Google is going to shut down its social media network Google+ after the company suffered a massive data breach that exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google Plus users to third-party developers.
According to the tech giant, a security vulnerability in one of Google+’s People APIs allowed third-party developers to access data for more than 500,000 users, including their usernames, email addresses, occupation, date of birth, profile photos, and gender-related information.
Since Google+ servers do not keep API logs for more than two weeks, the company cannot confirm the number of users impacted by the vulnerability.”However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API,” Google said in blog post published today.
Google Introduces New Privacy Controls Over Third-Party App Permissions
As part of its “Project Strobe,” Google engineers also reviewed third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data; and has accordingly now introduced some new privacy controls.
When a third-party app prompts users for access to their Google account data, clicking “Allow” button approves all requested permissions at once, leaving an opportunity for malicious apps to trick users into giving away powerful permissions.
But now Google has updated its Account Permissions system that asks for each requested permission individually rather than all at once, giving users more control over what type of account data they choose to share with each app. Since APIs can also allow developers to access users’ extremely sensitive data, like that of Gmail account, Google has limited access to Gmail API only for apps that directly enhance email functionality—such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services.