Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Google hid Google+ security flaw that exposed users' personal information

Google hid Google+ security flaw that exposed users' personal information

The information accessed a user's profile information, including the name, email address, occupation, gender and age, according to the blog post, which added: "The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public".

The Journal reported that the Google+ breach exposed Google's "concerted efforts to avoid public scrutiny of how it handles user information" at a time when regulators are the public are trying to do more to hold tech companies to account.

Google says it hasn't found any evidence that developers were aware of the bug, so it's unlikely that anyone abused it.

Specifically, the issue disclosed Monday came through one of the Google+ "People" APIs, a developer tool available to third-party app developers.

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Google now joins both Twitter and Facebook in disclosing a privacy breach in the past three weeks. Google+ for consumers is shutting down, and far from being a graceful death, its demise is pinned on a March 2018 bug that was not disclosed until today. However, the firm "found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".

On Monday, the company announced that it was shutting down its social network, Google+, which was the source of the flaw.

For action 2, Google is preparing to give you more fine-grained controls over permissions in Android apps and the account data you share with them. To make sure something like this Google+ leak doesn't happen again, this new initiative is set out to protect user's privacy and limit the amount of data developers have access to across the web and Android.

CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee.

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In any case, the conclusion is the same: Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, citing challenges in maintaining the service effectively. 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.

How the Google Account permissions dialog box looks now, as opposed to the new version in header. On Gmail, Google's ubiquitous email service, only apps that improve email functionality will be allowed to request access.

Smith said Google+ would wind down over the next ten months, during which time users will be able to download or migrate their data, and the site would be permanently retired in August 2019.

"Over the years we've received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+".

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