Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security //

Law

10/12/2018
07:00 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

Senators Demand More Information on Google+ Vulnerability

A letter from the Senate's Commerce Committee chairman is asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai for additional information about a bug in Google+ social media platform that may have exposed data on 500,000 users.

A US Senate committee has sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai that is demanding more answers about a flaw in the company's Google+ social media platform that could have exposed the personal information of about 500,000 users to third-party developers.

In the October 11 letter, John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, along with Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, write that Google needs to release more information about the security bug in the platform.

The three cite an article in The Wall Street Journal that reported this week that Google found out about the flaw in March, but kept it under wraps as some executives in the company worried about the legal and regulatory fallout of disclosing the bug. (See Google+ Bug Exposed Personal Data of 500K Users Report.)

(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)

It's not clear if any third-party applications developers took advantage of bug to look at the details of Google+ users and their friends, but the vulnerability has raised serious questions about Google handles the data of its users.

"As the Senate Commerce Committee works toward legislation that establishes a nationwide privacy framework to protect consumer data, improving transparency will be an essential pillar of the effort to restore Americans' faith in the services they use," according to the letter. "It is for this reason that the reported contents of Google's internal memo are so troubling."

As part of a response to the Journal article, Google is planning to review many of its privacy and data protection policies for its various products, including Android and Gmail. Also, Google has decided to close the consumer version of Google+ within the next year, although the commercial version will remain.

The letter from the commerce committee asks eight specific questions of Google about the breach, including:

  • Why did Google not offer details about the vulnerability either to the committee or the public at large until the story broke in The Journal this week?
  • Did Google reach out to the Federal Trade Commission or another government agency before the disclosure this week?
  • Does Google believe that those who use the company's free services should have the same level of service and protection as paid G Suite subscribers?

The letter is asking for answers from Google and its executives by October 30.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Concerns over supply chain vulnerabilities and attack visibility drove some significant changes in enterprise cybersecurity strategies over the past year. Dark Reading's 2021 Strategic Security Survey showed that many organizations are staying the course regarding the use of a mix of attack prevention and threat detection technologies and practices for dealing with cyber threats.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-0652
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
In VectorDrawable::VectorDrawable of VectorDrawable.java, there is a possible way to introduce a memory corruption due to sharing of not thread-safe objects. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitati...
CVE-2021-0702
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
In RevertActiveSessions of apexd.cpp, there is a possible way to share the wrong file due to an unintentional MediaStore downgrade. This could lead to local information disclosure with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: An...
CVE-2021-0703
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
In SecondStageMain of init.cpp, there is a possible use after free due to incorrect shared_ptr usage. This could lead to local escalation of privilege if the attacker has physical access to the device, with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Pr...
CVE-2021-0705
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
In sanitizeSbn of NotificationManagerService.java, there is a possible way to keep service running in foreground and keep granted permissions due to Bypass of Background Service Restrictions. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User intera...
CVE-2021-0706
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
In startListening of PluginManagerImpl.java, there is a possible way to disable arbitrary app components due to a missing permission check. This could lead to local denial of service with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersi...