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  1. Google's solution to fight Google Drive Sharing Spam is inadequate Google announced a new block user feature for its Google Drive file hosting and synchronization service Google Drive last week that prevents others from sharing files and folders with you. Up until now, everyone with a Google account could share content with everyone else, provided that they have that user's email address. By default, new shares are announced via notifications or emails. The new share is shown when you click on the shared section of Google Drive as well, and it was stuck there up until now. The shared files are not downloaded immediately or added to a user's Google Drive, but the files are listed, even if unwanted. Sharing is a useful feature, as it enables users and teams to share files with others. You could use a shared folder to work on an Excel spreadsheet together, or a book, or share holiday photos with other family members or friends. Spammers have abused the share system for a long time. All it took was to get hold of a user's Google email address. Content could then be shared and since there was no way to remove yourself from shared content, you were stuck with the content. Up until now, Google Drive did not support blocking users from sharing content with you. Google started the rollout of a new user blocking feature last week. The full rollout may take up to 15 days starting on July 22, 2021. The new feature is available to all personal Google account customers, Google Workspace customers, and G Suite Basic and Business customers. The following happens when you block a user on Google Drive: The user can't share files anymore with you. You can't access any shared files anymore by that user. You can't share files with the user anymore. The user can't access any files you shared. How to block users on Google Drive Open the Shared with me section on Google Drive's website, or load https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/shared-with-me directly. Right-click on a file and select "block email" from the context menu. In the prompt that opens, select the block option. You can also unblock users on Google Drive in the following way: Select your profile picture on Google Drive and then Manage your Google Account. Go to People & sharing > Blocked. A list of blocked people opens. Select the X-icon next to the user that you want to unblock. Blocking users is not enough You can use the new blocking feature only after files have been shared with you. While that may work in some cases, it is an inadequate solution as it means that Google Drive users will have to do all the heavy lifting. While you can report spam to Google, nothing is keeping spammers from creating new email addresses and using these to share the same files or others with you again. Google should consider adding an option to disallow all shares by default, or to display a prompt to the user when a user attempts to share files for the first time. The ability to block is an important option nevertheless, as it introduces options to do something against unwanted shares. Google's solution to fight Google Drive Sharing Spam is inadequate
  2. A Google Drive security update will break some of your shared links An upcoming security update for Google Drive will increase the security of your shared documents but likely break many of your shared links. Yesterday, Google began emailing Google Workspace admins about a new security update for Google Drive rolling out on September 13th, 2021, to make file sharing more secure. "We’re releasing a security update which will apply to some Drive files. This will make Google Drive files more secure by updating their links and may lead to some new file access requests," explained Google in a new blog post. "While we recommend that you apply the update, Google Workspace admins can choose how this update is applied in your organization." When the security update is applied, it will add a resource key to Google Drive sharing URLs, as shown below. An example shared URL with resource key: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1v_CzospBBbSBRIBk1hZBdpcDB/vieA?usp=sharing&resourcekey=0-nianCdaCdmShrKSOAmcIlA. If a user has not previously viewed the file or been given direct access, they will need to use this resource key to access the file. This update will cause any Google Drive links that you previously shared on websites, social media, or elsewhere to no longer work as they will not contain the required resource key. If you wish to continue publicly sharing your Google Drive documents, you will need to update your posts with the new links that contain the resource key. Feature rolling out over the next few months Google is rolling out the Google Drive security update over the next few months in three phases to give Google Workspace admins enough time to prepare. During Phase 1, which runs from now until July 23rd, 2021, admins can use the Google Alert Center to view an alert about this update with a list of files or folders that may be affected by the update. They can then go to Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs, click Sharing settings, and then Security update for files, as shown below, to configure how they want to apply the update. Google Drive security update settings After clicking on Secure update for files, you will be prompted to select