Thomas Mullaly

DevOps, Security and IT Leadership

10 Important Google Search Terms


  • The site operator is great for trolling through all the content Google has gathered for a target.
  • This operator is used in conjunction with many of the other queries presented here to narrow the focus of the search to one target. ##intitle:index.of
  • The universal search for Apache-style directory listings.
  • Directory listings provide a wealth of information for an attacker. ##error | warning
  • Error messages are also very revealing in just about every context.
  • In some cases, warning text can provide important insight into the behind-the-scenes code used by a target. ##login | logon
  • This query locates login portals fairly effectively.
  • It can also be used to harvest usernames and troubleshoot procedures. ##username | userid | employee.ID | “your username is”
  • This is one of the most generic searches for username harvesting.
  • In cases where this query does not reveal usernames, the context around these words can reveal procedural informations an attacker can use in later offensive action. ##admin | administrator
  • Using the two most common terms for the owner or maintainer of a site, this query can also be used to reveal procedural information (“contact your administrator”) and even admin login portals. ##-ext:html -ext:htm -ext:shtml -ext:asp -ext:php
  • This query, when combined with the site operator, gets the most common files out of the way to reveal more interesting documents.
  • This query locates backup or tempory files and directories ##inurl:temp | inurl:tmp | inurl:backup | inurl:bak
  • This query locates backup or temporary files and directories. ##intranet | help.desk
  • This query locates intranet sites ( which are often supposed to be protected from the general public) and help desk contact information and procedures.