Scammers Take Advantage of Google Maps Redirection Flaw

Alfred Osborne
May 5, 2018

"The crooks have turned a service designed for shortening and sharing Google Maps URLs into an impromptu redirection service for sharing whatever the heck they like, thanks to an open redirection vulnerability in the maps.app.goo.gl service".

Google said it has streamlined the process of embedding Google Maps into apps.

Sophos reported that the suspect links are not easy to report, and more worrying was the fact that Google has known about the issue since September past year.

That's unlike Google's soon-to-be retired URL shortener goo.gl, which can be used to hide links to malware or phishing sites, but also has a simple way for recipients to report scam links. Google has just announced the next stage of development for the Maps ecosystem, including a new platform that streamlines the APIs already available and makes them easier to implement.

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On the business side, Google is moving to a single pay-as-you-go pricing scheme for Google Maps Platform. This consolidation is meant to make it easier to "find, explore and add new features" to apps, with existing code continuing to work. Obviously, Google appears to be looking for ways to cash in on the service as well as extend its enterprise offerings. The platform was officially announced on May 2 with Google highlighting that the platform builds on the Google Maps API features for games that were announced in March, by introducing solutions that are tailored to ride-sharing businesses and asset tracking businesses. Google says that scalability will also be improved with this reorganization.

Earlier this year, Google confirmed plans to shut down its goo.gl URL shortening service. The previous update allowed developers to create real-world games using Google Maps data.

From 11 June, access to the Google Maps Platform will require a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform account to pay fees into.

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