Google+ shutting down after data leak affecting 500,000 accounts

Google has announced the imminent closure of Google+ due to low users’ involvement and a bug that opened up the possibility of personal information leaks from 500,000 users. Although there is no evidence that someone really took advantage of this bug, but the company decided to close Google+ to the general public. The closure process will last 10 months and should end in the mid-2019.

During the audit of the code, which was called the “Project Strobe”, the company discovered a bug in one of the APIs that could lead to leakage of personal data from Google+ accounts. This bug allowed other applications installed by the user to access the Google+ API to read non-public information of his friends, such as name, age, gender, email address and place of work. No other data that the user submitted to Google+, including posts, messages, G Suite (Google Apps for Work) content and phone numbers, is affected by this vulnerability.

The bug existed from 2015 until March 2018, when it was discovered on Google and immediately patched. Since Google only stores API logs for Google+ for two weeks, it’s impossible to determine if anyone has managed to use it all the time, but nothing suspicious happened during those two weeks. It is worth noting that the internal committee of Google decided not to disclose information about this.

The second reason for the closure of Google+ is its unpopularity among users, the subject of numerous jokes.

So, Google+ will be gradually closed to the general public and transferred to internal use over the next ten months.

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