We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Google Desktop 3.0 may pose security risk

According to leading market research firm

The beta of Google Desktop 3.0 poses a security risk to many companies and use of the software should be tightly controlled, Gartner said in a research note last week.

Google Desktop 3.0 is the latest version of Google's desktop search application. The software's 'search across computers' feature allows users to seek out information stored on other PCs and servers. To do this, Google stores an index of files contained on a PC running the software for 30 days, promising that the information is encrypted and accessible to a limited number of Google employees, according to Gartner.

While the 'search across computers' function offers a measure of convenience, allowing this data to leave the safety of a corporate network is a concern despite Google's assurances, Gartner said. "Its mere transport outside the enterprise will represent an unacceptable security risk to many enterprises," it said.

To mitigate this risk, the research firm advised IT managers to stop employees using the individual version of the software and install the enterprise version, called Google Desktop for Enterprise, on their computers instead.

IT managers should then disable the 'search across computers' function in the enterprise version of the software, Gartner said. "They must also evaluate what information they are allowing be indexed [by Google Desktop], and whether they are comfortable that they can adequately bar the sharing of data with Google's servers," it said.

Gartner is not the first to warn users to steer clear of the 'search across computers' function in Google Desktop. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) previously advised users to disable the function.

The US Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986 affords less privacy protection to data stored on online service provider servers than to data stored on a home or work PC, the EFF said. As a result, the US government and private litigants only need a subpoena instead of a search warrant to access files stored on Google servers.

Google executives were not immediately available to comment.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia