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Ransomware can lock files on Google Drive

Ransomware is often considered to be an on-premises technology threat. A user downloads a suspicious file or clicks on a sketchy link, and ransomware locks files on their computer. If they are logged into a local network, files on additional computers and shared drives may also be impacted. People don’t realize that it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Ransomware can spread to Google Apps data as well, particularly if you use the Google Drive sync capability.

Google Drive sync allows users to automatically synchronize some or all of their local files with Google Drive copies. Users can work on files offline, and when they reconnect to the Internet, changes are automatically synced. This is obviously convenient, especially when using Drive to collaborate with others, but it can also be a security vulnerability.

Here’s why: If files on a computer are infected by ransomware, they will sync to Google Drive and corruption will exist on both versions. And, if you are using Google Drive to collaborate with colleagues, ransomware can spread rapidly across all shared files and folders—creating a much larger issue. In a Google Drive Help Forum post dated June 7, 2016, a Google Products expert said:

“Encrypted ransomware files will sync back to the Google Drive server. You may be able to restore the files to a previous version but unfortunately, there isn’t much of a solution besides this. Best of luck to you!”

 

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However, you can avoid ransomware with a proper SaaS backup solution.  With a SAAS backup solution, your Google Mail, Drive, Calendar, Contacts, and Sites data is automatically backed up to the secure multiple times a a day. This independent copy allows you to restore data to a point in time before your files were encrypted.

According to security vendor McAfee Labs, ransomware will remain a major and rapidly growing threat in 2016. In other words, now is a good time to put a strategy in place to avoid ransomware. To protect your business data, ensure your software is up-to-date and patched, use reputable antivirus software, use a backup solution that automatically takes frequent backups of your data, and educate end users on what to watch out for (suspicious attachments, links, etc).

About the author: Raj Katyal

Raj is the Director at DDKinfotech. Raj has over 16 years of experience in IT Management and over 10 years of experience in the MSP industry, holding both Management and Technical level positions during this time. He has tremendous experience in running an IT Support service for SMBs and works diligently everyday in ensuring that DDKinfotech has the right people, processes and technology to support and value to the Clients.

More posts by Raj Katyal

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