Wednesday, 17 October, 2018


Google exposed data for hundreds of thousands of users

Google Plus Wall Street Journal report: Google exposed private data of Google+ users, refused to disclose the breach
Melba Vasquez | 08 October, 2018, 21:41

Per WSJ, a "software glitch" allowed user data to be potentially exposed to unwanted eyes from 2015 all the way through March 2018 when Google learned about it.

Google said it found no evidence of data misuse. That bug, exposed by the WSJ today, meant that apps with nefarious intent could have extracted data including name, email address, occupation, gender, and age from a person's profile.

Google+ was launched in 2011, quickly becoming a failed attempt to compete with Facebook.

That's the stunning revelation in a new report in The Wall Street Journal. However, up to 500,000 Google+ profiles were affected by the vulnerability, and 438 applications may have used the API.

Action 4: We are limiting apps' ability to receive Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices, and are no longer making contact interaction data available via the Android Contacts API. Google said that 90 percent of all Google+ sessions don't last more than five seconds, confirming rumors that the site was more of a ghost town, when compared to Twitter and Facebook. Google found that no one was using it, saying that "Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds". Still, as part of the response to the incident, Google is planning to shut down the social network permanently.

Although the bug was discovered many months ago, Google didn't disclose it right away.

Finding 3: When users grant apps access to their Gmail, they do so with certain use cases in mind.

'This review crystallized what we've known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps, ' Smith said. Google said in a blog post that almost 500,000 users may have been impacted, but because the company keeps the log data from this specific API for only two weeks at a time, it can't fully confirm who was truly impacted and who was not. Over the course of this slow shutdown, they'll let you know of ways to download and migrate your data from it.

Specifically, the issue disclosed Monday came through one of the Google+ "People" APIs, a developer tool available to third-party app developers.

What's more, Google says these apps will have to agree to new rules around handling Gmail data and will be subject to 'security assessments'.

To make the closure of the service as seamless as possible, Google says it'll implement a "wind-down" period over the next 10 months with the goal to have everyone off Google+ and officially pull the plug by the end of August 2019.

The company said that it often notifies users when there are security issues and flaws and user data is affected, but its privacy and data protection office said the bug did not meet the threshold.

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