Posts tagged DropBox

Why Google Is Tooling Up To Ward Off Rivals Like Dropbox And Microsoft

Google has pushed out a couple of app updates for Android, as it often does, but there’s more going on here than a few code tweaks. The new features introduced today in both Gmail and Google Drive are signs of the pressure the tech giant is starting to feel from competing apps on its own platform.

There are plenty of fronts that Google now has to fight on simultaneously, from self-driving cars to video content. But with eyeballs shifting to mobile and rivals such as Cyanogen in the wings, smartphone apps are one of the most important fronts of all.

See also: So Cyanogen’s Big Plan To Seize Android Is … To Jump In Bed With Microsoft

After all, the quality and deep integration of these apps are one of the key reasons someone might choose Android over iOS (where the balance of power is the other way around as far as non-Google apps go). It’s also one of the key advantages Android devices have over Amazon’s range of low-cost tablets and smartphones, as well as Windows Phone.

Taking On Dropbox And Microsoft

The new unified Gmail for Android inbox.

The first of the changes is in Google Drive, now taking over photo uploading and backup duties from Google+ (a move we knew was coming). It’s a crucial and crowded area: iCloud backs up photos on iOS, OneDrive backs up photos on Microsoft devices, and Dropbox backs up photos everywhere.

Google needs a slick and simple service it can rely on to move the huge amounts of photos and video we’re snapping on the go back to the Web and into other services. It has a better cloud back-end than most of its rivals, but that’s no reason for complacency—let’s not forget Amazon now offers unlimited online storage for $59.99 a year.

Then there’s Gmail, now with a unified inbox that lets you check all of your email accounts from one screen (again, a feature that’s not wholly unexpected). If you think that sounds a lot like Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange email offerings, you’d be absolutely right.

Again, it’s an area of strength for Google (as anyone who’s tried Apple Mail will tell you) but no one is standing still. A forked Cyanogen version of Android with top-tier Microsoft apps installed—Outlook in place of Gmail, Office and OneDrive instead of Google Drive—is a sobering thought for Google executives.

Microsoft may have been slow out of the blocks when it comes to mobile, but with the likes of Office and Cortana (supposedly) now extending to Android and iOS it means the fight for user attention has gone up several notches very quickly.

What happens next?

Facebook is coming for Google and Apple (Photo: Owen Thomas)

In just the last week we’ve seen Facebook launch a platform for Messenger and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp introduce voice calling—if Google didn’t have enough on its plate, it’s now got Mark Zuckerberg’s social network looking to build an ecosystem of its own, intent on toppling Android (and iOS) from the inside out.

If people are using Facebook Messenger to send photos, then they aren’t using Google Drive. If they can make calls via WhatsApp, then they don’t need Hangouts. And all of this user behavior adds up.

If we can read anything from a couple of app updates, it looks like Google is at least aware of the threat, and prepared to act quickly to counter it. You can expect to see a lot more investment in the core Google Android apps (and their Web and iOS equivalents) in the future. While Android vs. iOS is a storyline that attracts a lot of attention, the battle over individual apps may be where the bigger mobile conflict will be won and lost.

Lead photo by David Hamilton for ReadWrite; Gmail image courtesy of Google; other photos by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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Developers Get A New Dropbox Groups API For Business Use

Dropbox gave developers another toy today, unveiling a new API to go with a new “groups” feature it has just formally introduced into its Dropbox for Business service.

The groups feature allows users to create of lists of users that get access to a set of files. Dropbox insists this makes for more efficient sharing with coworkers and is “especially great” with training new employees. It explains the feature this way:

Using groups, you can create and manage lists of members to share information directly with the group instead of adding each person individually. Any new member you add to a group will be automatically added to all shared folders that the group has been invited to. You can also manage the entire group’s permissions to what you’re sharing by granting editing or view-only access.

Dropbox said the groups feature was the function most requested by business customers. It’s been in beta testing since November, when over 12,000 customers signed up for early access.

The group feature of Dropbox for Business has been in beta testing for several months. 

The groups API lets developers build the feature into their applications. Several Dropbox partners like CloudLock, Bitium, and Okta—which offer various combinations of security and user-identity management services—got early access to the API so as to extend their security options to ad-hoc groups of users.

It wasn’t entirely clear what other features developers might implement using the groups API. 

Photo by Joris Louwes

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Box Matches Dropbox With New Security Partnerships

Cloud storage and file-sharing company Box announced Box Trust, an initiative that includes a partnership with several computer security companies and the launch of an application designed for enterprise customers.

The Tuesday announcement, of which there were whisperings last week, comes days after competitor Dropbox unleashed its new Dropbox for Business API, also in partnership with several companies, also aimed at increasing the security of its cloud.

