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Google Drive Ransomware – Protection Tips for Business

Google Drive ransomware protection is ultimately important. The number of ransomware attacks has been steadily growing since 2015. And the malware is constantly evolving, finding new ways to infect both devices and the cloud.  When it infects a computer, ransomware encrypts all files on it and those stored at cloud storage such as Google Drive, One Drive, and Dropbox.

Let’s get a closer look at how this type of malware works and how to protect your Google Drive. 

How Ransomware Infects Your Data in the Cloud

To understand how to protect your business-critical data and other sensitive information from ransomware, you need to understand how it infects your Google Drive. The most common method of spreading malware is phishing emails, deceiving messages with an attachment or a link to a malicious website.

Other common methods of infection are client-side hacks, where malware is hidden in software and browser extensions downloaded by the user; malicious websites and ‘malvertising’ – malicious online advertisements that are injected into ad networks; and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and torrent sites.

1. Ransomware infection via email attachment

The malware itself is usually hidden within a macro in a Microsoft Word Document, or as Javascript disguised as another type of file. 96% of phishing attempt emails sent in the third quarter of 2016 were found to be distributing Locky ransomware.

Once ransomware has successfully encrypted local files stored on your computer or mobile device, these files can quickly be copied to the cloud. Most cloud services offer syncing software, which automatically updates newer versions of files to the cloud when they are changed locally. Please, refer to this article to avoid Google file synchronization threats.

If you have Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox application installed on your computer, this saves you the hassle of uploading files manually but also means that any infected files may be uploaded to the cloud before you have the chance to stop it. As soon as the files are encrypted, the encrypted version is uploaded to the cloud and replaces the older one.

Cloud storage may be used as a backup by many people, but it doesn’t protect your Google Drive files from being infected with ransomware. If the cloud service you’re using saves previous versions of files then you may be able to revert to an earlier version, but many modern ransomware strains also encrypt versions.

Google Drive Ransomware Protection

2. Ransomware infection by link

A link in a phishing email will lead a recipient to a website with a form to enter their email login and password. The website might look like the real one (for example, the website of Google, or a bank, or a reputable NGO). In fact, upon entering the credentials, its visitor will give the ransomware access to their Google Workspace and Google services.

Check out how it works in real-time:

3. Ransomware infection by Application

When users get applications on Google Marketplace or Chrome extensions they provide OAuth access to their accounts. Apps also request to provide permissions. Their scope can vary from seemingly harmless like viewing your email and username to potentially malicious like editing your Google Drive documents.

Application with editing permissions can encrypt your entire Google Drive within hours and it will take weeks to restore all the data.

Google Drive Ransomware Protection Tips

When it comes to protecting Google Drive from ransomware, we suggest 3 levels of defense:

1. Educate your employees

The best way to ensure Google Drive ransomware protection is to educate your colleagues on how to avoid or prevent it. You need to teach how to recognize a phishing email, avoid downloading files from unsafe sources, and keep up to date with the latest malware and how it is being spread.

2. Backup your data

Backups are also essential to recover from a malware attack, and Ransomware protection, in particular. We suggest following the 3-2-1 rule. Have three copies of one file stored in 2 different mediums, one offsite.

A third-party cloud-to-cloud backup service is necessary if you use cloud services similar to Google Drive. In this way, you can simply restore your backed up files to a previous version in the event that they are encrypted or deleted.

Use Google Drive backup service.

3. Use third-party security tools

We can recommend two types of tools in this category:

  • ransomware protection
  • application monitoring and control

Ransomware protection tools will help you stop and decrypt the files in case of a ransomware attack. Application monitoring solutions will enable you to detect, assess and disable risky apps that have access to your Google Drive.

There are tools that can cover several layers of ransomware protection. For example, SpinOne detects and eliminates ransomware within an hour after the beginning of a ransomware attack. It automatically restores the damaged files from its backup.

In addition to this, it monitors and evaluates apps that have access to your Google Workspace. Finally, it has the functionality to block dangerous applications.

Get the ultimate Google Drive ransomware protection

Try SpinOne!
Courtney Courtney Ostermann Chief Marketing Officer
About Author

Courtney Ostermann is the Chief Marketing Officer at Spin.AI, responsible for the global marketing program focused on driving brand awareness and revenue growth.

Previously, Courtney served as the Vice President of Corporate and Demand Marketing at PerimeterX, where she helped accelerate revenue and supported its acquisition by HUMAN Security.

She was also the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at PagerDuty, where she assisted with the company’s IPO, and has held marketing leadership roles at organizations such as Imperva, BMC Software, Oracle, and Saba Software. Courtney resides in the Bay Area and is a graduate of Colgate University. She is also a Board member at Lycee Francais de San Francisco.

In her spare time, she can be found standup paddling, wingfoiling, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

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