Tech

This is what the “security update” of Google Drive will change for you.

Google will change the way we share links from its cloud to strengthen the security of Google Drive. Don’t panic, the changes won’t destroy your entire work environment.

You may have received an email or an alert telling you about upcoming changes to Google Drive. Google’s cloud storage service will tighten up data security, with changes to the way documents are shared.

This could potentially limit your access or that of others to certain old documents. But don’t panic, your working files won’t disappear overnight.

What exactly is changing?

On Google Drive, sharing a file can be done via a simple link. The document then becomes accessible to all people with the address generated by Google. Unfortunately, this method is not very secure, because the public URL (which is made up of an incomprehensible sequence of characters) can be guessed with time and energy.

That’s why since 2017, Google has added a variant to its URLs, making them more difficult to guess. But all the links created before this switch are not protected by this additional layer of security. Or rather it wasn’t, since Google has started converting all the old URLs to this new format.

It is this toggle that can pose a problem since the old links will somehow “expire” and no longer allow access to the file. Don’t worry though, only people who have never consulted this link at least once will end up with an error page. You will then have to request access again to view the document.

Minimal impact

The impact of this update is therefore limited since they only concern links generated before 2017 and will only block Internet users who have never yet viewed the document. In addition, only files not converted to Drive format (JPG, DOCX) are affected. Google has nevertheless set up a page listing your documents whose link may be broken today. If you wish, you can remove the security update applied to your document, but this is not recommended by Google.

Google Drive illustration
Only formats not native to Google drive are affected // Source: Google

The changeover has already started and should end on November 13th. At the same time, Google has also rolled out a tool to block users on Google Drive if you want to prevent a malicious individual from sharing files with you without your consent. All you have to do is right click on a file that has already been shared with you and then choose the option allowing you to block the targeted email address. On mobile, this is done from the document options.

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