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Company name deleted off Google Play and all search history gone, looks like bad actors involved.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anjin_nz, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. Anjin_nz

    Anjin_nz

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Posts:
    74
    I wanted to let people know there is a new problem for us to deal with.

    Last Sunday our company name was deleted from Google Play along with all the search history pointing to the apps but not the app pages themselves.

    Our server logs showed suspicious traffic half an hour before this incident and it looks like it was a hack on Google Play servers.

    Has anyone had the same experience?

    Subsequent follow up with Google Play Developer support has been less than sterling. Our company name is back and some of the search results but the keyword deadbotz still ranks our apps at the bottom of 60 apps.

    What's weird is that you can search for deadbotz + any other random term and you get the apps at the top
     
  2. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    7,759
    I don't get deadbotz results when I search on the play store, but if I search google I still get valid search results, which is odd. Don't you have a liason or somebody to contact about this at google? I know something like this used to be a thing, but I might be confusing it with my brief foray into iOS development.
     
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  3. Anjin_nz

    Anjin_nz

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Posts:
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    Hi Murgilod,

    Thanks for your reply. Also try deadbotz 0 or deadbotz dijijk. Go ahead try that. Then you will get the apps.

    Yes it is very weird.

    My friend in Google says you must go through the Google Play chat line. But after 7 agents and many promises they still wont restore the search term.

    They also wont give me a reason for the problem and I have to file a report for a data privacy breach with the ICO today.
     
  4. Anjin_nz

    Anjin_nz

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Posts:
    74
    It's quite scary when suddenly the normal search terms don't get your apps. I couldn't believe it at first.

    I then clicked on an external link and it got the app fine. Then I clicked on our company name: this came up with URL not found. OMG I thought. Something is strange. I checked the developer console and no message of a policy violation from Google.

    Ultra strange again so I wanted people to know so they can check too.
     
  5. Anjin_nz

    Anjin_nz

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Posts:
    74
    Update: This afternoon the deadbotz search term was restored after a week of battling.

    I thank Google for this but wish that the process had been much easier. If anyone at G reads this here's my suggestions-
    Please-
    * provide phone contact and management chat for unusual cases.
    * send a first response email with the ticket number to the developers address as an automated process (just needs to say we have received your request and the ticket number is X
    * If agents say they will email, they should send an update even if there is no change in the situation.
    * provide a developer channel for Data Protection issues.
    * provide a 24x7 service

    Some other advice for Dev's who have this issue:
    * If you do have a suspected data breach with Google and you are in the UK you should first write a letter to Google's Dublin office to query it.
    * Don't assume anything when something unusual happens: Some developers chatting to me on the topic had it fixed in their mind it was Google's algorithms and I should just put up with it. If you don't do something about it you might be letting people take your content offline who don't have that right, or it might just be a bug. Worse still you may be allowing your end users to be compromised and ignoring a data breach.
     
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