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Cloud Data Storage Links Security

Dropbox and Box Leaked Shared Private Files Through Google 92

judgecorp writes: "People using shared storage providers such as Box and Dropbox are leaking data, a competitor has discovered. Links to shared files leak out when those links are accidentally put into the Google search box, or if users click links from within the documents. Dropbox competitor Intralinks stumbled across mortgage applications and bank statements while checking Google Analytics data for a Google Adwords campaign. Graham Cluley explains the problem in detail and suggests answers: for Dropbox users, it means upgrading to the Business version, which lets you restrict access to shared document links." Dropbox has posted an official response and disabled access to previously shared links. Box made a vague statement about their awareness of the issue.
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Dropbox and Box Leaked Shared Private Files Through Google

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  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:20PM (#46936073)

    I've used DB to allow a couple colleagues to download some reports as well as larger amounts of data. IMHO, if a link is generated, even if the link isn't public, someone or something will find it and have the ability to snarf that file.

    The trick is simple -- if the files are small, but too big to E-mail, PGP/gpg encrypt them, then send the links via a secure message. If the files are bigger (~50-100 megs or larger), then the file goes into a TrueCrypt volume that uses a keyfile, and the keyfile is GPG encrypted and E-mailed.

    This way, even if the link appears on Google and Mallory does get a copy, other than size and the public keys used [1], the file is encrypted and useless.

    [1]: One can always put the file in a WinRAR wrapper and send the password via encrypted E-mail as well, further obfuscating the contents.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:27PM (#46936121) Homepage

    Technically they didn't leak private files, because the files weren't ever private. They were public with the URLs not published in an index anywhere, so you had to know the URL to access them. Dropbox and Box simply forgot that those URLs would appear in HTTP Referer headers, exposing them in the logs of any site linked to from within those "private" documents. Security by obscurity... isn't.

    A document isn't private unless it requires at least some kind of authentication to access it, eg. setting up HTTP authentication, or using a system like Google Drive uses where you have to be logged in on your Google account to see documents shared with you.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @12:25AM (#46936557)

    They do that by design. Referer is part of the spec. URLs -- or GET requests in general -- should not contain any private data. It's even CWE-598 [].

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson