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Strange Webmaster Tools bug... seeing someone else's data

     
6:29 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is strange. I was just browsing around Webmaster Tools in the url removal section and upon clicking the list of different sites (in the top right corner), I saw a list of sites belonging to someone else, all in Spanish and all linking to the ES (hl=es) version of Webmaster Tools.

I can't reproduce this, but both worrying and strange. I'm going to take a stab and suggest there might be some session security issues.

*moderator: No idea which forum to post this but here.
7:57 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure there are many potential loophole in WMT access - ever since they made sharing of accounts with other Google accounts possible.

I wonder, since you can't reproduce this, if someone was trying to share their account and got it wrong the first time - a simple typo, for example. They could have quickly discovered their error when the other party still couldn't see the account and then made a quick fix.

[edited by: tedster at 4:28 pm (utc) on Mar 5, 2012]

8:12 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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That thought crossed my mind, tedster, but the email address associated with my account is very unlikely to have been entered as a typo. I also have my doubts about that theory because the links to the other sites were not in my own language, but to the Spanish version whereas every other link on the page was for English pages. I checked the sites listed and none are operated by any person or company I've ever been associated with.

To be honest, it reminded me of an issue a friend had years ago after installing "load optimization" software where users logged in would be served content based on others who have recently logged in because of database caching.
9:07 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I had the same thing happen to me about 3 days ago (1st Mar 2012). I should have taken a screen shot. I was clicking around my various properties and was about to change the website with the drop down in the top right of the screen and was greeted with about 6 random websites of which I've never had any sort of dealings with. Perhaps they are on a shared server of mine? Dunno. Anyhow, I clicked one hoping to snoop on someone else's profile and it just went to an error page.
9:09 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I"ve just realised... I've been a member here since 2006 and have only posted 20 times! I guess that makes me a mega lurker. A very well-informed at that! Thanks for all great into WebmasterWorld, and especially to you Tedster :)
7:08 am on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just happened to me too... got a list of random sites in the dropdown on the right hand side. Got some screenshots...

Completely random. Did it again and got a new list of sites. When you click on them it doesn't show them thou. Looks like data corruption.

Then there's the nonsense 5000+ pages googlebot is trying to find on my site. Google has lost the plot.

[edited by: anteck at 7:11 am (utc) on Mar 5, 2012]

7:28 am on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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You made me look. My dropdown box included a domain that I abandoned in 2005 and, upon refresh, it vanished :/

To my knowledge nobody has ever picked up this domain after me, it's not currently registered, but could the data be a list of domains that at one time belonged to the same owner as other sites you have verified?

Weird, but not entirely useful. Ah well.
11:48 am on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've never seen or heard of any of the random sites I've seen, but they were all hosted in Spain and in Spanish so I reckon they are owned by the same person, though I haven't bothered to check.
4:30 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Interesting that several similar reports have now been shared. Where there's smoke... ? Maybe WMT did have a recent security bug of some kind.
4:46 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've also noticed this. Seems to be when your session has expired and you click on the drop down for your list of sites.
It only affects the sites you recently visited and you can't view the data for the site. So it's not serious really.
5:06 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I got an edu site listed -- and this wmxstasy.sandbox.google.com/malware

I don't like the keywords in the second URL :)
5:12 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This also happened to me a few days ago and as described when clicking on one of those other sites it just lead to an error page. At first I thought my credentials may have been stolen. Since it happened that one time I have not seen it happen again.
7:30 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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>> So it's not serious really.

Being able to view *ANY* data that you've not been authenticated or authorized to view is very serious.