Researcher: Google Gadgets can be misused by phishers

A security researcher says Google's Gadget technology could be misused by phishers.

The domain used to host small Google Gadget applications written by Web developers could be misused by phishers, a Web security researcher said Friday.

Google Gadgets are little programs that gather information on the Web and then display them on multiple Web pages. They are used to give Webmasters an easy way to display everything from sports scores to astronomical data on their sites.

Unfortunately, they can also be misused by phishers to get around antiphishing filters. Attackers could create a phishing site on the gmodules.com domain and then send that URL to victims. Because Google's gmodules.com domain is trusted by antiphishing filters, victims might then go to the phishing site without being warned by their browser's filtering software.

Security researcher Robert Hansen, a frequent critic of Google, reported the issue to the company's security team, but he was not satisfied with their response. He says Google told him that what he sees as a flaw is simply part of the site's expected behavior. Google couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

Google should restrict the URLs that can use this domain to avoid helping online criminals, said Hansen, who is CEO of SecTheory LLC . "If they leave it intact, I guarantee you it will be used in an attack."

Such an attack would probably be obvious, however, to a vigilant Web surfer, who would know better than to enter banking information on a site hosted on the gmodules.com domain.

There's not much that can be done to prevent phishers from abusing sites like this, if Google wants to let its users create content, said Alex Stamos, a researcher with Isec Partners. "They have to have this throw-away domain to jail modules written by other people," he said via e-mail. "It's not an unreasonable model, and it's the best they can do to host content created by malicious parties while not exposing themselves to attack."

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?