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Google Kills Off Google+ Social Network After Over 500K Users Get Compromised
By Mikelle Leow, 09 Oct 2018
Image via I AM NIKOM / Shutterstock.com
Google has announced that it is “sunsetting” its social network, Google+, for consumers. The move follows a recent report by the Wall Street Journal that the company had exposed the private data of “hundreds of thousands” accounts.
Instead of working to tighten the platform’s security, as had Facebook after its security scandal in 2017, Google ultimately decided to shut its consumers’ tier down due to the low adoption rate and impopularity of Google+.
In a blog post, the company admitted that 90-percent of users check out of the app in less than five seconds.
Google said it ran an audit through ‘Project Strobe’, its internal investigation in third-party developer access to Google and Android data, to find that the ‘People’ APIs in Google+ contained a bug that granted apps access to public data from Google+ profiles.
“This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age,” the company explained.
Posts, messages, phone numbers, as well as Google and G Suite account data were not compromised.
The breach was discovered in March 2018, with the bug patched within two weeks.
“We ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.”
However, since Google+ was designed “with privacy in mind,” the company said it could not pinpoint which accounts were affected.
In its research, Google discovered that Google+ would be a better fit for businesses than consumers, so it has retained the network’s enterprise tier “where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network.”
[via Engadget, cover image via I AM NIKOM / Shutterstock.com
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