Google Plus to shut down after massive data breach

Isaac Cain
October 10, 2018

And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place. Strobe found a sizeable flaw in Google+' APIs, meaning that malicious apps could extract data from profiles, such as name, email addresses, occupation, gender and age.

Allegedly, the glitch enabled outside developers to gain unauthorized access to the relevant for quite some time - from 2015 until Google's discovery in March of this year.

Writing in a blog post Monday, Google attempted to downplay the incident, saying it hasn't found any signs that the bug was exploited.

The closure isn't because people are happier using Facebook and Twitter instead of Google's service.

The Google Plus security blunder could still give the US Congress a reason to enforce tighter laws surrounding data collection. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", wrote Ben Smith, a Google vice president of engineering. As part of reparations, the company is permanently shutting down Google+.

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As many as 438 outside apps may have connected with the flawed software.

Google today revealed it'd be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ in response to a previously undisclosed security flaw - and also because no one's really using it. The Wall Street Journal's Douglas MacMillan and Robert McMillan report that Google was anxious about public perception and regulatory scrutiny, and that Google wanted to avoid comparisons with Facebook, which at the time was dealing with its own data privacy scandal.

Google says that the data of half a million people was compromised, but because they only log data for two weeks, they're unable to say who was impacted. Somehow, the intimate data of the first user would be included in the collection profile.

"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", said Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View in northern California, Xinhua reported.

Google has thus far been able to defer much of the criticism to Facebook and Twitter, but the Google+ bug may thrust it further into the spotlight. To make sure something like this Google+ leak doesn't happen again, this new initiative is set out to protect user's privacy and limit the amount of data developers have access to across the web and Android. Apps also won't be allowed to sell the data for marketing or ad targeting, and any human review of email data will be "strictly limited".

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