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How Google+ put thousands of users at risk

11 October 2018

Google on Monday said it has made a decision to shut down its social media network, Google+.

Google said in the blog post that it "discovered and immediately patched" a bug in March 2018 that potentially allowed app developers to access profile data from users that had not been marked as public. Google believes that nothing nefarious was done with the information, however, and claims to have already fixed the problem. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance". According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the vulnerability wasn't disclosed because Google didn't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers. In addition, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface, or API, that allowed possible access to the data, according to Google.

It does not include any other data users may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.

However, Google will continue to use Google+ for Enterprise purposes as an internal social network for companies rather than for consumers, saying that it is the most popular use of the social network. Google plans to shut down its social network and announce new privacy measures in response to the incident, the paper said. Google also said that there is no evidence that and Profile data was misused. The move comes after the internet search giant revealed that a security glitch had exposed the personal data of around 5,00,000 Google Plus users.

They said the firm would now "sunset" the app, which failed to truly challenge market leader Facebook, citing "very low usage".

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Google+ API's log data is only for kept two weeks, so it can not confirm which users were impacted by this bug.

Google is also likely to roll out several other gadgets, including a new version of its "smart" Home speaker, a rumoured tablet with a detachable keyboard and an update to its Chromecast streaming device, based on media leaks.

"Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain".

The security flaw will mean the end of Google+ for consumers, the company said. The campaign, titled "Don't Shut Down Google Plus", has more than 8,000 signatures at the time of writing.

How Google+ put thousands of users at risk