Google Desktop security holes?

December 16th, 2004


It seems a small tick-box is causing a few ructions in the world of Google Desktop. Which tick box you may ask? The one where Google Desktop, by default, indexes secure web pages.

This ‘feature’ of Google Desktop results in GD indexing and caching secure files such as internet banking pages and web-based email pages that are viewed by the user. The index isn’t providing the passwords to access these, but the pages viewed by the user once the password prompt is passed.

These cached files have previously been somewhat buried in windows, but with them easily available to GD there are obvious security concerns. For example, try a search for ‘compose’ on Google Desktop if you have used web-based email recently and you may be surprised at what GD indexes and caches.

While the tech news sites argue over whether this is or isn’t a security threat, it’s clear Google overlooked an obvious user concern when they left that GD option on by default.

It makes one wonder what secrets may be buried deep in the Google web index, just waiting for some intrepid searcher to discover!