Google’s productivity tools such as Google Docs have over 2 billion active monthly users. This means they are also a big target for hackers.
Cyber security experts recently revealed a massive increase in hackers targeting Google Docs.
But it’s not only Google Docs…
Hackers are also going after other Google applications including Google Slides and Sheets.
The way it works is that hackers first create a Google Doc document.
Next, they use the comment feature in Google Docs to create a comment which includes a link and their target victim’s email address.
When the hackers add an email address Google sees that as an invitation. So, Google informs the user that they have been tagged in a comment.
This automatically sends the user the document, including the fraudulent link.
To make matters worse, the victim receives an email informing them that the document was shared with them.
But it doesn’t show the hacker’s email address, it only displays the name.
So, it could say that “Joe” is sharing the document, which could trick victims into opening the document.
This sharing technique can spread dubious links pointing to malware and phishing attacks, which then attempt to steal login credentials.
No matter what you do for a living, Google provides applications useful for everyday work.
But it’s a double edged sword…
Because Google applications are so popular, they are targeted by hackers more often.
So, here are a few security tips to help keep your Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides applications secure.
Don’t use link sharing:
One of the reasons Google Docs is so popular is because it allows you to share documents with others.
And it makes it easy to collaborate and share docs back and forth.
But the Google Docs link sharing is a privacy disaster. Anyone who has the link can access the document.
This means if you share a document with someone who has been hacked, then the hackers can access the Google Doc with the link.
Unless absolutely necessary, you should turn sharing off. Instead, send the document back and forth through email.
Turn off editor sharing:
If you do share a Google document with someone, then by default it gives them edit rights to the document.
This also means they can share the document with other people.
More concerning, if their account was compromised then malicious links could be added to the document.
Then hackers could share the document, which could have compromised links.
So, if you do decide to share a Google document make sure to turn off editor sharing.
Use Google Groups:
One of the many reasons people love using Google applications is because they are easy to share.
But since sharing documents creates a security risk you should consider using Google Groups.
Google Groups is a less known tool that the company created in 2001.
The tool lets you create a Google Group and add all the people you want to work with to the group.
Every time you have a new document to work on you can create a new group. When you create a group it will give access to the document to everyone in the group.
This allows you to share the document without compromising security. Just remember to ensure the Google Group is not public.
Finally, when it comes to keeping your Google applications secure, don’t forget a strong password and two-factor authentication.
When you use Google for most of your work the last thing you want is to have all your Google tools compromised.
So, a secure Google Account is the key to protecting all your Google applications.
Then, use the other tips above to stay safe and keep your private information secure.