Google exposed user data, feared repercussions of disclosing to public

09 October, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it

Google hasn't really done anything with Google+ in years, and so it's not surprising to learn Google is finally killing the social network.

Google has chose to shut down its social media website Google+ after a massive data breach which potentially exposed data of over 500,000 users.

The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public. Google said that it also found no evidence that any of the developers behind the 438 applications that used the API in question were aware of the bug. Based on a two-week test created to measure the impact of the API bugs before they were fixed, Google analysts believe that data for 496,951 users was improperly exposed.

Google said it found no evidence of data misuse. Google says that "only apps directly enhancing email functionality-such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services", will be given authorization.

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It was explained that the consumer version of Google+ has low usage and engagement with 90 per cent of user sessions lasting less than five seconds. Specifically, Google started looking at its API endpoints over concern developers could abuse them.

The bug allowed app developers to access information like names, email addresses, occupation, gender and more.

Google plans to make announcements in the coming months that provide consumers with additional information such as options to migrate data or download it, the latter likely through Google's Takeout service.

The bug was patched two weeks after it was initially discovered (Google took two weeks to analyze the data before patching the hole), but has now made a decision to shut down Google+ as a consumer service.

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Now, users will be given greater control over what account data they choose to share with each app.

Smith also went on to confirm that the company had found a "bug", affecting as many as 500,000 users, that exposed users' private data to third-party apps between 2015 until this March 2018. In recent years, Google began to de-couple Google+ from its core services, and shifted its focus on standalone products like Google Photos.

The company will wind down the Google Plus network during a 10-month period expected to be done by the end of next August, Smith wrote in his post.

What's probably more interesting to most users is that the advertising giant opted to not disclose the issue. Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested.

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