Google+ Is Shutting Down Three Months Early After New Privacy Bug

Google+ to shut down early after second flaw exposes data of 52 million users

Google+ to shut down early after second flaw exposes data of 52 million users

Google revealed today a second bug in the Google+ API that could have been abused to steal the private data of almost 52.5 million users.

Apparently, a fresh new bug was introduced in Google+ that resulted in developers getting access to data of about 52.5 million users.

While the API bug did potentially impact tens of millions of users, Google asserts that it has found no evidence of the exploit being acted upon or the data being misused. The search giant had initially announced it would close down Google+ in August of next year, a deadline that itself had been established because the social network was the inadvertent cause of a security lapse. Originally expected to shut down in August 2019, the service will now shut down in April 2019 instead.

The disclosure comes one day before Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to testify before Congress to address concerns about political bias on its platforms.

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According to an incident report published by Google earlier today, this second bug resided in the Google+ People API endpoint that apps and developers used to get information about user profiles.

Google announced it has found a second vulnerability in Google+. The company also said it would inform affected users, including "any enterprise customers".

In addition to moving the Google+ sunset date four months forward, Google also said it would be shutting down all Google+ APIs for the Google+ consumer version within 90 days, way before its April 2019 shutdown date.

"We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust", David Thacker, vice president of product management for Google's G Suite products, said in a blog post. In October, Google admitted it had failed for six months to reveal information about a bug that put at risk the data of hundreds of thousands of users. Google said it still planned to give users the opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+ and would provide them with information on ways to safely and securely download their data and move it to other services, if wanted.

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