sb-as logo
Story image

52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach

11 Dec 2018

Google is bringing forward the planned shutdown of its social media platform, Google+, after 52 million users were impacted by another security breach.

A software update introduced in November contained a bug that was affecting a Google+ API.

In a statement on its site, G Suite product management VP David Thacker says the bug was discovered as part of its testing procedures and fixed within a week of its introduction.

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

Thacker says Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.

He adds that Google has begun the process of notifying consumer users and enterprise customers that were impacted by the bug and there is an ongoing investigation of the potential impact on other Google+ APIs.

This is the second breach on Google's social media platform. 

Google was accused of failing to disclose the first breach, which happened in March, potentially affecting 500,000 Google+ accounts. 

Soon after news of the breach became public, Google announced plans to shut down Google+, saying it “has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.”

Google posted these details about the latest bug and the investigation on its site:

Testing revealed that a Google+ API was not operating as intended.

The bug was fixed and Google began an investigation into the issue.

Our investigation into the impact of the bug is ongoing, but here is what we have learned so far:

  • We have confirmed that the bug impacted approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API.  
  • With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile—like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)—were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public.  
  • In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.  
  • The bug did not give developers access to information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft.  
  • 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.
Story image
Businesses left to make decisions based on old, inaccurate data, study finds
"It is more critical than ever that organisations have access to actionable, contextualised, near real-time threat data to power the network and application security tools they use to detect and block malicious actors."More
Story image
The business case for an in-house ethical hacker
Ethical hackers, also known as penetration testers or white-hat hackers, mimic the techniques used by malicious hackers to try and break into computer systems and discover vulnerabilities before the bad guys can exploit them.More
Story image
The three-pronged security approach that confronts security breaches head-on
Having these three processes working in tandem is key to cushioning the blow of a breach - which, if insufficiently protected, can take on average 279 days to contain and costs an average of almost US$4 million.More
Story image
How to address cyber-threats as a strategic risk
Becoming a cyber-secure organisation in the face of an evolving threat landscape requires a strategic, business-focused approach to security as opposed to a tactical approach in which security is addressed simply by implementing new tools.More
Story image
Experiencing ransomware significantly impacts cybersecurity approach
"The survey findings illustrate clearly the impact of these near-impossible demands. Among other things, those hit by ransomware were found to have severely undermined confidence in their own cyber threat awareness."More
Link image
Don't let ransomware have the last laugh
Veeam's free ransomware prevention kit will stop criminals in their tracks.More