Google will look to shut down the consumer access of their social network Google+ as they announced the data of 500,000 users has been comprised and exposed to external 3rd parties since 2015. This issue was first sighted in March however not disclosed as it was not deemed serious enough to inform the public. This is the latest high-profile data breach in a long list of large-scale breaches that have further put the microscope on cybersecurity and the protection of personal data.
There was no evidence that the bug in the Google+ software misused user data before it was patched earlier in the year. Google affirmed that they had reviewed the problem, analysed the type of data involved, whether it could accurately identify the users and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take with this data.
The Google president mentioned that “None of these thresholds were met in this instance. We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused”. Despite this reassurance, there is no doubt it affected the brand of Google with the shares of the parent company Alphabet Inc. going down by 1.5%.
In light of the Facebook data breach for Cambridge Analytica brought before the US Congress, it is clear Google must be more vigilant as major conglomerates face huge scrutiny for misuse of private data. It is said that Google’s CEO was briefed on the choice to not notify users after an internal group met and agreed that it would not be the best course of action.
Google will look to release a substantial amount of privacy reforms in wake of this data mishap in order to reassure the general public by stopping most third-party developers from accessing Android phone SMS data, contact info and call logs. In addition to this Gmail will restrict building add-ons to a select number of developers in order to avoid a similar event happening.
With similar data breaches such as T-Mobile and British Airways it is clear to see that data security will become a more pressing focus for big and small companies alike as data continues to be mined and represent a key facet of every business.
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