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Dangerous Google – Searching for Secrets

April 1, 2005


Dangerous Google – Searching for Secrets

Information which should be protected is very often publicly available, revealed by careless or ignorant users. The result is that lots of confidential data is freely available on the Internet – just Google for it.
Author: 
Michał Piotrowski
Source: https://hakin9.org Hakin9 4/2005

What You Will Learn…

  • how to use Google to find sources of personal information and other confidential data,
  • how to find information about vulnerable systems and Web services,
  • how to locate publicly available network devices using Google.

What You Should Know…

  • how to use a Web browser,
  • basic rules of operation of the HTTP protocol.

Google serves some 80 percent of all search queries on the Internet, making it by far the most popular search engine. Its popularity is due not only to excellent search effectiveness, but also extensive querying capabilities. However, we should also remember that the Internet is a highly dynamic medium, so the results presented by Google are not always up-to-date – some search results might be stale, while other relevant resources might not yet have been visited by Googlebot (the automatic script that browses and indexes Web resources for Google). Table 1 presents a summary of the most important and most useful query operators along with their descriptions, while Figure 1 shows document locations referred to by the operators when applied to Web searches. Of course, this is just a handful of examples – skilful Google querying can lead to much more interesting results.

Hunting for Prey

Google makes it possible to reach not just publicly available Internet resources, but also some that should never have been revealed.

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