Use Google at Your Own Risk

Sue Marquette Poremba

I loved the title of this Computerworld article: "The Smart Paranoid's Guide to Using Google."

 

More than a catchy title, the article provided a good deal of wisdom regarding Google's privacy and security flaws. It's hard to find someone who doesn't use a Google-related application in some way, both for enterprise and personal business. As the article pointed out:

 

Do you realize that Google may have recorded and stored every single search term you have ever punched into its search box? Chances are some of those searches could be soberingly damaging to your reputation. What about Gmail? Have you ever sent any sensitive e-mails? How about business information stored in Google Docs? . . . Data about your habits, interests, activities, schedule, professional pursuits, stock portfolio and medical history could be sitting somewhere on Google's servers -- along with records of the trip routes you've mapped, the Web sites you've visited and much more.

 

Google's security and privacy problems have been well documented over the years. Over the past month, for example, Google has been handed a class-action lawsuit for Wi-Fi sniffingand is facing questions over privacy on its street-view mapping. Recently, Google Chrome required security fixes, and there are concerns about security in Google Docs. My colleague Lora Bentley wonders if Google really understands privacy concerns of users around the world. It's a fair question.

 

Obviously, privacy and security issues aren't unique to Google, as any Microsoft user will quickly point out. However, as Google's dominance on how the world does business online grows, users need to be aware of the risks that are out there and how Google responds to the complaints and problems.

 


The Computerworld article offered sound advice on how to use Google and its many applications safely, with two levels of security:

 

  • "Defcon 2" (good security) tips are things you can do with the tools already at your disposal to keep yourself safe against typical attacks -- but not against a determined attacker.
  • "Defcon 1" (best security) tips -- aka "the celebrity solution" (steps to take if you have, or intend to have, a highly visible public profile) -- offer far more security but are far less practical and often require using third-party tools.

 

But as author Logan Kugler said:

 

In the end, only you can determine what trade-offs between security and convenience make sense for you.


Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 30, 2010 8:57 AM akshay akshay  says:

ye

this is genuine question on google because im facing with problem with google

any one crack my mcafee account which register with google id

Reply

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