Google+ Is Shutting Down Following Security Breach

In the post, Google announced it was closing down the service after the Wall Street Journal revealed the company had known about the bug, which affected all Google+ users, since March this year. As a result of a software bug related to the APIs used for Google+, 438 apps potentially had access to names, birthdates, email addresses, profile photos, occupations and more data covering 496,951 Google+ users.

"The flaw was discovered in March, but Google opted not to disclose this vulnerability as it found no evidence that the information had been misused". "None of these thresholds were met here", the spokesperson said.

The company said that was because it could not accurately identify which users to inform, whether there was any misuse or whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. According the WSJ, Google CEO Sundar Pichai both knew of and agreed with the decision not to plan to not disclose the data exposure.

"The Data Protection Commission was not aware of this issue and we now need to better understand the details of the breach, including the nature, impact and risk to individuals and we will be seeking information on these issues from Google", the Irish regulator said.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.

The tech firm kept quiet for months about a security flaw that gave third-party apps access to private information on the Google+ social network.

However, it sounds like Google was ready to shut down the platform regardless of this issue, citing in its announcement the consumer version's "very low usage".

Since launching in 2011, Google Plus failed to garner a mass audience, and was broken into separate products in 2015. (An earlier WSJ piece described how some Gmail apps were allowing employees to read users' emails and sell the data to marketers.) The changes apply to new Gmail apps immediately, and to existing ones early next year. Google has also advised they will remove access to the contact interaction data from the Android Contacts API which allowed apps to show you your most recent contacts, within the next few months.

What's more, Google says these apps will have to agree to new rules around handling Gmail data and will be subject to 'security assessments'.

"It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content", said Ben Smith, Google Fellow and vice president of engineering.


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