Google Drive displays warning banners that alert users of suspicious files. The feature is now being extended to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. These warnings should help users stay away from files potentially loaded with malware and other security threats.
A new Google Workspace blog post has confirmed that Google is extending Drive’s warning banners to the file level. This essentially means each and every file in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides is now eligible to receive and display a warning banner if Google’s internal malware and virus scanners suspect it could harm the user’s computer.
Moving ahead, nearly every Google Workspace user will see warning banners when they open a suspicious Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file on the web. One of the most common warning labels that users could encounter reads:
“This file looks suspicious. It might be used to steal your personal information.”
Usage of online collaboration tools has exploded in the past few years. Needless to mention, Google Workspace and other collaboration tools have proved invaluable. But threat actors as well as hackers too have been drawn towards files stored on the cloud. Cybercriminals have been aggressively targeting users through Google’s office software.
Security researchers at CheckPoint-owned Avanan discovered that cybercriminals were abusing the comments section in Google Workspace apps to seed malicious links to unsuspecting users. Even macOS users aren’t immune from similar attacks. Some malware could even take control of a user’s Google Drive account.
Microsoft already has similar protection and warning system for its Microsoft 365 platform. In fact, the offline edition of Microsoft Office disables basic editing as well as macros for all MS Office files that have been downloaded from the internet.
Incidentally, Google’s warning labels are currently available to all Google Workspace customers as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers. Hence, it is quite possible the company could extend the feature to personal Google Workspace accounts in the near future.