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Google security problem: logging in to two accounts at once

March 4, 2010 2 Comments

Update: apparently this is because:

Some Google products use separate account cookies, so you can be logged into different products with different users.  Occasionally useful, often confusing.

People are often complaining that they want to log into two Gmail accounts at once (the answer is to use two browsers, or Chrome in incognito mode). I seem to now be logged into two accounts at once - even though I don't want to be - potentially exposing someone else's details.

Here's the problem ... this is my profile page with me logged in (don't bother emailing the Gmail email address shown, I never even look at it) - this is the one that lists the google services I have at the bottom.

Logged in as me

Logged in as me

Unsurprisingly, if I right click and open Google Analytics in a new window, then I see the sites associated with my Gmail address, and I'm still showing as me (ie my gmail address shows at the top).

My Google Analytics for my sites

My Google Analytics for my sites

But if I right click and open webmaster tools, I'm logged in as someone else - a different email address is showing, and a different site (I've blacked out the details).

Someone else's webmaster tools page

Someone else's webmaster tools page

The second account is someone who gave me access for a spot of SEO consulting.

In both the GA and WMT tab I can browse around the pages, looking at information on either site.

This might not seem especially worrying but:

  1. Could this happen on a public computer? Could I somehow get access to a previous login that was, in fact, nothing to do with me?
  2. How the hell do I see my webmaster tools information (I guess I'll log out and log in again - I'll try that later).

Have you seen anything similar? What do you think?

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  • Kev Strong says:

    Hmm, I would be worried by this if I was Google.

    I wonder if it's a knock on effect of the the latest Multi-Auth Webmaster Tools that Google just released?

    Can you get into EVERYTHING from your m.coles account - as in right-clicking your Gmail, does it take you to your clients gmail etc?

    • Doesn't seem related - it's not that I can see her WMT a/c from my list of sites. It's that it's showing her email address in the top right corner (Which the multi-auth thing wouldn't / shouldn't do).

      And no, it's only webmaster tools I've got into. But then she doesn't have that many google services as I recall.

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