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Google reveals all

A report just out from Massey University in New Zealand suggests that sensitive government information and confidential documents are readily accessible through Internet search engines such as Google.

The study found that hacking attacks via the popular search engine Google are on the rise and that New Zealand sites are less secure than those in the US and Australia.

Ellen Rose, a senior lecturer in IT at the Uni, said that Google was intended to help you find things on the Web - but you can find all sorts of things that perhaps people don't want you to find.

Researchers developed a program that ran 170 queries a day for three months against the Google database, looking at sites in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the Czech Republic.

According to the Uni, sensitive data was even easier to find than before and that New Zealand sites were particularly vulnerable. Half the queries returned sensitive information, but some was available for only a short time, Dr Rose said.

This is quite interesting, as I know from demonstrations a couple of years ago at various shows that Google could generate quite a lot of information from various Web sites - until major companies and other organisations wised up, that is.

It looks like large companies and organisations in New Zealand have left the gates open. I wonder how long it will take for them to shut them...