Internet search engines

Why did Debian Linux replace Google with DuckDuckGo?

Last Updated on September 8, 2023

In a world where data has become a valuable resource, securing it is a priority. However, personal information is under constant threat, from tech companies used daily to vicious hackers.

While user privacy regulations seem promising, much of the responsibility still falls on your shoulders. For instance, you choose which services to use. And in some cases, these decisions are influenced by the convenience factor. Instead, it should be a calculated choice, considering privacy and security as primary criteria. However, some people might simply use the default services without a second glance. In the case of Debian, users will automatically have more privacy than before.

Recently, Debian decided to feature DuckDuckGo, a more privacy-focused search engine, as their default one. Many users already chose it instead of Google, but Debian decided to make it official in the Chromium browser.

How DuckDuckGo differs from Google

DuckDuckGo started as a web browser with a focus on internet privacy. Today, it has developed into an entire search engine that prides itself on operating without violating user privacy. Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo has modified its service not to collect data as you browse through the search results page. When using the browser, third-party website cookies also have restricted access. A few additional features include the following.

  • Built-in ad blockers.
  • Highly customizable interface.
  • Convenient integration with Chromium-based browsers.
  • Supports browsing through Tor natively.

Many people might be concerned about the accuracy of search results without personalization. However, DuckDuckGo users report that most search results are relevant. In fact, it is faster to browse through the results when there are no ads stuffing the page.

Does the default browser on Debian affect enough users?

As of 2022, DuckDuckGo holds 2.45% of the search engine market in the US. That doesn’t sound like much compared to Google. Yet, DuckDuckGo has had tremendous growth, with an average of more than 9 million searches daily. Given that it is double the previous year, it represents a customer base that numbers in the millions during the coming months.

Therefore, the shift of the default browser can mean a lot for data privacy worldwide. It is not just about an efficient, privacy-centric browser but also about creating awareness about the value of user data and how to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.

Debian for personal and business environments

Debian Linux is one of the most prominent kernels preferred by individuals and businesses alike. With fewer data making the rounds of search engines, servers, and networks, it can be more challenging for hackers to pinpoint their malware and gain access to sensitive information to steal or ransom. As per IBM statistics, the average data breach cost in 2022 is around $4.35 million. Securing their website activity is critical for businesses to scale that down.

At a personal level, the browser switch holds a lot of weight. You don’t want your shopping preferences or travel plans leaking to shady agencies that might target you for products you don’t need. Moreover, controlling your financial information prevents tech companies from creating profiles they can utilize to design predatory services.

Further steps to enhance your security on Linux kernels

Although using a privacy-focused browser is entirely appropriate, you may need additional measures to ensure the safe use of your Linux-running PC. The most critical ones include the following.

Cloud-based backups

Malware and viruses are becoming more intelligent, some even exercising AI to override various systems’ firewalls. Thus, a proven way to secure your data is to ensure that it stays in more than one place at a time. Having cloud backups can be a viable option to help you do that.

Linux operating systems are compatible with a plethora of cloud services. Still, it would be best to avoid something from the likes of Microsoft and Google. Instead, it helps to go for products like Crashplan or Dropbox that offer high-level data encryption and don’t store your personal information beyond what they require.

Antivirus software

Windows Defender may be working with cutting-edge AI-based updates, thanks to its acquisition of top-level cybersecurity agencies. However, an open-source, community-run OS like Debian Linux doesn’t have that.

So, installing robust antivirus software that reinforces the system’s firewall is a good idea. Even if you have active protection enabled, you should check for updates consistently and scan the entire system regularly to watch out for signs of any malicious trackers or trojans.

Virtual Private Network

More people access the internet daily. Additionally, it is known that many users do not feel comfortable with having their every digital step tracked. Therefore, users look for ways to improve their digital security and privacy. Linux has many distros that are more privacy-focused. Additionally, it is important to enhance your device with tools like Virtual Private Networks.

A VPN download helps you do just that. It encrypts all incoming and outgoing internet traffic, making it far more challenging to track your online activities. Your Internet Service Provider is one of the first entities that won’t be able to retrieve information about what you do online. Thus, consider boosting your security and privacy on Linux.

Summing up

The future holds several challenges for everyday users as they stave off cybersecurity threats from nefarious cybercriminals and reputed mega-corporations. Digital democracy that favors the public is the need of the hour, and Debian Linux has offered a ray of sunshine for others to follow. Now that you know why Debian Linux replaced Google with DuckDuckGo, it is about time you did the same for your system.

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