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In Phrase Operators
A investigation into "In Phrase Operators", by Elwood
(slightly edited by fravia+)  

Published @ in early April 2006
| Version 0.01 |
(part of password lore)

The background

Searching is a strange beast indeed, constant surprises arrive when you least expect them.

In Phrase Operators
by Elwood, April 2006

(Note: The query examples displayed here are primary used with the Google search engine, yet as we will see they will work in Yahoo and in many other search engines as well.)

What is an "In Phrase Operator" you'll ask? Well, in fact you already know them.

They are the numrange and the Boolean OR operator.

But did you know they possess a magical searching property? Both can be used within a phrase search.


Long form numrange: 0..100  or numrange: 0-100   short form 0..100

What do we know about the numrange operator?

It can be used within a phrase, extremely powerful! 

It can be thought of as a numeric only wildcard with limits.

Snippet by nemo & Ms V. Isa
64..500-kb <-- for file size search
-2..10 or $-2..10 <-- for price search
red-head-000..999-jpg <-- for pr0n search
"0..31 * 1996..2004" or "0..31 1996..2004" <-- to search written dates (very useful for news search)
20000000000000..29999999999999 <-- library barcode! come here!!! hehehe

As you can see from the above the numrange operator makes for some useful filters. But do you notice the second last entry?

"0..31 * 1996..2004" , we are using an operator within a phrase.  

"snd ** mp3 *-* 2004..2006 2..10 +m"  another example.

So, let us look at the numrange operator as a numeric only wildcard with limits.

Numbers are sometimes used as passwords.

    For unknown user names types with numeric passwords

        "user * password 0..99999999999" or  "user * password 100000000..99999999"  (eight digit password)

    For numeric user names and numeric passwords

        "user 0..99999999999 password 0..99999999999"

    For numeric user names  with unknown password type

        "user 0..99999999999 password *"

The fact that the numrange operator could be used within a phrase, leads me to another question.

Is it the only operator that can be used within a phrase? Apparently not.

Boolean OR

Boolean OR used within a phrase

"user OR username * password 0..99999999999"

Boolean OR with nesting used within a phrase

"(user OR username OR login ) * password 0..99999999999"

E-mail usernames

"**@**.(com OR edu OR net) (password OR pass) 0..9999999999"

Know usernames

"(root OR admin OR administrator OR supervisor) (pass OR password) 0..999999999999"

Default Passwords Lists

"user * password * OR 0..99999999999" "default password"

Other Examples

Have you ever reached the Google 32 word limit?

"(advanced OR effective) internet (search OR searching)"   using 5 terms 102,000 Results

Should in theory be the same as 

"advanced internet searching" OR "effective internet searching" OR "advanced internet search" OR "effective internet search" using 12 terms 94,100 Results

Which will you use?

Another Date Filter...  with the option to specify which  years and months you are interested in.

"1..31 jan OR feb OR mar OR apr OR may OR jun OR jul OR aug OR sep OR oct OR nov OR dec 2005..2006 " and

" jan OR feb OR mar OR apr OR may OR jun OR jul OR aug OR sep OR oct OR nov OR dec 2005..2006 "

Reverse it.

" 2005..2006 jan OR feb OR mar OR apr OR may OR jun OR jul OR aug OR sep OR oct OR nov OR dec "

Ok so we can use OR operator in a phrase search will it work anywhere else?

intitle:"advanced OR effective internet searching" (google)

intitle:"(advanced OR effective) internet searching" (yahoo)

 inanchor:"user OR username  * pass 0..9999999999"

intext:"user OR username * pass 0..9999999999"

inurl: Generates an Error "Error... We're sorry...but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application."


Powerful stuff indeed, with some imagination I am sure you can do better ;-)
The fact that this proof of concept works both with Google and Yahoo suggests that more engines may also support these truly wonderful new features. I am not sure about the real reason why this actually works. I think it may have something to do with the order in which the query is parsed and evaluated by these search engines.
Any explanations would be quite welcome. 

(c) Elwood, April 2006

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(c) III Millennium: [fravia+], all rights reserved, reversed, reviled and revealed