Google+ To Shut Down Following Data Breach | Xuper IT | News

Google+ to shut down following data breach coverup

Google has announced it will be shutting down it’s social network, Google+, following a breach leaving user data exposed. 

Google has become the latest tech giant to disclose a data breach after it was revealed its social network, Google+ was hacked and left hundreds of thousands of users data exposed. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the company knew about the issue in March but chose not to reveal the details at the time because it feared damage to its reputation.

What happened?

Google believes that up to 500,000 users have been affected by a bug in its software that meant information that people believed was private had actually been accessible to third parties.

Google said the data accessed includes: name, email address, occupation, gender and age, but does not include any other data users may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service such as Google+ posts, messages, account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.

In a statement, the company said the issue was not serious enough to inform the public and it found “no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug or abusing the API” and: “We found no evidence that any profile data was misused”.

According to Google, the issue was fixed back in March 2018.

What now?

Google+ was launched back in 2011 as an attempt to compete with Facebook. However, the social network never really took off and the majority of users just made an account to sit alongside their other google products.

After years of speculation, Google has decided to bring Google+ for consumers to an end. However, they will continue to offer private Google+ powered networks for businesses currently using the software.

It has also stated it will be improving its security and privacy measures across the Google suite stating: “In the coming months, we’ll roll out additional controls and update policies across more of our APIs. As we do so, we’ll work with our developer partners to give them appropriate time to adjust and update their apps and services.”

Want to delete your account?

If you are concerned about the breach and would like to close your account before Google+ is shutdown, you can find your account by logging into your Gmail. Once you’ve opened your Google+ account, go to the ‘settings’ page on the left-hand side and scroll to the bottom, you will find the option to delete your account.

How can you protect your data?

This latest breach comes only a month after it was revealed Facebook had yet another data breach, this time affecting up to 50 million users.  This leaves much of the public wondering if these tech giants can be trusted with our personal data. These firms collect huge amounts of data on us, yet they don’t make it clear how they use it and have inadequate security measures in place.

Whilst not everyone will want to permanently delete their social network accounts, there are measures you can take to try and keep your personal data more secure, including:

  • Regularly changing your passwords
  • Limit the amount of personal data you add to your profile
  • Limit the amount of third party apps you give access to your profiles
  • On Facebook, you can go to your settings and see what apps have access to your account and remove anything you don’t want
  • Turn on two-factor authentication
  • Permanently delete any social media accounts you no longer want rather than leave them dormant