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After an undisclosed security breach was revealed, Google+ will be shutting down

After an undisclosed security breach was revealed, Google+ will be shutting down

At least two U.S. 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.

Google also noted that the data that was exposed was limited to "optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age".

Google also announced that, in addition to shutting down Google+, it's revamping its account permissions to allow users to pick and choose which data they share with third-party apps. There were no phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, direct messages or any other type of communication data. Google executives were concerned about appearances, particularly as Facebook is under fire after an analytics firm allegedly misused the data of tens of millions of users.

The glitch was live for almost three years, according to the reports, but Google decided not to make the breach public because it feared regulation.

Google says that like other tech companies, it has encouraged third-party developers to "build on top of our various services". The company did not check up with any of the developers of the aforementioned 438 apps.

Google+ was heavily promoted after its 2011 launch, in the hope of overtaking Facebook in the early days of social media.




Google has admitted that adoption of the its social network and subsequent user engagement has been low, with 90% of Google+ user sessions lasting for less than five seconds. The company stated in its post that there was no evidence "that any developer was aware of this bug, or. that any Profile data was misused".

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data. 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.

The security flaw existed for three years. However, it's possible that data were abused and Google just doesn't know about it yet.

Google ran an analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug which showed the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected.

Google, replying to requests for comment, defended its decision not to disclose.

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