The Box Trust consists of 19 different companies, including Splunk, Symantec, and OpenDNS. The partnerships come with the goal of each company making Box more secure and therefore attractive to more corporate customers.

See also: Box And Dropbox Are Going To War Over Corporate Data Security

“Our partnership with the security ecosystem is incredibly important to the successful delivery of Box into the enterprise, and our work here is just beginning,” wrote Box CEO Aaron Levie in a blog post about Box Trust.

Each of the partners brings something different to the table.

“We are excited to be a founding partner in the Box Trust security initiative to bring our Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology to Box customers,” said Chandra Rangan, vice president, product marketing, Symantec, in a Box press release. “With data in the cloud quickly becoming ubiquitous, we share a common mission and responsibility to make access, sharing and collaboration within and across organizations safe and secure.”

A more tangible representation of this new emphasis on cloud security comes in the form of a new mobile app for iOS and Android, Box for Enterprise Mobility Management. The app is designed for Box Enterprise users, and allows businesses greater control over their mobile cloud use. Box for EMM can be wiped remotely. 

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Box And Dropbox Are Going To War Over Corporate Data Security

On Wednesday, Dropbox plans to unveil a new API (see our API explainer) intended to let large corporate clients tie third-party security tools into Dropbox ‘s cloud storage. Next week, its rival Box plans its own security announcement aimed at helping employees at big organization collaborate and manage their cloud-based information in a secure way.

It’s the latest skirmish between the leading independent providers of cloud storage. Dropbox, which claims more than 300 million users, dominates among consumers. But it has struggled in its attempts to take on Box, which focused on big-company customers from its inception. (Both companies face additional competition from increasingly cheap Google and Microsoft cloud-storage services.)

See also: Dropbox For Teams Isn’t Ready To Take On Box

Dropbox first debuted its business service, then known as Dropbox for Teams, in 2011. In early 2013 it launched a more serious foray into the corporate world with its renamed Dropbox for Business service. Its most recent upgrades to that service added security features and made it much easier for users to keep business and personal files separate on Dropbox, but still fell short on collaboration features and the use of third-party corporate-grade apps.

See also: All Your Files Are Belong To Dropbox

The new API—dubbed, naturally, the Dropbox for Business API—goes part of the way toward closing that gap. It already offers more than 20 enterprise integrations, many with a heavy emphasis on security, according to Dropbox.

The new API is launching with several integrated corporate applications related to security—for instance, ones that cover legal functions such as electronic discovery and “legal hold,” data loss prevention, management of digital rights for copyrighted material, identity management and so on.

Box says it will fire back next week with an announcement detailing new ways companies can secure their cloud data. Tellingly, Box plans to emphasize secure-collaboration features, an area where Dropbox for Business has traditionally been weak.

The new API is unlikely to affect present Dropbox for Business pricing, which is $15 per user with a minimum of five users. Some current Dropbox for Business customers include News Corp, Spotify, Under Armour, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Lead photo by Rupert Ganzer

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Dropbox Responds To Snowden Privacy Criticisms

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been anything but subtle about his aversion toward Dropbox. Now the storage service’s CEO had a few words to say in reply.

Snowden has repeatedly told consumers that if they want to protect their privacy, they ought to avoid Dropbox which he has called a “targeted, wannabe PRISM partner” that is “very hostile to privacy.” Snowden recommended a competitor called SpiderOak.

See also: Dropbox For Business Gives Control Freaks What They Want

On Wednesday, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston used his platform at the Dublin Web Summit to indirectly respond to Snowden’s remarks, emphasizing a priority on user experience.

“If you offer zero knowledge encryption we understand the motivation for that, but there are downsides to it,” he said. “Third-party tools are offered to do that, but of course that [affects making] all my stuff searchable and indexed and rendered well in previews. People have different tradeoffs.”

In other words, Dropbox offers limited privacy in exchange for seamless integration between desktop and mobile versions, Dropbox and third party apps, and other features.

When asked at the summit whether or not Snowden’s remarks had affected Dropbox usage, Houston noted that 1.2 billion users continue to use the service.

“It’s never fun when people throw rocks,” he says. “But how many [negative] articles were there about Facebook and Zuck? There are a lot of happy things but we go from the company who can do no wrong to the one who can do no right…. You are never quite as good as people say you are but also never quite as bad.”

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Dropbox Denies 7M Password Leak, Says Stolen Logins Are From Other Sites

On Monday, a Reddit thread surfaced with links to Pastebin files containing a slew of Dropbox logins. And, said the hacker, there’s plenty more where that came from—roughly 7 million compromised accounts in total. 

