[The following is excerpted from "Using Google To Find Vulnerabilities In Your IT Environment," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Vulnerability Management Tech Center.]
The vast volumes of information available on the Internet are of great value to businesses--and to hackers. For years, hackers have been using Google and other search engines to identify vulnerable systems and sensitive data on publicly exposed networks. The practice, known as Google hacking, has seen a resurgence of late, providing new challenges for IT professionals striving to protect their companies from threats growing in number and sophistication.
Google hacking--a term used for penetration testing using any search engine--surged in popularity around 2004, when computer security expert Johnny Long first released his book Google Hacking for Penetration Testers and the Google Hacking Database (GHDB). The database was designed to serve as a repository for search terms, called Google-Dorks, that exposed sensitive information, vulnerabilities, passwords, and much more.
There recently has been an upswing in Google hacking, with a few factors playing a role in the practice's growth. For one thing, the amount of data indexed and searchable by Google and other search engines has skyrocketed in the last few years. Simply put, this has given hackers much more to work with.
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