Computer Crime Research Center


Accelerated privacy leak, Google

Date: May 06, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Compiled by CCRC staff

Google Labs has released a beta version of its Web Accelerator software designed to make surfing the Internet faster and more efficient.

The search giant said the latest application will speed the online experience and save significant amounts of time when pulling up Web pages.

"Web Accelerator is an application that uses Google's global computer network to make Web pages load faster," the company said.

There are numerous strategies Google has employed to make Web browsing faster, including sending page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Web Accelerator traffic. It also stores copies of frequently viewed pages to make them quickly accessible.

However, a software tool launched by Google on Wednesday that speeds up the process of downloading Web sites has caused some users to worry about their privacy.

Google Web Accelerator, which was released in beta, is set up to automatically work with Firefox and Internet Explorer once it's been downloaded. The service stores copies of sites frequently accessed by individual PCs and automatically retrieves new data from those pages, so that a Web browser needs to process only updates to those sites when asked to load them. It can also automatically "pre-fetch" frequently used Web sites before the user downloads it.

However, users are concerned that the service can cache more data from their computers than they would prefer.

According to the, already someone using the service has reported that they were logged into a forum under some other username.

Other sites are concerned that every cough and spit of their company’s web activity could end up posted somewhere else on the web. They may have lax security.

The is offering some free code to companies who want to block Google’s Web Accelerator traffic from accessing their web site here. It works by blocking the IP addresses.

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