January 16, 2022

DuckDuckGo Introduces “Smarter Encryption”

From a DuckDuckGo Blog Post:

When [Smarter Encryption is] enabled, this technology will make most typical Internet browsing connections encrypted, and therefore private from potential eavesdroppers.

For example, when using DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption, 81% of clicks to websites from DuckDuckGo Search results use encrypted connections. This gives you peace of mind that no matter where the Internet takes you, DuckDuckGo is helping you keep your private information just that, private.

Our friends at Pinterest agree too: today they have announced that they are using DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption to protect their users from hidden privacy threats outside of their website. By using our technology, they have increased the encryption in their Pin links by 33%, with 80% of Pin links now encrypted and therefore secure (up from 60%).


Digging in, there are two primary scenarios where this helps you stay more private. First, many websites offer both an encrypted (HTTPS) and an unencrypted (HTTP) version of their website, but unfortunately do not route you their encrypted version automatically. DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption takes care of this scenario.

Second, even if a website offers HTTPS and does automatically navigate you there when you go to one of their web addresses, that first attempt you make is still unencrypted, leaking your browsing behavior. This is especially pernicious on social media where a lot of news links are posted as unencrypted links, exposing the details of what you’re reading in that first HTTP request. DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption takes care of this scenario too (for websites on our list) by adding an ‘s’ to unencrypted http:// web addresses, making them https:// web addresses and therefore encrypted.


…Today we’re also open sourcing the code behind this technology.


In addition to our Smarter Encryption list, there are two other lists that indicate whether a connection to a website can use HTTPS: Chromium’s HSTS Preload List and EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere. Building on EFF’s pioneering work, DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption is significantly more comprehensive than alternatives because we automatically generate our list by crawling websites vs. adding them manually. We also have an automatic process to maintain the list by re-crawling websites so that we can consistently ensure that users don’t face any breakage when websites change.

Learn MUCH More, Read the Complete Article

Media Coverage

DuckDuckGo Will Automatically Encrypt More Sites You Visit (via Wired)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.