The most valuable technology companies are expecting a tumultuous year in terms of data breaches. Google said it is closing its consumer social networking site Google+ after personal data of 500,000 users were compromised between the years 2015 and March 2018.
According to Cnet, Google’s security researchers found the vulnerability “as part of an internal review called Project Stroble, an audit started earlier this year that examines access to user data from Google accounts by third-party software developers.”
The bug exposed personal information including age, email address, gender, occupation, places, and even relationship status to certain apps. There are 438 applications on Google Plus that had access to this API, Cnet further reports. However, Google was quick to say that it did not detect any data misuse and said that it has reasons to believe that even the developers were not aware of the vulnerability.
This year, Google admitted that some third-party apps have access to users’ email addresses and developers could randomly read messages in the email.
The tech company launched Google+ in 2011 in an attempt to lure users away from Facebook. But it didn’t actually take off. It is already a feat that in spite of its poor performance, Google chose to keep it for seven years. The shutting down and transition processes will happen in the next 10 months with August 2019 as the target completion date.