Google announces plans to close Google

Google announces plans to close Google

At least two USA states are investigating a breach at Alphabet Inc.'s Google that may have exposed private profile data of at least 500,000 users to hundreds of external developers. 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.

In the announcement, Google also announced raft of new security features for Android, Gmail and other Google platforms that it has taken as a result of the bug. There were no phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, direct messages or any other type of communication data.

As Google only keeps two weeks of API logs for its Google+ service, it was impossible for them to determine if the bug was ever misused. As a result all European Union data protection authorities have jurisdiction to engage with Google on the breach. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the company said.

All of this has led Google to finally admit Google+ was a failure, with the company announcing that it will close over the next ten months with a pivot to the enterprise market in the cards.

"It's important for consumers to realise that connecting apps in social media platforms only increases the amount of valuable information that could potentially be breached, as well as increased attack vectors that hackers can leverage".

Google Shutters Google+ Following Privacy Vulnerability
In a blogpost about the shutdown, Google disclosed the data breach, which it said potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts. Ben Smith, Google's VP of Engineering, disclosed more information about the security issue, and how it was discovered.

The security flaw will mean the end of Google+ for consumers, the company said. The error allowed the details of nearly 500,000 people to be accessed by the applications, even when they had demanded that they keep their data private.

Google deliberately avoided disclosing the problem at the time, in part to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny and damaging its reputation, according to a Wall Street Journal story that cited anonymous individuals and documents. However, it's possible that data were abused and Google just doesn't know about it yet. In the company's own words, "90 per cent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

Do share your thoughts and opinions on Google+ being shut down in the comments section below. Third-party SMS apps will still be allowed, but they can only access this data if the user sets the app as their default for text messaging.

Google reveals on a support page that the Google+ app can't be deleted on some Android devices, but they can be disabled on all Android devices.

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