Feeds

Google Docs suffers serious security lapse

Cloudbusting bug shares documents

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.