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."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?