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Users, shutting down social network

11 October 2018
Users, shutting down social network

Google is closing its social network, Google Plus, following the discovery of a security breach this past spring, in which up to 500,000 customers (between 2015 and 2018) had their information exposed. The glitch meant developers could access private details about people's friends too, including things like their email addresses, birthdays, profile photos, occupations, and relationship statuses. Before patching it, Google ran an analysis and found that up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were affected.

Google will "sunset" the Google+ social network in an operation called Project Strobe for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook.

Google+ will be closing down in August next year, however the company said it was looking at continuing an enterprise version of the product with greater user controls. However, Google claims that this vulnerability went unnoticed and apparently no third-party was able to exploit the vulnerability to access user date.

In response to this, Google+ will be shutting down for regular users.

"The story here isn't really the potential data breach (which may affected hundreds of thousands) or that Google is shutting down Google+", proclaimed Mac. In the meantime, Google says users should stay tuned for more information on how to download their data from the site, should they so desire.

CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee. Google said it hadn't found any evidence that "any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused".

Google+ API's log data is only for kept two weeks, so it can not confirm which users were impacted by this bug.

Google's latest efforts may be a few months too late, but the company is trying its best to calm some nerves after the latest security breach disclosure.

Google says that going forward, rather than bundling permissions together for a single approval, each and every permission requested by an app will be shown one at a time, within its own dialog box.

These latest changes are also being implemented as part of a larger crackdown, in which the search giant is seeking to review and curb "third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps' data access".