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A Case of Hacking via Google Search

A disappointed former employee of a wireless communications company was found to use the Google search engine to gather information to halt the company's systems. As Google search records gave clear evidence, the person has been convicted.

Mathew Schuster, a computer expert faces a sentence of 15-months in prison for intruding into his ex-company, Alpha Computer Services. The man was found culprit of Google searches like "make device interfere wireless network" that were employed against him.

Mathew Schuster started his job as a computer technician for Apple Computer Services in Wausau, Wisc, in 2000. Schuster furnished technical help for a Wireless Internet System named CWWIS and also subscribed to Central Wisconsin Wireless Internet Service LLC (CWWIS) for his residence.

Schuster's company sacked him in May 2003. It terminated his home CWWIS account and refunded the balance of his monthly subscriber fees. However, Schuster continued to use CWWIS via "access information" owned by Alpha customers such as the Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau. The FBI said Schuster deliberately disrupted CWWIS.

Apart from this, Schuster used Google search to collect information for disrupting wireless systems. These searches were placed in the court. It is possible that Schuster used service records from Alpha Computer Services, which reflected as user behavior and searches on the company network.

The incidence increases concern over privacy breach. It also demonstrates that search engines like Google are capable to attach personal names to 'recorded behavior' and provide the information to people who subscribe to their services. Google has admitted that it can present search terms for a given Internet address or Web cookie. But it refused to disclose the frequency of such requests. In this connection Microsoft said it has never received such queries for its MSN Search and AOL has also declared its inability to provide such information.

According to a recent CNET report on privacy, Google does get requests for personal data from authorized entities but does not say how this information is put to use. All this gives to concerns that ISPs are accumulating too much of personal information, which goes against individual privacy.

Related article: A New "Blackmailing" Variant Creeps Around…

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