Google Cookie Exploit Found, Fixed

Dennis Faas's picture

In the world of search engines, nothing beats Google. The competition, led by Yahoo, makes up a single digit fraction of the market attempting to challenge the Goliath.

However, with that success comes a substantial amount of attention from hackers and the like. The most recent issue facing Google were reports that users were seeing their cookies exploited, giving the web's most malicious access to a pile of personal information.

It's pretty simple. If a user is signed into their Google account, the pages they visit give the web host access to their cookies. This means the web host -- or the owner of the web site one is visiting -- can take a peak at Google documents, spreadsheets, Gmail, various accounts, and search history. In addition, the web host has access to the user's Google Reader and Google Notebook. (Source:

For most users, the most alarming news may have been the ability of a web host to access Gmail and any documents and spreadsheets. If you're wondering, yes, the web host could conceivably modify any materials he or she found within.

Fortunately, it appears Google has fixed the problem. However, those who found the story are posting it everywhere in hopes that end users will realize the potential dangers in posting valuable financial or personal information within Google's various accounts.

In addition, it forces Google to be more proactive with a security network that hasn't received the public criticism of other (sometimes less mainstream) applications, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista. (Source:

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