Bug in new Google feature exposes links

Bug in new Google feature exposes links

Summary: Philipp is on the ball covering a problem with the new Google Webmaster Tools feature that lets users see a true picture of both incoming and outgoing links.  For a short time, users were easily able to see the link structure for any website they wanted.

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TOPICS: Google
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Philipp is on the ball covering a problem with the new Google Webmaster Tools feature that lets users see a true picture of both incoming and outgoing links.  For a short time, users were easily able to see the link structure for any website they wanted.


This isn't a huge security problem -- the "link:" operator is already available to anyone who wants to use it.  This feature just gives users a more accurate picture of which sites are linking where. 

Here are a list of websites and their respective backlink count from Google Blogoscoped:

  • Google.com: 1,432,908 backlinks
    (in comparison, the “link:” operator shows a backlink count of 1,750,000)
  • Yahoo.com: 1,431,186 backlinks
    (in comparison, the “link:” operator shows a backlink count of 1,990,000 )
  • MSN.com: 839,927 backlinks
  • TechCrunch.com: 268,732 backlinks
  • Digg.com: 492,480 backlinks
  • BoingBoing.net: 920,345 backlinks
  • SearchEngineLand.com: 25,841 backlinks
  • Waxy.org/links: 79,428 backlinks
  • MicroPersuasion.com: 195,541 backlinks

Even though the seriousness of this problem is questionble, it was very quickly fixed.  To demonstrate how easy it was to get this information, here is an example:

"https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ externallinks?siteUrl= http%3A%2F%2Fblog.outer-court.com%2F&hl=en& bplink=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.outer-court.com

... could be replaced with ...

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ externallinks?siteUrl= http%3A%2F%2Fblog.outer-court.com%2F&hl=en& bplink=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com" -- Philipp

[image from Google Blogoscoped

Topic: Google

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