Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Google+ Shutting Down After Bug Leaks Info of 500k Accounts

Google+ Shutting Down After Bug Leaks Info of 500k Accounts

The software bug, Smith explained, would only have exposed "name, email address, occupation, gender and age", if exploited, and not "Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content".

Google is at the centre of controversy this morning over a report of a massive user data breach that occurred past year, with the result that they will be introducing finer grain controls to limit access to user data on the web and Android - and also shutdown Google+ for consumers. In a blog post published right after the WSJ's report, Google confirmed that it is shutting down Google+, as well as confirming a number of the details from the WSJ report. The company is henceforth shutting down Google+ to consumers.

An email shared among senior Google executives and lawyers said that revealing the issue would lead to "immediate regulatory interest" and mean its chief executive Sundar Pichai being forced to give evidence in Washington. Since most marketers weren't relying on Google+ heavily, its closure isn't going to have a significant impact. Although not the most-liked platform, Google+ did provide a space for artists worldwide whether their landscapes were art, photography or even food. Since now the breach has been reported, it would be interesting to see how the regulatory bodies respond to this.

After seven highly unsuccessful years, Google+ is effectively dead. However, Google contends that there's no evidence that profile data was misused. Up to 438 different third-party applications may have had access to private information due to the bug, but Google apparently has no way of knowing whether they did because it only maintains logs of API use for two weeks. The service, Smith said, failed both in consumer adoption and engagement with apps: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

Google is pulling the plug on its flagship social network Google+ after data from up to 500,000 users was left exposed by a bug.

To make the closure of the service as seamless as possible, Google says it'll implement a "wind-down" period over the next 10 months with the goal to have everyone off Google+ and officially pull the plug by the end of August 2019.

As for why Google didn't disclose the security lapse to the public, the company said it decided that the situation did not rise to that level. It will also stop allowing contact interaction data available through the Android Contacts API. Gmail third-party apps that have full access over a Gmail user's data but only require "send capabilities" will need to re-scope their permissions appropriately because they won't be allowed to read users' emails starting next year.

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