Google Drive security update: What you need to know?

Google Drive security update: What you need to know?
Are you a frequent Google Drive user? If so, you’ve probably received notice in the past few months of their new upgrades coming in September. This includes folder storage, security, and sharing platform enhancements. The main enhancement will be taking place in the Google Drive security division. In the past, Google has had issues with malicious attacks harming the integrity of their client’s private data and files. That’s why, come September, they are revamping their link-sharing on Google Drive. As a Managed IT Services provider, we like to make sure our clients are always aware of big software changes and how they might be affected. Through Klik Solution’s Managed IT Services and IT Security Services, you can have the insight and knowledge you need to actively maintain your Drive security and proficiency.

Google Drive security update: What you need to know?

When it comes to the updates for Google Drive, there are a few things you need to know. Including their Google security update and link-sharing enhancements. So, let’s start with: Is Google Drive secure? How Google uses encryption to protect your ...

The New Google Drive Security Upgrade

Google, much like Azure or any other cloud storage platform, generates distinct uniform resource locators for every document you create. These unique URLs need to be hard to guess, for cyber safety purposes. This prevents hackers from coming across your private Drive documents. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that Google’s random URL-making property was not protecting folders as it should be. And many private link tags were being guessed pretty regularly by experienced hackers. When a hacker guesses a uniform resource locator that is currently on public link-sharing settings, they may view all of its contents. However, if the URL is being protected by private characteristics at the time of the attack, the hacker can make note of the file’s existence but not actually access it. Because of this universal resource locator guessing aspect, Google architects were forced to enhance the algorithm of their link generation process. Unfortunately, this streamlined process didn’t grandfather in older folders, so they were still viewable to hackers. With Google Drive’s new status update, you’ll experience Google Drive update folders that add an extra security measure to your documents. The method is called “resource key”. This means that people who have accessed your old documents may still access them, but any newcomers will have to make an access request that can only be accepted by the original owner. To sum it up, if you have any old files that you forgot about, then Google will prevent malicious users from accessing them by utilizing the “resource key” method. So you don’t have to worry about hackers guessing your URL and accessing your old folders without your permission.

Link-Sharing on the Drive

The Drive offers two link-sharing features under different view ranking, restricted and link-sharing. In the restricted mode, you must give access to desired individuals using their email. Once the recipient has logged into their Google account, they will be able to access, review, or edit your file. This depends on the preference made during the link address sharing creation process. With the second sharing feature, linking sharing, anyone with the URL to your document can access it. While the characteristics of this method demonstrate obvious security risks, it can be beneficial as well. Link-sharing is actually the go-to sharing method for many individuals because it offers relief from the manual entrance of email addresses and contact information. People are all about convenience and that’s exactly what this upgrade offers. By switching to URL sharing, you can just copy and paste the uniform resource locator into your job board and anyone may access it. While easy access is a benefit. It’s also a downfall, because, well, anyone can view it.

How this Upgrade Affects You

Google is setting up this streamlined method on a time wall. This means that after September 13th, your files will be locked to any new viewers. If a hacker comes across an old link without an access key after that date, they will not be able to access the folder. Alternatively, new viewers will have to create a new access request for the owner. For them to view it, the owner must send them a new URL with the resource key, mentioned earlier, included. Notice that this is similar to the restricted access view but now it occurs with link-sharing. This means, Google architects just added an extra safety layer, and possibly extra hassle, to their public sharing methods. Google made this clarifying statement for utilizers, “You’ll need to send collaborators the new, updated link that includes the resource key for your files, so they can gain access once the security update is applied. Do not remove the resource key parameter when passing the link to others”. It may seem like this upgrade is making public folders private, but this is not the case. If you have given access to individuals before September 13th, those users will still be able to access it. The main difference is that new viewers will have to request your access. This is mainly to protect your public files from hackers through improved URL encryption and resource keys. Fortunately, anyone who has the URL may still access your documents, you’ll just have to share information with new viewers. While this may seem like an additional hassle, it may be able to help protect your important data from falling into the wrong hands.

Still Necessary Improvements to Be Made

Though Drive has taken steps to improve accidental access leaks to unwanted, or possibly malicious, parties, there is still quite a bit of confusion between the sharing processes. At Klik Solutions, we believe the line distinguishing private and public sharing characteristics should be less vague. For cybersecurity purposes, we believe that files should only be accessible to intended recipients. No one else should be able to view this information, public or private. Unfortunately, the public sharing feature on the Drive is actually a publication method. For example, when you share a Google document it generates a URL. So, even when you don’t publicize your link it is still accessible to malicious entities on the web. Because that’s how the internet works, if you create a URL, anyone can access it. Our professionals believe that having a publication method disguised as a sharing method is extremely misleading for users and possibly dangerous in cyber security situations. User interface and restricted file sharing processes should be on two completely different plains. We recommend avoiding Google’s link-sharing feature altogether unless the data you are sharing is appropriate for public view. At Klik, we understand how time-consuming sharing private files may be. If you’d like to avoid the hassle of private sharing on the Drive, you are able to utilize Google Group features. In Groups you can create a forum for all of your intended recipients. This way you are able to skip the pain of adding all of your colleagues’ emails every time you want to share documents. Instead, add the document to the forum and enjoy your secure and simple mass file sharing. If you have any questions about these new improvements or want to know how we can help you manage your Google applications, call us today at 888-959-1196.
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