Google became the latest Big Tech firm to disclose a serious data breach. The incident occurred when faulty software compromised accounts that were associated with the Google+ social network.
In a report published by Engadget, Google has decided to close Google+ to the public rather than fix the bug.
A glitch that existed between 2015 and 2018 enabled third-party developers to see the private information of Google+ users. However, after discovering the problem, Google chose not to reveal the details of the breach to avoid negative publicity.
As a matter of fact, an internal memo warned that the problem could intensify congressional scrutiny. Already, Google and other companies have been grilled by elected officials about their privacy practices.
Now that the Google+ security problem has become well-known, the company has provided some details. For instance, Google says that the compromised data involved optional information have added to their Google+ profile.
Private information such as the names of account owners as well as their email address, occupation, age, and gender were all made accessible to third parties. Google and G Suite account information was not affected.
Unfortunately, Google only retains relevant logs for two weeks. As a result, the firm is unable to identify all the users who have been affected over the past several years.
So, without having the necessary data to notify users, Google can only estimate that about 500,000 accounts were compromised. Only people with access to Google’s application programming interface (API) had access to this information.
To put it differently, no one outside of Google’s developer network could exploit the bug. After investigating the situation, Google has reported that no evidence exists that suggests that any Google+ user data has been abused.
When announcing Google’s decision to shut down Google+, the company confessed that the social network never gained substantial popularity. However, the firm intends to continue developing Google+ for use by enterprise customers.