Google Takeout is a popular service that Google offers for users looking to download their data. This can be helpful for things like creating backups of important files, rebuilding contact lists, making changes to photos or videos, downloading books, clearing space in Google Drive, and many other things. Given that Google offers such cheap and secure storage solutions for its consumers across all major platforms, it comes as no surprise that Google Takeout is such a popular means of downloading content.
A programming glitch compromised the security of these downloads, and as a result, videos downloaded through this popular platform that were intended to remain private were made available to strangers. On February 3rd, Google began contacting Takeout users about a technical issue.
In their email, they share that between November 21st and 25th, any videos included in their download were "incorrectly exported to unrelated users' archives." In addition, downloads performed during that period were incomplete. Google has identified and resolved the problem and assures users that they are conducting an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again.
The Bottom Line
Incidents like this go to show that no matter how many steps you take to keep your own data secure, there's nothing that any of us can do to ensure that our data held by other companies is kept secure. If Google, known for their high security, can experience a breach, anyone can. If companies like Avast, who were trusted to protect us, can sell our data without us knowing, anyone can. These are scary thoughts.
We commend companies like Google, who are honest and transparent about data breaches and security incidents that may impact their customers. The news headlines are full of reports of major websites experiencing data breaches, but only a small number of these breaches are made known to the public. Companies hide breaches every day for fear of the negative attention and loss of business that comes with their violation of customers' trust. Their choice to put the reputation of their company before the safety of their customers and their data often leaves victims dealing with identity theft and fraud.
This is why it's so important to use an account monitoring service. These services monitor the deep web for signs that your accounts were involved in a breach. When one is found, they alert you right away if your account information was shared online or on the dark web for criminals to access so that you know to begin taking action to protect yourself right away.