Google Dorking: How a Simple Google Search Can Expose Your Sensitive Data

We’re all so used to searching for things on Google—It’s almost second nature to us. Want to know tomorrow’s weather? Google it. Need a recipe for dinner? Google’s got your back. But here’s the thing: Google can do a lot more than we realize. Instead of just typing in something like ‘easy homemade recipes,’ which might return tons of pages that aren’t exactly what you need, you can add more to your search to narrow down your results. For example, you could type ‘intitle:”homemade” intitle:”recipe”’ Using these additional search parameters, a basic example of the tactic called “Google Dorking,” helps you find pages on that have ‘homemade’ and ‘recipe’ in the title. Pretty efficient, right? Maybe even a bit too efficient. While it’s extremely helpful for refining your searches, Google Dorking is also a tool that attackers can use to probe for potential vulnerabilities on your websites, namely sensitive information inadvertently left accessible to the public.

Understanding the Power of Google Dorking

Google Dorking, as illustrated by the above example, is a method that capitalizes on Google’s search capabilities in order to refine and target specific search results. While the ‘intitle’ and ‘site’ operators were highlighted in the earlier example, other operators can be combined to produce a variety of specific outcomes. For example, the search ‘filetype:pdf intext:”payroll”’ (where represents a company website) would return every single pdf document on the site that includes the word “payroll” in it, possibly exposing sensitive employee payroll information to an attacker. This can be easily prevented if your website’s private documents are kept inaccessible by the public, which is why it’s so important to take preventative measures against these attacks.

The Dangerous Simplicity of Dorking

The danger of Dorking doesn’t necessarily lie in its power, but rather in its simplicity and ease of use. Hamid Firoozi’s case is a great example of this. Firoozi used Google Dorking to identify an unguarded computer in the Bowman Avenue Dam’s network. After discovering said computer, he gained remote access to it and was luckily unable to cause damage to the dam as the sluice gates had been offline for maintenance. Nonetheless, the simplicity of his approach was alarming; a few well-crafted search terms revealed a pathway to a potentially disastrous breach. This case serves as a potent reminder that Google Dorking empowers even those with limited technical prowess to uncover weak points in seemingly secure systems; It exemplifies the necessity to keep your systems updated and secure, and most importantly your network’s information inaccessible to the public.

Safeguarding Against Google Dorking Exploits

To defend against potential threats posed by Google Dorking, the following steps can be taken:

  • Regular Security Audits: Conduct periodic audits of your website’s security to identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited through advanced search queries.
  • Utilize Robots.txt: Utilize the robots.txt file to restrict search engine access to sensitive sections of your website, limiting exposure to Dorking techniques.
  • Stay Vigilant: Consistently monitor your website’s exposure to potential Dorking techniques and take swift action if any sensitive information is inadvertently accessible.
  • Educate Yourself and Others: Educating your team about the risks of Google Dorking and preventative measures to counteract it can help prevent unintended data exposure.


While search engines constantly optimize and innovate in order to bring the most relevant results to our screens, the tools they provide to specify our searches carry a strong power in their colons and operators, a power utilized negatively in Google Dorking. By understanding this technique, remaining informed, and implementing anti-Dorking cybersecurity measures, we can strike a balance between utilizing the power of advanced searches and safeguarding our digital realms against potential threats.

How Can Netizen Help?

Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time. 

We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type. 

Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.

Netizen is an ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management), ISO 9001:2015, and CMMI V 2.0 Level 3 certified company. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring and retention of military veterans. 

Questions or concerns? Feel free to reach out to us any time –

Copyright © Netizen Corporation. All Rights Reserved.