Over 500k Google Plus users' data left unprotected

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Google said on Monday that hundreds of thousands of people who used its Google+ social network may have been affected by a security flaw that the company says it discovered and fixed in March.

According to the blog post, the Google Plus data that was potentially exposed included names, email addresses, occupations, date of birth, profile photos and genders. The move effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of a product that was launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook Inc. and is widely seen as one of Google's biggest failures.

In addition to "sunsetting consumer Google+", the company is making changes to APIs on its other services, which will limit the amount of access developers get to data on Android and Gmail.

The company said it will give consumers more control over what data apps can access. That's when Google finally shut the door on the bug. This method will better secure third party APIs with Google services, allowing for less data to be given to outside applications.

Google says it found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and it found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.

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Google will be shutting down Google+ for consumers as part of a data privacy measure announced on Monday.

The tech giant announced the news on the company blog, disclosing the compromised user-privacy issue for the first time, despite knowing about it for seven months. As a result all European Union data protection authorities have jurisdiction to engage with Google on the breach.

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.

Google reveals on a support page that the Google+ app can't be deleted on some Android devices, but they can be disabled on all Android devices. "These tools ... can be misused by unscrupulous actors posing as app developers to gain access to sensitive personal data", the Journal noted. "Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we made a decision to sunset the consumer version of Google+", Google said in the blog announcement.

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