Feeds

Google Docs suffers serious security lapse

Cloudbusting bug shares documents

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Google confessed to a serious bug in its Docs sharing system over the weekend, but downplayed the security cockup by claiming only a tiny number of users had been affected.

The internet search kingpin said that less than 0.05 per cent of Google Docs accounts were hit by a privacy breach after documents were shared “inadvertently” with other users.

Mountain View said in a blog post, penned by Docs product manager Jennifer Mazzon, that the security lapse was “limited to people with whom the document owner, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document.”

She claimed that very “few users” would have been affected by the bug “because it only could have occurred for a very small percentage of documents, and for those documents only when a specific sequence of user actions took place.”

Google said the error was limited to its Docs system within Google Apps and did not affect its spreadsheet system, though some presentations were also hit by the error.

The company fixed the bug by using what it described as an “automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents” that had been exposed to the security glitch.

In other words it stripped all sharing privileges from the documents affected by the bug and then informed affected users that they would have to manually re-share their documents.

“We're sorry for the trouble this has caused. We understand our users' concerns (in fact, we were affected by this bug ourselves) and we're treating this very seriously,” said Mazzon.

Google has recently been attempting to woo businesses away from desktop-based Office suites in favour of adopting the company's cloud-based Apps system.

In January Google confirmed it had inked deals with IT resellers to sell its online applications to biz customers. From the end of this month authorised resellers will be able to flog, customise and support premium versions of Google Apps.

However, this latest bug could lead some businesses to conclude that pushing their personal information up into the clouds simply poses too big a security risk. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.