Keeping files on Dropbox comes with great convenience, which we all appreciate.
You know, secure storage, link sharing, productivity tools, collaboration, etc.
But there’s a problem:
→ It’s easy for cybercriminals to distribute malicious software through the platform.
→ On top of that, collaborators may unknowingly share infected files while working on projects.
So hang around if you too wondered if you can get a virus from Dropbox and how to better safeguard your device.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Is Dropbox safe?
Dropbox is a cloud-based storage service for hosting, sharing, and syncing files across devices.
It also offers intuitive tools for collaboration and processing documents on the go.
The platform boasts top-notch security features starting with 256-bit military-grade encryption.
Besides, it protects data transfers using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols.
As a user of the platform, you get two-step authentication (2FA) to secure your account.
Moreover, premium users can add security passwords to their shared files/links.
So, where exactly is the problem?
→ Dropbox, despite being safe, doesn’t scan files for viruses and malware.
→ Even if it did, chances are emerging threats can still evade such a system.
The good news is user data resides in storage environments that lack executable power.
Therefore, dangerous software residing on the platform can’t cause any damage unless you download it.
And one more thing:
Dropbox has in recent times suffered multiple data breaches. Still, there are no incidents of hackers compromising user accounts on a large scale.
What are the potential threats?
Even though Dropbox is fairly secure, potential threats exist to using the service. Let’s take a closer look at some of them below:
Phishing scams are very common cyber security attacks that attempt to steal data from the target victims.
They’re distributed through files that contain links, which redirect to malicious websites.
Cybercriminals may also share fillable documents to lure you into providing sensitive information.
A common example is sharing fake company documents to hoodwink users sharing a Dropbox account.
As earlier mentioned, Dropbox stores data in a secure non-executable environment. And since it doesn’t scan for infections, hackers can use it to spread viruses/malware.
Downloading the files may prompt your device to install them in the background. Consequently, the attacker can gain control of your device and collect information without your knowledge.
Dropbox is also a hotspot for spreading ransomware attacks. This malware locks you out of your computer until you pay, guess what? A ransom!
To make it worse, there are no guarantees. Hackers can still hold your device hostage and demand more money.
Emotet is a deadly trojan that uses your device to infect other connected computers within a network. It gets into your PC through corrupted files downloadable from Dropbox.
Malicious software of this type is primarily used to gain control of an organization’s systems. Hackers prefer this method because of its effectiveness in collecting large amounts of sensitive data.
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack involves flooding a server with traffic, resulting in its shutdown. It utilizes multiple infected computers to launch the attack against the target.
Hackers can use Dropbox to comprise your system into an epicenter for DDoS.
Note that, you may mistakenly rub shoulders with authorities for being part of such illegal operations.
Can you get a virus from Dropbox?
Right off the bat, you can get a virus from using Dropbox. Since the service doesn’t scan uploads/downloads, infected files can live infinitely on the platform.
This can happen in various ways as follows:
- Sharing links – Colleagues can share a Dropbox download load link for an infected file. Once it gets into your system, a malicious program will install unaware.
- Hacked Dropbox account – Cyberattackers may use a compromised account to host viruses and malware. Again, downloading such files spells doom to your device.
- Collaboration – Your colleagues can unknowingly share a document from an infected computer or flash drive. Eventually, viruses/malware get into collaborator devices by syncing data from the same Dropbox account.
- Phishing emails – Hackers can send targeted people phishing emails containing malicious URLs and attachments. From here, all it takes is a single click to infect your computer with viruses.
But don’t panic!
How to stay safe?
It’s super-easy to shield yourself from viruses originating from Dropbox. Just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go:
- Always update your Dropbox to keep up to date with the latest security upgrades.
- Regularly review and delete suspicious files from your Dropbox account.
- Watch out for suspicious-looking emails that may contain malicious links and attachments.
- Be wary of documents that require you to click links or fill in personal information.
- Preview files on Dropbox to snoop at the contents before downloading.
- Enable two-factor authentication to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your account.
- Use a strong password and change it regularly whenever necessary.
- Get a password manager to store your logins in a secure vault.
Best of all?
Get an antivirus
Investing in good antivirus software is the best decision you can make. It can detect and protect your computer against executable viruses, malware, ransomware, etc.
The best thing about antiviruses is they proactively work in the background. They also automatically update to stay ahead of new and emerging threats.
That said, consider going for a robust antivirus like Kaspersky. It packs tons of features to shield you from known and emerging threats.
Let’s break it down:
Kaspersky offers advanced protection against all forms of cyber threats. The common ones include malware, viruses, and ransomware.
Onboard is a dedicated anti-phishing guard to stop your device from opening malicious links. It also filters your emails to highlight messages that contain harmful URLs.
There’s a firewall that lets you take control of your computer’s internet connectivity. You get to choose apps that access the web and block unnecessary ones like document viewers/editors.
Kaspersky also includes Safe Money to guard payments that you make online. It blocks any attempts by spyware and keyloggers from capturing your banking details or passwords.
The Plus and Premium versions of this antivirus offer other extras that you may like. These comprise of a password manager, identity theft protection, and a VPN.
Regardless of your choice, you’ll no longer worry about viruses from Dropbox. And don’t forget to set it to auto-update, you remain protected throughout.
You came here asking, Can I get a virus from Dropbox? As you’ve read, it does happen.
The cloud-hosting platform doesn’t scan files for potential infections. As a result, hackers can use it to distribute malicious software and phishing links.
To protect yourself, ensure that you monitor your Dropbox account for the presence of suspicious uploads. Avoid clicking questionable links and providing sensitive information.
Preview files if need be before downloading. Ultimately, get yourself a reliable antivirus to protect your device around the clock.