Over 50 Million Users Affected

Google Plus shutdown

Social Google+ is shutting down four months early because of a new security bug Andy Meek @a

The company is now notifying users impacted by this issue.

Google discovered its earlier Google+ security bug in March, the same month that Silicon Valley rival Facebook was facing scrutiny over its role in allowing people affiliated with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to collect data on 87 million users.

Even though the bug didn't end in any hackers gaining access to private user information, Google made a decision to speed up the process of shutting down Google Plus anyway.

The leak Google disclosed in October exposed non-public profile data from 2015 to 2018. It is also poised to come up when Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before Congress on Tuesday. Apps could have accessed some non-public profile data that had been shared with a user as well. It affected 52.5 million Google+ accounts, including those of some business customers, for six days after it was introduced last month, Google said.

Google discovered the privacy-invading glitch following its routine testing procedures. The company said it will be shutting down the service by August 2019 as a result, and it's now speeding things up after another new security flaw. Originally expected to shut down in August 2019, the service will now shut down in April 2019 instead.

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"No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way", Google wrote.

The vulnerability possible exposed profile information to developers.

"With the discovery of this new bug, we have chose to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days", Google announced.

However, Google said in a blog post that it found no evidence that any other apps had accessed the data, such as name, email, gender and age, using the latest bug. "We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs".

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