one of the following settings: Apply the security update with no option for users to remove it—The default for EDU, this option applies the update to all impacted files in your organization. Apply the security update, but users can remove it for specific files—The default for non-EDU, this option applies the update to all impacted files in your organization. Remove security update (not recommended)—Links to your files remain the same. There’s no option to remove the security update from folders. In Phase 2, which is from July 26 to August 25, 2021, Google Drive notifies affected users of the update and any affected items that they own or manage. If an admin permitted them, they can now decide to remove the update from those shared files. Finally, in Phase 3, which begins September 13, 2021, the update will have finished rolling out based on the settings the admins and their users have configured. A Google Drive security update will break some of your shared links
  3. Google is replacing Google Drive for Windows 10 with a new unified client, Drive for Desktop On their enterprise blog, Google has announced plans to replace its Google Drive app for Windows 10 with a new unified app based on its Drive File Stream app for Google Suite enterprise users. Possible due to the increasing work from home, the new client, called Drive for Desktop, will bring along a lot of the consumer features such as backing up photos to Google Photos automatically, but also allow you to sign in with both your consumer and enterprise Google account. “We’re planning to unify our sync clients and bring all of our customers the best and most used features from both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync. This will create a powerful and unified sync client for anyone who uses Drive, whether for business or personal purposes,” Google confirmed in the announcement. “We are bringing features from Backup and Sync to Google Drive for Desktop to create a simpler user experience. New features to Google Drive for Desktop include syncing folders like Documents or Desktop or Drive storage, uploading from USB devices, uploading photos and videos to either Google Photos or Google Drive, and support for multiple accounts.” The main feature being lost appears to be selective uploads of file types and folders. The app should roll out to enterprise users towards the later part of 2021 and then later to consumers currently using the Google Backup and Sync app. via Express. Google is replacing Google Drive for Windows 10 with a new unified client, Drive for Desktop
  4. You all are quite aware of phishing attacks, and for those who are not, Phishing scams are typically fraudulent email messages, masquerading as a well known and trustworthy entity in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from victims. However, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated recently. The Pro-hacker group, Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is also popular for its advance phishing attack and had purposely targeted twitter account and websites of various popular brands like Forbes, Microsoft, Obama, Facebook, CNN, eBay and PayPal in the past using phishing techniques. Security researchers have seen an increase in the number of phishing attacks every day, but recently a tricky scam came across by the researchers at the Symantec, which is targeting Google Docs and Google Drive users. Under this phishing scam, an email with a subject of "Documents", tricks recipient to view an ‘important document’ stored on the Google Docs by clicking the included link in the email. But supposed to be directed to important Google doc, the user is redirected to a fake login page, where he is required to enter his Google account information, i.e. Username and Password. One just needs to create a folder on Google Drive to host the phishing site, so it shows the address bar of the browser to “google.com” and let the fake login page run on the preview function of Docs. This allows criminals to make use of SSL encryption of Google, to deceive the victim further. "The fake page is actually hosted on Google's servers and is served over SSL, making the page even more convincing," Symantec security expert Nick Johnston explained. "The scammers have simply created a folder inside a Google Drive account, marked it as public, uploaded a file there, and then used Google Drive's preview feature to get a publicly accessible URL to include in their messages." It's really very common for the users to be prompted with a login page like this when accessing a Google Docs link and many of us may enter our credentials without a second thought. But, as soon as you enter the information and press "Sign in" button, a compromised web server with PHP script will receive and store your stolen credentials. “This page then redirects to a real Google Docs document, making the whole attack very convincing. Google accounts are a valuable target for phishers, as they can be used to access many services including Gmail and Google Play, which can be used to purchase Android applications and content,” Johnston explained. It is always recommended to login to any of your online accounts by entering the address into your browser's address bar rather than clicking a link in an unsolicited email and when any service required your login, have a close look that whether the request to click the link really makes sense or not. Source
