Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Didier Stevens

SANS ISC: Google Desktop Has New Features SANS ISC InfoSec Forums

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Google Desktop Has New Features

We have gotten alot of questions and concerns over the new functionality implemented with Google Desktop.  

Here is a short blurb on Google's site about the functionality:
"Search Across Computers enables you to search your documents and viewed web pages across all your computers. For example, you could find files you edited on your desktop from your laptop. To activate this feature, you will need a Google Account (the same login you use for Gmail, Orkut, or other Google services). Remember, to search your other computers you must also install Google Desktop on them as well as enable the Search Across Computers preference using the same Google Account on each one."

More information about it can be found at:

The Google Desktop is a tool which users can choose to use or choose not to use it.  They simply offer a service.  By default, the functionality is not turned on.  To search other computers they have to be running Google desktop and have the "Search Across Computers" preference turned on each one of them as well as you have to have the same Google account to access them. 

To download the tool, you have to agree to their "terms and conditions" and their "privacy" policy. If you have questions, Google has a webpage for questions.

I think fellow handler Lenny Zeltser sums it up best in this statement: 
"It's google's job to provide useful tools and clearly state their privacy policy and data abuse issues. I'll leave it up to the users to decide whether they want to take advantage of the tool's new capabilities or not."

165 Posts
ISC Handler
Feb 10th 2006

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