire to go through all the necessary steps to implement it.
ProtonMail vs Tutanota
With respect to ProtonMail vs Tutanota its refreshing to see security by design and not as an afterthought. What takes about an hour or more to achieve in securing a Gmail account with an S/MIME certificate loaded into Outlook or Thunderbird, takes less than 5 minutes to setup either a ProtonMail account or Tutanota account.
Both ProtonMail and Tutanota each deserve their own post in order to go over each of their unique nuances and will happen at later dates. However to answer the question of which is better ProtonMail vs Tutanota, the thumbs up would have to go to ProtonMail.
With both ProtonMail and Tutanota you’re going to get the capability for secure emails encrypted in-transit and encrypted at-rest. Employees from either company can’t access client emails even if they wanted to. Where ProtonMail takes a slight lead over Tutanota is when it comes to some of their bundled products that come with paid packages. For example, ProtonMail has also rolled out a full featured no-logs VPN as discussed in my previous post on VPN’s.
In summary, legacy email accounts still serve a purpose and there is no need for an exodus from them. However if you’re looking to use newfound free-time to enhance the security of your communications which have just become an ever more critical cornerstone of our lives due to being stuck indoors while under austere social distancing measures, you can’t go wrong with either ProtonMail or Tutanota.
What do you think? Are there any other email providers you would recommend or do you believe Tutanota deserves the thumbs up over ProtonMail?
PART V ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.
Private Search Engines
Across devices and operating systems, much of the worlds online
activity is funneled through just a few channels known as search
engines. The best analogy for search engines can be understood by
fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Thor movies or comic books.
Think of search engines as the character Heimdall the gatekeeper, his
character has visibility into the universe and nothing passes by his
line of sight without noticing. Queries into search engines function
the same way and nothing escapes their line of sight.
Boil it all down and
Google leads the way with roughly two thirds of all search queries,
while Bing picks up most of the remaining third of global traffic. Of
the small percentage of search engine market share remaining, there
is a handful of search engines competing in that space. Former search
engine leader Yahoo, along with Dogpile, StartPage and DuckDuckGo,
along with many others all operate in this limited space.
Search Engine Competition
From this crowded and small slice of the search engine pie come the two NETPRAETOR recommended private search engines, DuckDuckGo, and StartPage. Of these two private search engines DuckDuckGo has the potential to actually breakout out of this limited space and compete with Bing in terms of search query volume. Part of their success has come from a major endorsement by Apple as part of their privacy awareness campaign. Additionally, DuckDuckGo is more than just a search engine, they are actively educating people about data security and data privacy with their own data privacy campaign.
monetizing an individuals entire online activity through user
identifiable tracking across websites and search queries like Google.
DuckDuckGo does not track users across websites or search queries,
nor do they retain user identifiable information. DuckDuckGo simply
serves their users ads based off of each unique search query while
maintaining user anonymity. As more and more individuals realize the
value of maintaining their online privacy, DuckDuckGo has the
potential to change the way search engines make money to the benefit
of end user privacy.
For individuals who have been using Google as their primary search engine for many years StartPage is a great alternative. This search engine actually sources their queries from Google and produces their results with all of Google’s tracking elements removed. They can be summed up as a Google proxy service and achieve it by paying Google to remove the trackers. Like DuckDuckGo they monetize in other ways that don’t involve profiling and storing data on their users while advocating for privacy rights.
2 Private Search Engines That Don’t Follow You Around?
Using private search engines like StartPage and DuckDuckGo combined with other NETPRAETOR recommendations can go a long way towards improving data privacy and data security.
Do you think these are two of the best private search engines? Leave your comments below.