Google Plus Data Breach 2018
One of the top stories in social media news is Google Plus’s consumer version will be shutting down due to Google Plus data breach 2018. This news was released on Monday, October 8, 2018. Google reported that there were vulnerabilities in their third-party API (application program interface) security which exposed approximately 500,000 user’s data. Google reported that up to 438 applications possibly used this API.
The bug was specifically located in the Google Plus people API which gives access to profile fields like:
- email address
- gender and age
- about me
Those are just a few profile fields included in the Google Plus API, here is a complete list of profile fields.
What is troubling about this situation is that these security issues were found in March 2018 and we are just hearing about this now, 7 months later. Google did not feel that they were legally obligated to report these issues because according to their “Privacy and Data Protection Office” they found no evidence that any consumer Profile data was misused. Regardless if consumer data was compromised or not, I feel that Google had a moral and ethical duty to report this as soon as it happened.
Google Plus’s social media platform is Google’s version of Facebook; however, it is nowhere near as popular. In comparison, Google Plus also lacks in their number of users. Google’s latest review of all the API’s (application programming interface) associated with Google Plus uncovered that it has never achieved consumer and developer popularity.
According to Google, the latest usage statistics show that Google Plus has very low engagement and usage. So much so that 90% of Google Plus user sessions are less than five seconds. These facts contributed to Google’s decision to close the consumer division of Google Plus. Google Plus users will have 10 months to transition before Google shuts it down completely.
The enterprise accounts will stay active as Google’s findings show that enterprise accounts are finding more value on the Google Plus platform. Enterprise users have accounts where their employees can communicate internally on a secure, corporate platform. Google will put their entire focus on their Google Plus enterprise product to improve it, update and launch new features.
The one thing that disturbs me the most about this situation is that Google decided not to report that user data had been exposed to the public for fear of embarrassment for the company. They did not want to be subjected to the same scrutiny and questioning that Facebook underwent earlier this year. Regardless of their fears, Google should have disclosed the truth as soon as they found out. It’s amazing that the Google Plus data breach 2018 inadvertently caused Google’s social media network’s demise. It sounds as if it is a relief to do so for Google.