Google Webmaster Tools Security Breach Fixed

Nov 28, 2012 • 9:08 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster Tools Security BreachLast night, there was a pretty significant security breach giving unauthorized access to your Google Webmaster Tools. Google has fixed the security issue this morning but not after it being an issue for probably about 12 hours.

@patrickaltoft pinged me about this last night on Twitter but I didn't see the issue myself in Google Webmaster Tools. Plus I didn't see any other complaints about it in the Google Webmaster forums. But State Of Search blog and David Naylor saw it and documented the issue. We later covered it at Search Engine Land after not hearing back from Google about the issue.

This morning, Google sent us a statement saying:

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.

It is unclear if any damage was done over that 12 hour period but for some, it was incredibly nerve racking knowing that some people may have unauthorized access to your Webmaster Tools account and do some serious damage to your site in Google.

Here is a screen shot from David Naylor showing the unauthorized access:

click for full size

This morning I spotted only a couple threads with complaints about the issue.

Did any damage happen to your site's due to this?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Terry Van Horne

11/28/2012 02:20 pm

this has been going on for a lot longer than 12 hrs. John Mueller was informed of people with GA access being able to change disavow tool even though they did not have access to Webmaster Tools... John suggested using different method of verification for GWT... namely to use the file in root method. this was discussed during a hangout right after the disavow tool was released

Sha Menz

11/28/2012 03:51 pm

The "fix" took out "user access" to GA, resulting in people thinking we had revoked their access. Nice one Google. Thanks a lot.

Website Developers

11/29/2012 04:30 am

There was some issues as messages were not coming if the change the crawl rate or targeted audience.


11/29/2012 08:43 am

smart fix, haha

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