The initial leaks came to hundreds of unencrypted Dropbox usernames and passwords, all available in plain text. The anonymous perpetrator claimed this was just a taste of the voluminous hack and promised to leak more in exchange for bitcoin “donations.” The top of one of the Pastebin files reads:  

6,937,081 DROPBOX ACCOUNTS HACKED

PHOTOS – VIDEOS – OTHER FILES

MORE BITCOIN = MORE ACCOUNTS PUBLISHED ON PASTEBIN

As more BTC is donated , More pastebin pastes will appear

At this time, the source of the data is unknown. 

See also: Heartbleed Defense: The 3-Step Password Strategy Everyone Should Use

Although 7 million accounts only comes to about 3% of the 220 million that Dropbox services, that’s no consolation for the folks whose logins have been compromised. 

Just after contending with a Selective Sync glitch that errantly deleted user files, Dropbox finds itself at the center of another data integrity issue. But this time, the company says, it’s not to blame. In a statement to The Next Web, the cloud storage provider flat-out denied that it was hacked. Instead, it pointed the finger at third-party services:

Dropbox has not been hacked. These usernames and passwords were unfortunately stolen from other services and used in attempts to log in to Dropbox accounts. We’d previously detected these attacks and the vast majority of the passwords posted have been expired for some time now. All other remaining passwords have been expired as well.

The Reddit community set about checking if the logins were legitimate, and some members claimed that, while several were expired, some others still appeared to be valid as of late Monday night. 

How To Safeguard Yourself

Some Dropbox users may notice a prompt or message from the company, urging them to change their passwords or turn on two-factor authentication, a secondary measure that requires entering a six-digit security code in addition to login credentials. 

But whether you see the warning or not, you would still be wise to take action. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Log into your Dropbox account and change your password. (For tips on choosing good ones, click here.) On the same page, you can switch on two-step verification. For more information about this extra step, check out Dropbox’s description here

Once you’ve secured your Dropbox account, take one more step and think about anywhere else you may have used the same username and password combo. You’ll want to change those too—and then vow never to use the same credentials in multiple places again. Once logins are out in the open, other parties can try them at various sites, from Facebook and Gmail to the major online banking sites. Automated bots would make very easy work of this. 

As for this breach, ReadWrite has contacted Dropbox for more information, and will update this post if the company responds. 

Update: Dropbox posted a message on its blog stating that the logins were “stolen from unrelated services.” Unlike Snapchat, whose data breach stemmed from other services using its APIs to connect with it, Dropbox chalks this one up to a much more mundane reason: people using the same password on different services. 

The company says the attackers just kept trying the logins at various sites, including its own: 

Recent news articles claiming that Dropbox was hacked aren’t true. Your stuff is safe. The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox. Attackers then used these stolen credentials to try to log in to sites across the internet, including Dropbox. We have measures in place to detect suspicious login activity and we automatically reset passwords when it happens.

Attacks like these are one of the reasons why we strongly encourage users not to reuse passwords across services. For an added layer of security, we always recommend enabling 2 step verification on your account.

Update: 10/14/2014 12:30am PT

A subsequent list of usernames and passwords has been posted online. We’ve checked and these are not associated with Dropbox accounts.

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Hacker Leaks Hundreds Of Dropbox Logins, Claims 7 Million Up For Grabs

Monday night, a Reddit thread surfaced with links to Pastebin files containing a slew of Dropbox logins. And, said the hacker, there’s plenty more where that came from—to the tune of 7 million accounts in total. 

The initial leaks came to some 1,200 Dropbox usernames and passwords, all in plain text. The anonymous commenter claimed this was just a taste of the voluminous hack, and promised to leak more in exchange for bitcoin “donations.” 

6,937,081 DROPBOX ACCOUNTS HACKED

PHOTOS – VIDEOS – OTHER FILES

MORE BITCOIN = MORE ACCOUNTS PUBLISHED ON PASTEBIN

As more BTC is donated , More pastebin pastes will appear

The Reddit community set about checking if they were legitimate, and members claim that several appear to be valid. 

At this time, the source of the data is unknown. 

Dropbox, which already contended with another major problem this morning—a Selective Sync glitch that errantly deleted user files—said that it’s not to blame this time. In a statement to The Next Web, the cloud storage company flat-out denied that it was hacked. Instead, it pointed the finger at third-party companies that connect to Dropbox accounts:

Dropbox has not been hacked. These usernames and passwords were unfortunately stolen from other services and used in attempts to log in to Dropbox accounts. We’d previously detected these attacks and the vast majority of the passwords posted have been expired for some time now. All other remaining passwords have been expired as well.

At this point, some Dropbox users may notice a prompt or message from the company, urging them to change their passwords or turn on two-factor authentication. But whether you see the warning or not, the sheer volume of the alleged hack should be reason enough to take action. 

Start by changing your password. Then turn on two-factor verification—a secondary measure that requires entering a six-digit security code in addition to your login credentials.

