The RDV Group InfoSec Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Update II on Google Desktop

Google has admitted that it's Desktop Beta could pose a security risk after Gartner reported the risk. CNET reports that: "Gartner said in a report on Thursday that the "mere transport (of data) outside the enterprise will represent an unacceptable security risk to many enterprises," as intellectual property could be transported out of the business."

Evidently Google's response was "... it recognized the risk, and recommended that companies take action. "We recognize that this is a big issue for enterprise. Yes, it's a risk, and we understand that businesses may be concerned," said Andy Ku, European marketing manager for Google. Google confirmed to ZDNet UK that data was temporarily transported outside of businesses when the Search Across Computers feature was used, and that this represented "as much of a security risk as e-mail does."

But mature procedures for securing email exist, and most users/business realize there is some risk. This is new technology, and as such hasn't been subjected to the rigors of testing or has the awareness of it's vulnerability sunk in.

"Google said that security was the concern of individual businesses. "The burden falls on enterprises to look after security issues," Ku said. "Companies can disable the Search Across Computers facility."

Gartner has recommended that businesses use Google Desktop for Enterprise, as this allows systems administrators to centrally turn off the Search Across Computers feature, which it said should be "immediately disabled."


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