Seedy, sensitive, and secret Google Docs info exposed by simple Yandex search

Maksim Blinov/Sputnik

Russia’s internet was blown wide open for about three hours on July 4 after search giant Yandex published an index of Google Docs that could be accessed publicly.

Everything from lists of passwords, addresses and prices of St. Petersburg prostitutes, black accounts of various companies, personal data, and other confidential information was being scoured by opportunistic web surfers. All of this was accessible simply by doing a Yandex search for “passwords” on the Google Docs site.  

Google allows users to choose the privacy settings on documents but it seems many people either forgot to make their
private or simply thought the access was not searchable. A few hours after people realized what had happened Yandex removed Google Docs user documents from its search. The Yandex security service has contacted Google about the problem.

"Yandex indexes only the open part of the Internet - those pages that are available when clicking on links without entering a login and password,” Yandex’s press service said. “Pages that are not indexed by the site administrator in the robots.txt file are not indexed by Yandex, even if they are in the open part of the Internet.”

The situation smacks of Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the personal information of about 87 million people was revealed to an election data company.

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