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Fake Google Maps listings recorded calls to the FBI, Secret Service

01
Mar
2014

After failing to get Googles attention about alleged security weaknesses on location listings added to Google Maps, an engineer created his own fake listings on the service that recorded calls made to the FBI and Secret Service. Bryan Seely, a former Microsoft and Avanade employee, set up listings to both government offices using a combination of Googles Map Maker and Google Places, then used call recording software to tape calls made to the real offices, which the numbers forwarded to without the caller knowing. The ruse, which Seely detailed to Valleywag, lasted just four days, but managed to get the attention of the Secret Service, which eventually thanked him for it. Google declined to comment on the issue, but said it regularly removes any listings that violate its policies: We work hard to remove listings that are reported to violate our policies as quickly as possible, and to check bad actors that try to game the system by altering business descriptions once they are live on Google Maps.

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