Google+ shutting down following security bug

Google shuts down Google+ after a massive data breach which potentially leaked information of over 500,000 users

The bug was a part of a flaw in an application programming interface (API) Google created to help app developers access profile and contact information for users who sign up for the service, including information shared with Google+. In turn, this meant that nearly 500,000 users' names, email addresses, dates of birth, gender, location, occupation, and relationship status were made available to developers, all without their knowledge.

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.

In the blog post, Google said it did not immediately announce the problems with Google+ because it was not sure which users to inform, who they were and what affected users could do to protect themselves.

Google+ may not be the biggest social network - far from it, according to Google - but there are some folks out there that use it, so the news of its shutdown is a bit disappointing for them. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", said Google.

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

Tyler Moffitt, senior threat research analyst at security firm Webroot, said: "Although it seems that Google has shut down an entire line of business due to this breach, from a GDPR perspective, the company appears to have gotten off lightly".

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"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused", Smith says. Google adds that it "cannot confirm" which users were affected, but over 500,000 of them could have been.

Google will also "limit the apps that may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data", while Google Play will limit which apps that can ask for a user's phone (including call logs) and SMS data.

The security flaw existed for three years.

When you hit that, Google will let you know what you're about to do and give you options to get more details about the implications of deleting your account.

Besides low usage, Google+ engagement rates are also defeating, with 90-percent of all sessions lasting for under five seconds, according to Alphabet's subsidiary. In addition, Google Account permissions dialog boxes will be split to show each requested permission, one at a time, within its own dialog box.

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