Shodan – The "Dark" Google
Posted: May 1, 2013 by Maja Johnson
Shodan is a search engine developed by John Matherly that can literally find anything that is connected on the Internet.
Unlike Google which uses its web crawlers to find sites on the Internet, Shodan can find any device that is connected to the Internet. This includes servers, routers, printers, web cameras, even traffic lights, security cameras and heating systems.
According to CNN, the search engine collects data 24/7 from nearly 500 million devices every month. It detects any device that has virtually no security or has an easy penetrable password. This is quite disturbing and states that many companies, organizations, and websites, are vulnerable or can be hacked very easily. Imagine being able to shut down the light of a factory with just a click of a button, or messing the traffic lights of an entire city.
Security officials state that such systems should not be connected to the Internet at all. Their place is not on the Internet in the first place. However, with the modernization of the technology, it is much easier to control such systems through computers. Once those computers get connected to a server, the systems become "available" to anyone who uses the Internet.
Shodan is most commonly used by law enforcement agencies and security professionals. When users register, they have to state what they want to find, and usually pay a fee. A registered user gets about 50 concrete results in each search. Unregistered users get much less than that, usually around 10.
Even though many believe that this search engine can be used for criminal actions, its developer believes that cyber criminals already have everything they need without Shodan.