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Find open FTP servers using Google Operators

Did you know that in some cases it is possible for an anonymous user to view the files on FTP servers without a user name or password? Did you also know that you can search for it very specifically, for example using Google operators? We would like to explain how you can find ‘ open ‘ FTP servers.

To see if a website has an FTP server, instead of typing the letters ‘ www ‘ for the domain name, you can use the letters ‘ FTP ‘. In many cases, you will now see a login screen where you can log in with a username and password. However, there are also FTP servers that are open and of which the files are thus insightful. We’ll explain to you below how to find it.

In addition, the top image shows an example of how you can replace the URL www.aware-online.com in ftp.aware-online.com in the search bar to see if Aware Online has an FTP server. In the image below you can see that a login screen appears when you are approaching our FTP server.

What is a FTP server (in short)?

The letters FTP stand for ‘File Transfer Protocol‘, which means a protocol with which one can, for example, upload files to a website from the computer. This can be achieved by means of a program such as FileZilla, which allows you to manage the files on their own website. Because it is generally necessary to protect access to the files on FTP server for third parties, you often have to log in to the FTP server with a user name and a password. However, there are also FTP servers where this access is not protected , so you can view the files on a website as an “anonymous” user. And this can give you as a investigator just the extra information you are missing.

Find open FTP servers using Google Operators

We assume that you have ever heard of Google operators . You can use these operators as you know to set advanced search queries to Google. Below search question you can ask to find ‘ open ‘ FTP servers via Google:

Step 1: go to www.google.com

Step 2: type inurl: FTP-inurl: http-inurl: HTTPS in on Google or inurl: FTP-inurl: (http | https) If you have some more experience with Google operators. What you are actually asking about Google is to show websites that include FTP but do not have HTTP and HTTPS (protocols for communication between a web client and a web server). Click here for an example.

Step 3: you will now see results in Google. If you look closely you will see in the green section (the URL) always ftp://ftp. , which means that you have now found “open” FTP servers for which you do not need a user name and/or password. Click here for an example.

Step 4: If you click on one of the websites, you will see that you are on the server and that you can view various folders and the> files on a server. You’ll see that you can simply click through on different folders and, for example, end up with webpages, photos, and PDF files. Click here for an example.

Step 5: you have now found an open FTP server. So how can you combine this search with your own target? Very simple, for example, by adding the name of your target in double quotation marks in your search string in Google. Click here for an example.

Ready: You can repeat this step with multiple information about your target to find out if there might be some information about your target on an FTP server somewhere. Good luck!

Additional note

Please ensure that you always comply with the applicable laws and regulations.

Want to learn more?

Want to know more about how you can use Google operators in your research? Or do you have any additions to this article? Let us know!