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Author Topic: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud  (Read 586 times)

Tim Weaver

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Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« on: April 19, 2021, 12:37:02 pm »

So my wife is a Photographer. We own a brick and mortar studio. Just for background.


She has the dropbox app installed on her computer so she can share files with those clients that use dropbox.

This week her "working" Hard drive started filling up and getting slow. To diagnose I fired up an app called Gemeni which looks for duplicate files. Well Gemeni found a bunch of other people's stuff on our computer. Turns out drop box started syncing clients phones to our desktop. There are two different (now 3) clients phone's documents synced to our computer. One of those is pretty benign, but the other is over 10 gigs (now 20) of data including a lot of legal documents.


All we did is share an image file to these clients and in return Dropbox synced their entire DB folder to our computer without any permission or any "clicking" done on our part.


Be careful if you've ever used dropbox for anything. It's probably worth it to check all your settings.
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John L Nobile

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2021, 12:50:03 pm »

So my wife is a Photographer. We own a brick and mortar studio. Just for background.


She has the dropbox app installed on her computer so she can share files with those clients that use dropbox.

This week her "working" Hard drive started filling up and getting slow. To diagnose I fired up an app called Gemeni which looks for duplicate files. Well Gemeni found a bunch of other people's stuff on our computer. Turns out drop box started syncing clients phones to our desktop. There are two different (now 3) clients phone's documents synced to our computer. One of those is pretty benign, but the other is over 10 gigs (now 20) of data including a lot of legal documents.


All we did is share an image file to these clients and in return Dropbox synced their entire DB folder to our computer without any permission or any "clicking" done on our part.


Be careful if you've ever used dropbox for anything. It's probably worth it to check all your settings.

It's a sharing app, isn't that the way it's supposed to work :)

At work, our sys admin blocked Dropbox as he's designated it as a security risk. I get the feeling that all "convenient" apps fall into that category. An FTP site would be more secure but it's not for the computer illiterate.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2021, 12:52:41 pm »

It's a sharing app, isn't that the way it's supposed to work :)

At work, our sys admin blocked Dropbox as he's designated it as a security risk. I get the feeling that all "convenient" apps fall into that category. An FTP site would be more secure but it's not for the computer illiterate.


Maybe it should be called an "oversharing app"?
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2021, 01:35:10 pm »

I used to use Dropbox. As needs grew so did my frustration with lack of control, not to mention the annoyance of them trying to turn everything into a social-network experience. (They are not alone in this fault.)

I switched to Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (AWS S3) and could not be happier. It requires a little more configuration and use of a command-line interface (CLI) but I trust it to do exactly what I want. The CLI is actually a huge plus as I can write simple scripts to automate my backing-up. Remember when computers promised to do things automatically to make life easier? You pay by the byte and it's very cheap. My monthly bill is running around $3.

 --Frank
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 01:37:14 pm by Frank Koenig »
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2021, 03:25:18 pm »

Yikes!  How exactly did you share the file??  The fact that somehow you ended up with access to someone else's files sounds dangerous as hell.  If it was an accidental button press by someone, the fact that you can do that accidental button press is scary.  If it's a software fault, well, there is a class action suit waiting to happen.

If you gave the client your dropbox name and password, well, that's on you...  And yes, I've seen that happen and then people get surprised when bad stuff follows...
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2021, 04:23:33 pm »

A friend (and LABster) has an unspecified aversion to DropBox.  Whatever happened must have been pretty impactful.  My objection is that installing it on a computer or as a device app turns your computer/device into a DropBox Zombie that will use every bit of bandwidth and disk space.  It's a PITA to remove all of DB's tentacles from your OS, too (like AOL's software, years ago).  I only use Dropbox via the web interface.

Most of my needs are transferring of files and less of cloud collaboration.  WeTransfer.com was suggested to me and I've found it simple and easy to use, but it's not storage - it's file moving.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2021, 04:33:54 pm »

Yikes!  How exactly did you share the file??  The fact that somehow you ended up with access to someone else's files sounds dangerous as hell.  If it was an accidental button press by someone, the fact that you can do that accidental button press is scary.  If it's a software fault, well, there is a class action suit waiting to happen.

If you gave the client your dropbox name and password, well, that's on you...  And yes, I've seen that happen and then people get surprised when bad stuff follows...

On our end we don't know how it happened. We shared an image via the "Share File" function in the desktop app. Those links were then emailed to the clients. Then sometime after that the contents of that client's DB app on their phone started appearing in our DB folder. Maybe they shared their drive with us? I don't know, but it shouldn't be that easy. All these shared files came from phones. Not one of the three clients has contacted us saying "they made a mistake" or anything. Either it's a bug, or they accidently shared their phone files with us unknowingly.

Most of the files were family photos, etc, but one of these clients had a ton of legal documents that got placed on our computer. I'm not sure if he's a lawyer or what. We deleted it all right away.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2021, 07:07:00 pm »

A friend (and LABster) has an unspecified aversion to DropBox.  Whatever happened must have been pretty impactful.  My objection is that installing it on a computer or as a device app turns your computer/device into a DropBox Zombie that will use every bit of bandwidth and disk space.  It's a PITA to remove all of DB's tentacles from your OS, too (like AOL's software, years ago).  I only use Dropbox via the web interface.

Most of my needs are transferring of files and less of cloud collaboration.  WeTransfer.com was suggested to me and I've found it simple and easy to use, but it's not storage - it's file moving.

We are a ‘We Transfer’ family here too.   Been using it for years and never had an issue.
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 10:22:05 pm »

Be careful if you've ever used dropbox for anything. It's probably worth it to check all your settings.

I use DB as my main folder on all my computers.  On those where I don't want to actually duplicate the files I set it to offline only.  This way I still have access to all files but they must be downloaded when I click on them.

As long as the account is the same on all the computers I never have extra copies.
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 11:18:15 pm »

My relationship with Dropbox started to fray when I had a large number of files on an external USB hard drive that I wanted to backup. I couldn't figure out any way to do it other than copy them all to a Dropbox-auto-synched directory on the local drive. That just seemed stupid. Sometimes when uploading a lot of files the process would just freeze after a while.

The absence of documentation that explains exactly what Dropbox DOES do pissed me off. Their idea of support appears to be to put up a forum where other users who also don't know what they're talking about can stab at problems.

I also didn't like the way their photo viewer keeps resizing images a few percent this way or that, and makes them look a little soft in the process. I size and sharpen my images to look good on the display device I expect and don't want Dropbox messing with them. When viewing images on Dropbox it always appears to load them twice. You see the image and then a fraction of a second later it blanks out and reappears. What's up with that?

AWS, on the other hand, has lots of documentation and great tutorials. It feels like I'm back among serious people. S3 does not have a built-in photo viewer but it's not difficult to set up a public "bucket" (the top level storage element) as a Web server. Having done that I wrote an embarrassingly simple R program to generate the HTML stuffing to make my photos browsable. It's dirt simple and no-doubt amateurish but does exactly what I want, and it's fast.

An aside: I'm not a big fan of Amazon's retail e-commerce business. They're my e-commerce site of last resort. I view AWS as a separate business, which it pretty much is.

--Frank
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Re: Be careful if you use Dropbox Cloud
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 11:18:15 pm »


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