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Security from A to Z: Google

Just picture what the search giant has to do to keep all that data private. Part of a series on hot security topics.

What's Google got to do with security?

Well, rather a lot, when you consider the amount of data the search engine makes available to anyone with an Internet-connected PC and a curious mind.

Phishers, for instance, are using it to get more sophisticated in targeting their victims (a technique that became prominent in 2005, known as "spear phishing"). In addition, a bit of quality Google time can unearth a surprising amount of data on an individual or company.

But when it comes to corporate security, it's Google Desktop that's keeping techies awake at night. The search application extends the Mountain View muscle to all the files contained on a PC's hard drive. That puts corporate data security at risk, U.K. heads of IT polled by said.

And they are not alone in that view. At the start of this year, a university and a manufacturing company in the U.S. banned Google Desktop for the risk it posed to sensitive data and the fear it might be trampling on U.S. privacy regulations.

Natasha Lomas reported for in London.