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Google removes private data from antiphishing site

Login data and passwords inadvertently exposed

Google has removed user names and passwords from a phishing blacklist it compiles and makes publicly available on the web, the California company said yesterday.

The inadvertantly posted login information was contained in 15 URLs submitted through Google's Firefox toolbar, which lets users report web pages they suspect to belong to phishing sites. Most of the URLs on the list didn't have login information.

Google said it also has implemented a mechanism that detects when a submitted URL contains login data and prevents that information from getting posted to the list.

"We are in the process of notifying the users who inadvertently disclosed this information and suggesting that they reset associated passwords," Google said in an emailed statement.

Finjan found the sensitive information on the list and informed Google in early January, the security vendor said yesterday.

In addition to user names and passwords, the list also included email addresses and session tokens, putting in jeopardy users' privacy, Finjan said.

Finjan has posted a snapshot of a portion of the list here containing the offending URLs, albeit with the sensitive information blacked out.

Users of the Firefox toolbar get a chance to review the suspicious URLs they plan to submit to Google, Google said.

More information about the Safe Browsing feature in Firefox can be obtained here. The Safe Browsing feature isn't available in Google's Internet Explorer toolbar.


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