A fairly problematic bug is affecting Google accounts, granting revoked users access to the Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics they originally had access to. For example, a business that fired an employee and revoked his or her access rights may find itself in the uncomfortable position of that embittered ex-employee regaining access to the tools. As you’d expect, angry tweets and forum posts are lighting up the Internet.
The folks over at The Next Web talked with eBay’s former Director of SEO Dennis Goedegebuure, who stated that he has regained access to eBay’s Webmaster Tools after having not worked for the company in over a year. A quick search for “Webmaster Tools” on Twitter reveals a host of tweets, many of which are angry, stating that they have either regained access or have had users added to Webmaster Tools who were previously revoked.
Just how much havoc could someone wreck with access to Webmaster Tools and Analytics? To start with, he or she could remove webmaster user access, followed by bumping pages off the index and purging sitemaps. This is on top of the massive amounts of data that will be accessible via Analytics, which include a variety of records and site reports.
Some users are reporting that old Gmail Talk contacts are also reappearing, suggesting that other services may be compromised as well. Google is no doubt frantically working to correct this issue. While we wait to see what damage is done, here’s a bit of random Twitter advice from @Skitzzo: “Never screw your SEO… you never know when Google will do something stupid like let them back into your Webmaster Tools account.”