Google fixes Webmaster Tools access flaw

For several hours, people who formerly had formal access to sites' Webmaster Tools accounts were given access again by mistake. There is as yet no evidence of anyone causing damage due to the error.

Google has fixed a security flaw in its Webmaster Tools, which gave temporary access to sites' tools to people who previously had official access, but were no longer supposed to.

The issue was first reported on Tuesday, with several people noting that old accounts had been reverified — this meant that, for example, disgruntled former employees could mess up a site's search optimisation.

According to The Next Web, a former eBay SEO chief was one of the people who was offered access again, although he says he did not take the opportunity.

The error seems to have been in place for around half a day, and on Wednesday Google sent out the following statement:

"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 not clear as yet whether any damage was done during the incident. ZDNet UK has approached Google for comment but has heard nothing back as yet.