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Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

Badged Google Partner
# 1
Badged Google Partner

Hi

Pease note I made a cross posting to Adwords forum as well.

I have a serious problem (and I think others as well).
One of our customers has unauthorized access to the list of some Analytics view name owned by other customers (not the actual data - but actually had no chance did not try it, and I do not want to try).

The problem
I have an MCC account (aaa-aaa-aa37) with a login email m*****s*****@gmail.com, I use and used this email (google account) to access to Google Analytics. Our customer granted Google Analytics rights to this account, many of these rights was granted years ago.

A few days ago we configured an account a new customer (customer already had adwords and Analytics).
First user granted Analytics property (not account) rights to m*****s*****@gmail.com.
Second I sent a request to link customer adwords account (bbb-bbb-bbb7) to link to my MCC (aaa-aaa-aa37). User accepted the link request.
Then in the customer Adwords account (important NOT via MCC, but the customer used his own google account to login Adwords) - when he tried to link Adwords and Analytics -
a list of some analytics view name owned by other customers appeared in their Adwords account (fortunately just some views and not all I have access).


I think it is very serious problem (and it was really embarassing moment at the customer, in a politically sensitive enverionment) to show any data to another customer without the clear consent of the parties.
Unfortunatelly Adwords customer support even does not understand the problem. Even when I link Adwords MCC to Analytcs it writes: " You can also choose to import site engagement metrics for all client accounts." So it is YOU and not your customer!!

I understand the intent to help MCC admins to link views, however these views should be shown when adwords account accessed via MCC (and MCC admin have the proper rights) and they should not be shown when adwords account owners try to link Adwords and Analytics.
And I did not find any warning about this behavior in support documentation.

Regards,

Istvan

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner

Unfortunately I am not able to upload screenshots (always have error message when uploading photo)

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

Community Manager
# 3
Community Manager
Hi Istvan,

Just to clarify, was any customer data available to the other customer beyond the name of the other Analytics views? I'm assuming you're talking about the linking process that involves going to Account Settings > Linking > Google Analytics > and going through the menu and selecting views to link from the AdWords account.

Cassie

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 4
Badged Google Partner

HI Cassie
Thanks for answering
Yes. I am speaking about the linking process.
The name of the analytics views was visible for the other user (that's a problem itself as these names bear information about other customers, customers' intent).
I do not know, whether the actual linking would be successful, I ask my customer to not to try.

Unfortunately, I am not able to upload images here (alwasy get an error messsage, when I try to send the post, or the answer with image) - If you cantact met <edited by a Community Manager as noted below> I could send 2 screenshots.

When customer clicks on an individual link from the lest, He sees 3 buttons (switches)
"Links" - This on is turned off - But it seems as an active button, so I think He could be able to import data from another account.
"Linked by Manager Account" this one is turned on (but it seems as an inactive button in his account - and I think the problem is with the improper settings of the Manager Account linking)


"Import site metric" - It is on.

Note: I deactivated all Manager Account linking to Analytics, however today I switched back on (as that view belongs to our company, and does not contains sensitive data)

Regards,
István 

 

 

Note: this post has been edited by a Community Manager, per Community Posting Guidelines. For safety and security reasons, please do not post personal information on the Community.

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

Community Manager
# 5
Community Manager
Hi Istvan,

If you would like to share screenshots, you can post them to another image hosting site (ex. imgur) and then post the link back here.

However, I don't think I need a screenshot in this case. This is an intended behavior in the system--the names of other properties and views within an Analytics account will be visible in the AdWords linking section if the email used to log into AdWords is the same as the linked account in Analytics. Views which have been linked to that specific AdWords account will show up in blue on the Linking page, and those which are not yet available to link will be gray/faded out. This is so that, as an account manager, you can see which views you can and cannot link.

As long as you have not linked Client B's Analytics view to Client A's AdWords account in the Admin section of Analytics, or given Client A permissions throughout the Analytics account, Client A will not be able to import any metrics from Client B's site.

Cassie

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 6
Badged Google Partner

Dear Cassie
Your Wrote:
"As long as you have not linked Client B's Analytics view to Client A's AdWords account in the Admin section of Analytics, or given Client A permissions throughout the Analytics account, Client A will not be able to import any metrics from Client B's site"

 

I am sure, not only Metrics but the even the name of the views, and list of the views are customer data, these data shall not be shown to any other customer without permission.


I did not (and my customers did not) linked Client B's Analytics view to Clientt A's Adwords account in Analytics (etc.),  client A still was able to see Client B's list of views, and that's a problem.... And based on the screenshots Client A had the possibility to get metrics as well (fortunatelly he did not)

This is what Client A sees - Client A able to see client B's and C's and ... list of analytics views - However Client B (and C and...) never granted right to client A.

Client B granted right to my Account only and I nevet granted rights (as I was not able to in many case) to Cliant A to see this list or get metrics from oher customer data. However you should know all these views were linked to my MCC account and I think this caused the problem, somehow these linked views appeared not only in my MCC but apperared in the Client A adwords account.

http://imgur.com/Gmz60Bc

 

So when client A click on the edit (szerkesztés) button Clieant A can see this, he had the possiblity to import metrics from another account.

http://imgur.com/buiwQaU

 

So I ams sure this is a problem, intended OR not. 

I am waiting for a soultion not just an explanation as I am convinced (on my experience with this account at the customer) this is a seriuos security probelm.

 

Regards,

István

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

[ Edited ]
Community Manager
# 7
Community Manager

Hi István,

Since this is so account-specific, and Analytics linking has a number of steps, it’s a little difficult for me to figure out exactly what’s going on here. But I do want to get to the bottom of it. So let’s start at the beginning.

I think I may have misunderstood your process initially--to clarify: did you create the GA-AdWords link between your client’s Analytics and your MCC account, or between your client’s Analytics account and your client’s AdWords account?

If you had all of your clients individually set up links between their own Analytics accounts and their own AdWords accounts, your clients should not be able to see each other’s accounts.

But if you went through the Analytics linking wizard for MCCs, and linked the client Analytics to your MCC, then this process results in a completely different outcome. Doing this automatically takes any child AdWords account under you MCC and links it to all of the other accounts and Analytics properties that your MCC has access to. This scenario is usually used by large advertisers who manage multiple advertising accounts for the same company and website, ex. accounts for different countries that all drive traffic back to the same website.

These two different options are outlined in this guide on Linking Multiple AdWords Accounts to Google Analytics, and in your case (and the case of any person managing accounts for different clients), you will want to go with option two at the bottom of the page.

If this is not the situation let me know. Like I said, I know it’s a complicated issue so please let me know if there’s something else going on.

Cassie

 

EDITED to add the link, which didn't go through the first time!

Re: Security problem with Analytcs - Adwords (MCC) linking?

Badged Google Partner
# 8
Badged Google Partner
Dear Cassie

I did not misunderstand the process. Your answer is a perfect technical answer. But I am sure this feature was never harmonized with your legal dept. and this is the reason I got technocrat like answers (and I did not expect that from Google, as I had very good experiences, however in this case I think you did not paid enough attention to your - and mine - users securities)
The description and support articles never highlight, a customers would see each other data. The only information I was able to found, implicitly suggest this one. NO direct warning (this sentence from the article you sent: "Automatically link an account to your Analytics properties when you add it to your manager account", but even based on this sentence I could expect I would be able to see linked data only (and not all the customers)
What you wrote is not a solution. I think it is just an explanation.
Really disappointed.
Regards,
István