Dropbox Opens Your Private Documents, But Should You Really Care?

/ 3 years ago


Dropbox is a powerful and popular tool, many people use it to openly share documents, files and more with other people, or even just other computers in their own little network. Yet while you normally find most files are ok to share relatively freely with certain people you can also tell Dropbox to share them with no one, when you do this, Dropbox will still open them up and take a look.

On one hand they’re just doing what they do with ALL files, giving them a quick scan so that they can generate a preview of the file for your convenience. Yet when you specify “no one should see this” shouldn’t that include Dropbox?

This file access habit was discovered by security expert Winn Schwartau, writing for the WNC InfoSec Blog. He was playing with a service called HoneyDocs, a service which tags documents and tell your privately if someone opens them, a sort of file alarm if you will. He upload the files to Dropbox to see if there was any file access he didn’t know about, but it wasn’t long before Honeydocs reported to him that all files with the .doc extension had been opened.

“Dropbox allows people to open and preview files from their browser. This blog post relates to back end processes that automatically create these document previews, making it easier for people to view docs within their Dropbox,” said a Dropbox spokesperson when speaking with

Of course, this is just a bot reading the files, but I’m sure some people will still be uncomfortable uploading a file that is for their eyes only, to then have it scanned anyway. Personally I wouldn’t upload anything to the cloud that I wasn’t willing to share on some level, if you want something secure, keep it local and protected. So should you really care? For most of us, no not really, but I’m sure there are some of you out there that may think twice before uploading files to the cloud.

Thank you BusinessInsider for providing us with this information.

Topics: , , , , ,

  • Skidmarks

    Bah, who cares. I’m sure Drive & Skydrive work the same way. As you so succinctly put it, if you don’t want others reading your doc’s (or, ahem… porn) then store them yourself.