Flaw Discovered in Google Desktop Search, Fixed
"We were made aware of this vulnerability with the Google Desktop Search software and have since fixed the problem so that all current and future users are secure," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
The flaw, discovered by Rice University computer scientists, was first reported by the New York Times on Monday.
Google's desktop search software was introduced in beta, or test mode, two months ago in order to give PC users the ability to quickly search through their hard drives for e-mail, files and other information.
Google's desktop search program displays information retrieved from the PC hard drive alongside search results in a Web browser, and the software flaw would allow a hacker to exploit that feature, an assistant professor and two graduate students at Rice University discovered, according to the New York Times article.
The software flaw that would allow a hacker to trick Google's desktop search software into sending information retrieved from a hard drive to be sent to a Web site other than Google's.Desktop search is the latest battleground between Google and its two main search rivals, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) . Microsoft recently launched a preliminary version of its desktop search tool and Yahoo is planning to debut its own tool next month.