Browse Definitions:
Definition

Google dork query

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A Google dork query, sometimes just referred to as a dork, is a search string that uses advanced search operators to find information that is not readily available on a website.

Google dorking, also known as Google hacking, can return information that is difficult to locate through simple search queries. That description includes information that is not intended for public viewing but that has not been adequately protected. 

As a passive attack method, Google dorking can return usernames and passwords, email lists, sensitive documents, personally identifiable financial information (PIFI) and website vulnerabilities. That information can be used for any number of illegal activities, including cyberterrorism, industrial espionage, identity theft and cyberstalking.

A search parameter is a limitation applied to a search. Here are a few examples of advanced search parameters:

  • site: returns files located on a particular website or domain.
  • filetype: followed (without a space) by a file extension returns files of the specified type, such as DOC, PDF, XLS and INI. Multiple file types can be searched for simultaneously by separating extensions with “|”.
  • inurl: followed by a particular string returns results with that sequence of characters in the URL.
  • intext: followed by the searcher’s chosen word or phrase returns files with the string anywhere in the text.

Multiple parameters can be used, for example, to search for files of a certain type on a certain website or domain. The Public Intelligence website provides this example:

“sensitive but unclassified” filetype:pdf site:publicintelligence.net

Those search parameters return PDF documents on that website’s servers with the string “sensitive but unclassified” anywhere in the document text.

Access to internal documents can yield further sensitive information. For example, document metadata often contains more information than the author is aware of, such as revision history, deletions, dates and author / updater names.  Because an intruder with the requisite know-how and / or tools can access such information, it’s a good practice to ensure that it is actually removed from documents before they are published or shared. The practice of document sanitization is designed to make sure that only the intended information can be accessed.

In August 2014, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center issued a bulletin warning agencies to guard against the potential for Google dorking on their sites. One of the first intrusion prevention measures proposed is to conduct Google dorking expeditions using likely attack parameters to discover what type of information an intruder could access.

This was last updated in September 2014

Continue Reading About Google dork query

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

clear information about google dorking.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close