Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

At least two U.S. attorneys general investigating Google glitch

At least two U.S. attorneys general investigating Google glitch

According to an internal memo viewed by the Wall Street Journal, Google feared disclosing the issue would be detrimental to its reputation and draw unwanted regulatory attention. Strobe found a sizeable flaw in Google+' APIs, meaning that malicious apps could extract data from profiles, such as name, email addresses, occupation, gender and age.

The company says it didn't find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused.

The revelation is what appears to be a series of security breaches among social media networking sites, following the infamous incidents involving Facebook and Twitter. 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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The issue with Google's actions over the Google+ data breach, however, was not with how it fixed the bug, as it did so right away.

The bug: This had been around since 2015 and was found in code that lets third-party app developers access publicly available Google+ profile data about a user and their connections, so long as the user gives permission.

It was a bug in the API that led to the glitch; outside developers were able to collect profile data despite privacy settings meant to ensure the information wasn't public. As a result all European Union data protection authorities have jurisdiction to engage with Google on the breach.

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Google has finally closed its social network Google+ after announcing data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed by a bug that was present for more than two years.

Google launched the service in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook but noted in its blog post on Monday that Google "has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption".

Despite that, the company plans to keep Google+ operational as an enterprise product, allowing companies to use it as an internal communication platform for employees. The objective of the audit was to re-examine all application programming interfaces (APIs) linked to Google+ and see if there were any data leaks. Around 438 apps could have used this API, states Google. According to Google, 90% of Google+ user sessions were less than 5 seconds, which is strikingly low compared to other social networks.

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