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55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

35. Google Hacking

Yes, I am a criminal.  My crime is that of curiosity.
– Mentor, The Hacker Manifesto

There’s a sport called “Google Hacking” which is all about searching for seemingly private websites using Google. In fact, you can only find public websites using Google, because private (password-protected) pages can’t be found by Google – so it’s no real hacking (let alone “cracking,” which would consist of deleting, changing or abusing the found data). But it’s fun nevertheless, and often enables people to discover pages someone was hoping for to stay private. This happens when the site is misconfigured, i.e. when the webmaster doesn’t know enough about how to set up a website.

Here are some of the most popular and powerful “Google hack” search queries. Enter them at your own risk, and know that every once in a while you step onto a so-called honeypot (a fake website set up to lure hackers into it, with the goal of finding out more about them and their tactics).

Finding Error Messages

Search for:A syntax error has occurred” filetype:ihtml

You’ll find: Pages which caused errors the last time Google checked them. This may hint at vulnerabilities or other unwanted side-effects.

How this works: The first phrase simply looks for an error the target server itself did once output. The “filetype” operator on the other hand restricts the result pages to only those which have the “ihtml” extension (which are sites using Informix). A related search is “Warning: mysql_query()”.

Finding Seemingly Private Files

Search for: (password | passcode) (username | userid | user)   filetype:csv

You’ll find: Files containing user names and similar.

How this works: The “filetype” operator makes sure only “Comma Separated Values” files will be returned. Those are not typical web pages, but data files. “(password  | passcode)” tells Google the file must