With technology taking the lead all over, Google is making it happen. Google is the most powerful search engine in today’s time. From research to data to endless information, Google is being utilized by people from all over the world.
"As of March 2023, online search engine Bing accounted for 8.23 percent of the global desktop search market, while market leader Google had a share of around 85.53 percent."
However, Google’s capabilities have now reached negative levels too. “The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Cybersecurity Center, and the Ministry of Homeland Security of the State sent an alert in August 2014 cautioning organizations to watch out for Google drooling on their websites.”
Focusing on Google Dork in this article, it’s a hacking method that poses a threat to your private and sensitive information. Let’s dive into this deeper!
Google Dorking, also sometimes referred to as Google Hacking, is a search engine technique to break into protected information of vulnerable websites or the information that’s not displayed out there for the public to know in open search results.
Google Dorking basically starts with a custom search. Hackers find websites on Google with weak security for nefarious purposes. Dorking is made possible by Google’s amazing web-crawling powers. Attackers can find a lot of sensitive information using Google Dork that was impossible to find with simple search options like:
Here are some Google Dorking examples for a better understanding:
There are many types of logs available in HTTP like error logs, access logs and application log, etc. Attackers can find these files and related information like PHP version, content management system paths, admin credentials, user credentials, etc. using Google Dork.
Example search query- allintext:password filetype:log after:2010
To prevent this from happening, robots.txt file is the best shield you can apply.
Google indexes both websites and open FTP servers. This means that attackers can search for and find public FTP servers. If these FTP servers have weak access permissions, it could lead to unintentional publication of sensitive information.
Example search query- intitle: "index of" inurl:ftp
The term secret says it all. The key is not supposed to be shared with anyone. But hackers can reach there using Google Dork and not only reach but also exploit the SSH private keys indexed by Google. It can give out private information that you want to secure.
Example search query- intitle:index.of id_rsa -id_rsa.pub
Google Dork can be used to find websites with less secure HTTP protocol.
Example search query- intitle:"index of" inurl:http after:2015
Hackers often target internet-connected CCTV cameras. By using Google dorking, they can access live camera feeds without any restrictions.
Example search query- inurl:top.htm inurl:currenttime
Now that you are aware of the power of Google Dorking and the amount of harm it can do using your sensitive information, how can you stop this from happening to yourself? Simply being concerned and overthinking won’t help. Strengthen your online security and keep your private information safe. Here’s how!
Is Google Dorking illegal? Not entirely!
In reality, Google Dorking is an advanced search method that exists to handle complicated search queries. Restricting this feature would mean restricting access to information that might be useful. It becomes ethically wrong when this method is used to find sensitive information and use it to commit fraud or anything else illegal.
Hackers use the search engine’s in-built database to scratch private information, look for online flaws, and follow individuals. Here are some commonly used Google search operators and their functions:
Function: Retrieves a website's cached version.
Function: Provides a list of every URL from a webpage or domain that has been indexed.
Function: Based on the specified file extension, it returns different types of files.
Function: Searches the URL for a given phrase.
Function: Returns entries whose URL contains every character you provide.
Function: Finds websites with certain elements or strings in their content.
Example: intext:"Google Dork Query"
Function: Examines every link's specific anchor text to find it.
Example: inanchor:"cyber attacks"
Function: Displays all websites that include either or both terms entered in the search.
Example: hacking | Google dork
Function: Words are concatenated to find pages that include more than one particular key.
Example: hacking + Google dork
Function: Used to filter out search results that include specific terms.
Example: hacking - dork
These operators can be combined or used individually to refine your Google searches and find more specific and relevant information. However, it's important to use them responsibly and in compliance with legal and ethical guidelines.
Google Dorking, also known as Google Hacking, is a significant threat to sensitive and private information online. To protect yourself, it is important to implement strong security measures like two-factor authentication, unique and complex passwords, and regular vulnerability scans. Also, utilizing tools like Google Search Console and robots.txt files can help control the visibility of your web pages.
While Google Dorking is not illegal, it becomes unethical when used to perform fraudulent activities. By understanding common Google search operators, individuals can enhance their awareness and take steps to safeguard their information.