Google Plus to shut down after massive data breach

A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it

A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered

The Google+ data breach was discovered in March of this year during an audit of the company's APIs, conducted by a privacy task force codenamed Project Strobe. It will take 10 months to completely close the service, and a version for businesses will remain open. Shares of Alphabet Inc fell by about 1 percent in response to the story.

The data involved was limited to optional profile fields, including name, age, gender, occupation and email addresses, and posts, messages or telephone numbers could not be accessed, a spokesperson said.

Given the potential for abuse, and the fact that nearly no one is using Google+, Alphabet opted to take the path of least resistance and yank the doddering network off life support. As you can see from the above screenshots, instead of just offering a master "Allow" button that gives the third-party access to various items, the new permission box will be more granular, details each data type at length, and provide users with the ability to allow or deny each thing. The company said it 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". As part of that, a bug in Google + was found that could have been a potential leak if it wasn't caught in time.

Google is shutting down its much-maligned social network, Google+, after user data was exposed.

The vice president of engineering, Ben Smith, confirmed in a 'Safety and Security' blog post that the company had detected a security bug in March that impacted the profiles of close to half a million users and their information.

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The desire to peer into people's lives is one of the reasons that Google launched Plus in 2011.

It also announced other security features. "So can Google keep the trust of its users going forward?"

"Only apps directly enhancing email functionality - such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services) - will be authorised to access this data", Smith added. Previous reports have found that some third-party Gmail add-on developers were reading users' emails, supposedly to improve their algorithms.

Google is also updating Gmail's User Data Policy for the consumer version to limit access to user data. Contact interaction data will no longer be available via the Android Contacts API either.

Only an app users select as their default application for calls or texts will be able to request access to this data. Despite this, they still plan to shut down Google+, providing people the next ten months to migrate their personal information.

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