It was recently reported that Google was planning to close down its Google+ social network by August 2019. However, with 52.5 million accounts compromised, the company decided to shut down its service four months ahead of schedule. It was announced by Google in a blog post.
The leak affected user names, e-mail addresses and some other data, but, according to the company, passwords and financial information remained intact.
The company’s specialists believe that the problem was caused by a bug in the Google+ API that did not operate properly and allowed user information to be viewed, even if it was hidden by users in the settings.
The error has already been fixed, and the developers are investigating the incident. The company has started notifying the users and corporate customers affected by the problem.
The vulnerability was available for six days, but, apparently, no attackers took advantage of it.
This is the second time in the past two months that Google has reported privacy issues faced by Google+. In October, the company confirmed that about 500,000 accounts were at risk. However, the company took over six months to disclose this information.
Even though the vulnerability did not cause harm to users, it dealt another blow to Google’s reputation.
Like Facebook’s, Google’s core business is advertising. The company offers its users a wide range of free tools, and shows ads in return taking into account preferences, search and navigation history, etc.
Experience shows, however, that it is not always possible to take into account the interests of users and ensure personal data security.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to appear before a committee of the House of Representatives, where the new leak is likely to be discussed. Many US Congress members are discussing the imposition of stricter regulations for technology companies that will provide tighter control over the users’ digital security.