Google Hacking

The practice of Google hacking, the penetration of computer networks through Google search queries, owes its start to Computer Sciences researcher and author Johnny Long, who created the Google Hacking Database initially as a joke. The database now serves as a repository for about 1,500 queries, while the Google hacking community is composed of approximately 60,000 members. The search engine is used to not only to unearth credit card numbers, passwords, and unguarded Web interfaces to Web sites, routers, and other things, but also to perform hacker reconnaissance. “Nowadays, pretty much any hacking incident most likely begins with Google,” says F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen. One method is for a hacker to await a security bulletin and then employ Google to find Web sites that use the vulnerable software. Google’s database can also be employed to map out computer networks and thwart network administrators’ attempts to hinder eavesdroppers. Long reasons that Google’s greater involvement in the security community could present new business opportunities. Google could, for instance, create a Google Security Alerts system that notifies customers when their Web sites harbor bugs discovered by Long and other Google hackers.
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