Google+ to shut down over security breaches

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Social media network Google+ will be shut down following yet another security breach after no less than its parent company revealed that at least half a million accounts appear to have been compromised.

“The bug in Google’s developer platform on its Google Plus social network left information like a user’s name, email address, occupation, gender and age vulnerable to a breach,” the CNBC reported.

Google, for its part, said in a report that they have found no evidence that “the data had been improperly accessed or misused.”

“Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice,” Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in a report.

The revelation is what appears to be a series of security breaches among social media networking sites, following the infamous incidents involving Facebook and Twitter.

Google appeared to be silent over the data leak as the bug was discovered six months ago. A memo on the data breach was reportedly issued within the company to keep it “private to avoid public and regulatory scrutiny.”

“And it raises the question: If Google hid this breach from the public, how do we know there aren’t others? Google’s business model is based on trust, and hiding a potentially dangerous breach for six months is not the way to keep it,” PCWorld said.

Washinton Post said the bug has been fixed back in March. But the same report added that the delay in providing the public due information may “reignite long-standing complaints from federal and state officials that tech giants such as Google are reckless with user privacy and not forthcoming enough when breaches and other security incidents happen.”

Apart from shutting down the social media site, PCWorld said that the tech giant is also implementing additional security features such as: More granular Google Account permissions; Limiting the types of apps that are permitted to access Gmail; Limiting apps’ ability to receive Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices; and No longer making contact interaction data available via the Android Contacts API.

Google said, “the consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”