Google Webmaster Tools security breach

Nov 28, 2012 | comments

Google site that helps website owners manage how their site appears in Google, diagnose problems, and optimize traffic, is currently experiencing a major security breach.
Old accounts are being re-verified, says Search Engine Journal. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s a potential disaster for anyone who has had search engine optimizers working on their websites.

Hopefully, no black hats are taking advantage of special access to former clients’ sites, as they could cause significant damage by uploading fake sitemaps, requesting removal of key URLs from Google’s index, re-configuring U.S.-based sites to target users in Kazakhstan, Timbuktu, or any other random place, and setting Google’s crawl rate at a ridiculously slow pace, among other things.

The breach goes as far as granting access to sites’ Google Analytics accounts as well, at least in some cases. That allows access to extremely sensitive information that companies and sites do not want former employees or consultants seeing or sharing.
Google hasn’t commented on the issue yet, as far as I can tell, and the Google Webmaster Tools blog has not been updated since November 12.

UPDATED : Google has now released a comment :-

“For several hours yesterday a small set of Webmaster Tools accounts were incorrectly re-verified for people who previously had access. We’ve reverted these accounts and are investigating ways to prevent this issue from recurring.”
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