Google has alerted a few Google Photos users that their private videos may have been accidentally shared with strangers. The breach is reportedly caused by a bug inside Google Takeout, the search giant’s backup tool that allows users to download their data. The bug mixed up several user’s archives between November 21 and November 29 last year.
First flagged by Duo Security CTO Jon Oberheide, it seems Google is emailing users who used the Google Takeout app to backup their videos. In the warning, it says that a bug resulted in some of the videos being backed up into an unrelated user’s account. Oberheide pointed out that the notice was non-specific at best, and downright callous at worst-especially considering the sensitive intel that many of us keep in our media.
According to the note, users who have used the “download your data” service between November 21 and November 25 of last year, some videos were “incorrectly exported.” It further states, “If you download your data, it may be incomplete and it may contain videos that are not yours.” Google said that “one or more videos” of “less than 0.01 percent of Google Photos users” were leaked which will be about 1,00,000 users given the app has over billion users.
Google did not specify whether other types of media like images and GIFs were also “accidentally” shared. A commentator in a Reddit thread claimed that nearly 3% of video files in his Google Photo archives were not his and it seemed to belong to three to four different accounts.” There is enough identifying info in some of these to find the owners,” he said.
The issue was not immediately resolved and was patched after five days after the glitch was discovered. This is not the first time that Google Photos has compromised personal data. Last year, a vulnerability in the service allowed malicious parties to retrieve metadata of other’s pictures.
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