The company outlines the steps to turn on two-step verification here

Once you’ve secured your Dropbox account, take one more step and think about anywhere else you may have used the same username and password combo. Then change those as well. Once the information is out in the open, other parties can try that login at various sites—from Facebook and Gmail to the major online banking sites—and bots would make very easy work of this. 

As for this breach, ReadWrite has contacted Dropbox for more information, and will update this post if the company responds. 

View full post on ReadWrite

iOS 8 Warning: Apple’s Dropbox Killer Could Murder Your App Data

After a summer of waiting, Apple is unleashing iOS 8, the latest version of its mobile operating system on Wednesday. Among the new features that promise to improve the way you we use our iPhones and iPads, there’s one item that could do the opposite: iCloud Drive.

The new online storage and sync option comes new as part of iOS 8, and it’s supposed to make documents and other data easy to access from both your Apple mobile device and OS X desktop software. The problem: For Mac users, it relies on the latest version of the computer operating system, Yosemite, which isn’t out yet. 

Here’s what you need to know.

iCloud Drive Could Make Some Functions Evaporate

Similar to Dropbox or Google Drive, iCloud Drive is supposed to let you and your apps access data, no matter what Apple device you use (though they need to be new enough to run iOS 8 and Yosemite).

If you’re upgrading to the new iPhone software immediately, the most imperative thing to do—apart from backing up your phone—is not enabling the iCloud Drive option. 

See also: Apple Offers Handy How-To For Android Users Who Want To Make The Switch

Apps—like Realmac Software’s Clear productivity app—can’t function with the feature turned on. Originally, the app featured a desktop component that communicated with the mobile app. iOS 8 and Yosemite hijacks that functionality, unless the user shuts it off. The developer explains in a blog post:

As OS X Yosemite is still pre-release (and not yet available) upgrading to iCloud Drive will prevent you from syncing with Clear for Mac until both OS X Yosemite is released and you upgrade to OS X Yosemite. 

Developers cannot work around the choice made when upgrading to iOS 8, so please make sure you pay close attention to the iCloud Drive screen shown after you update to iOS 8.

Once you install iOS 8, you’ll be asked whether to turn on iCloud Drive. The simple fix: Pick “Not now.”

The iOS 8 update might affect more than just Clear, though.

Other Apps May Be Buggier After Updating To iOS 8 Too

Dropbox also discovered a “compatibility” bug for iOS 8 users. Last night, the company said

We’ve discovered that Apple’s new iOS 8 introduces a compatibility issue that may prevent Dropbox and Carousel from properly uploading your photos and videos. This means that only the contents of your “Recently Added” album will upload automatically.

If you upgrade to iOS 8, don’t delete photos or videos from your devices until you’re sure that your stuff has backed up to Dropbox. Please visit our Help Center for additional details on how to keep your stuff safe.

In essence, it explains that sending photos to the main Dropbox and Carousel services can be buggy, although the report seems pretty vague about the exact problem. Whatever it is, Dropbox says it’s working with Apple to fix it, but to battle confusion for now, it’s suspending automatic backup of photos and videos. 

There will likely be other issues that crop up—that tends to happen whenever new software gets publicly launched—so to be safe, you may not want to grab iOS 8 right away. 

But if you’re brave and rush to download it anyway—available for the iPhone 4s and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and later, or the fifth-generation iPod touch—let us know how you find the new software. Deposit your disappointments (or joys) in the comments below. 

Lead image screenshot by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite. Clear app image courtesy of RealMac Software

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Dropbox Antes Up In The Cloud-Storage Price War

Cloud storage platform Dropbox announced today that it is offering a terabyte of storage for $9.99 a month, the same terabyte storage price set by competitors Google Drive and Microsoft’s One Drive.

This is just the latest move in the great cloud computing war of 2014, as these three heavy hitters engage in a race to the bottom for the consumer’s storage gigabyte. In March, Google announced a terabyte for $10 a month and 10 terabytes or more for $100 a month

Apple, meanwhile, plans to release its iCloud Drive later this year, which will offer 5GB for free, 20GB for a dollar a month or 200GB for $4 a month.

Images courtesy of Dropbox

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Now You, Too, Can Obsess Over Your Dropbox File Permissions

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston

Last month, Dropbox gave business users in its early access program the ability to rule their corporate accounts with an iron fist. Now the cloud storage company has opened the gate, allowing all business customers to obsess over their folder and file permissions too. 

See also: Dropbox For Business Gives Control Freaks What They Want

The July announcement granted administrators highly requested features covering view-only permissions for shared folders, and passwords and expirations for shared links.

This move is undoubtedly Dropbox’s way of answering critics who were unconvinced about the tightness of its security. With these changes, managers and authorized workers can fine-tune sharing controls, so freelancers, contract workers and other contacts don’t have unbridled access to company documents. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite, smartphone image courtesy of Dropbox

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