  5. If you’re one of the Google Drive users who is taking advantage of unlimited storage for $12 per month on G Suite, beware. Workspace is replacing G Suite and offers more features for those who do, but you might not want to switch: unlimited storage on Workspace will cost you at least $20 a month. Currently G Suite business subscribers (which do not need to be actual businesses, but any individuals looking for greater storage capacity) can access unlimited storage on Drive for just $12 a month. For photographers with considerable backlogs of photos, this was a relatively inexpensive cloud storage backup solution. Google states in its plans that groups using this particular plan with four or fewer members are supposed to be only eligible for 1 TB of storage each, but in testing by Android Police and others have shown that Google has never enforced that limit. Unfortunately, this appears to be changing with the transition to Workplace. According to the company’s list of plans, which you can view here, there is a limit of 2 TB for individual Business Standard users and 5 TB per person on its new Business Plus plan. To get more, you will have to go to the Enterprise level which Google says requires you to work directly with a Google sales representative (this appears to actually be the case), but Google does promise they can offer as much storage “as you need” in this category. That doesn’t explicitly say unlimited, but should realistically operate as such for now. Pricing in that Enterprise level will cost you $20 per month ($30 per month on Enterprise Plus), nearly double the previous price for the same amount of storage. For now, G Suite customers will be able to stick with their current plans if they do not switch to Workplace, but Google is intending to transition all users over to the new system eventually. A Google spokesperson commented on the situation to Android Police: A relatively small number of organizations in a few specific industries actually realize the full benefit of unlimited storage. With the new editions, we’re providing more value with features that are useful to more customers, like Meet recordings in the new Business Standard edition, while maintaining pricing and plentiful storage. And with the Enterprise editions, available to customers of all sizes, more storage can be requested if needed. It seems that if you rely on Google for storage, you should start budgeting for a price hike in the near future as well as prepare for a transition to Workplace. (Via DIY Photography via Android Police) Source
  6. WhatsApp working on letting you password-protect Google Drive backups WhatsApp currently allows Android users to backup their chat data to Google Drive. However, while WhatsApp chats stored on your device are encrypted, the backups in Google Drive are not. WhatsApp is possibly looking to change that as hints of the company working on password-protecting Drive backups have surfaced. This will be a major win from a security standpoint as it will ensure that your WhatsApp backups stored in Google Drive are also encrypted. As reported by WABetaInfo, who managed to activate the feature on v2.20.66 of the app, the feature is currently under testing by WhatsApp. Despite getting the relevant options to show up, the feature did not work and simply showed a blank page. Nonetheless, whenever WhatsApp does roll out password-protected backups for Android users it will apparently be located inside WhatsApp Settings -> Chat -> Chat backup. It goes without saying that if you end up forgetting the password of your WhatsApp backup stored in Google Drive, you will not be able to restore it on your device. The feature will possibly first show up in the beta channel for WhatsApp users before a wider rollout. Knowing how slow WhatsApp is in rolling out new features to its app though, expect to wait for quite a bit before this feature makes it to the stable channel. Source: WhatsApp working on letting you password-protect Google Drive backups (Neowin)
  7. Google Drive adds biometric protection on iPhone and iPad Google has released a new update for Google Drive that brings support for Touch ID and Face ID on iPhones and iPad. The new update will allow users to lock their Drive files behind a Privacy Screen so if anyone tries to access the files, they will need to use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock. The feature is not exactly new as it was first announced by Google last month. A Google Spokesperson told Digital Trends that the feature is designed to give users a "little more privacy for documents stored on your phone." Privacy Screen also supports timeout allowing users to specify when they want Drive to be locked. Google currently allows users to delay it for 10 seconds, one minute, or 10 minutes. This is good for users who multi-task and might need to switch between apps. Privacy Screen, however, isn't completely secure. When enabling it, Google warns you that it can't protect some Drive notifications, Files shared with the iOS Files and Photos apps and “other system functionality.” The feature is currently rolling out to all the Apple iPhone and iPad users. You can head to the Apple App Store to grab the latest Google Drive update. Source: Google Drive adds biometric protection on iPhone and iPad (Neowin)
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