Dropbox Hires Outside Security Detectives to Investigate Spam in Private Storage Accounts

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-07-19 Print this article Print

Spam isn't supposed to get into private storage services; ostensibly, only subscribed users have access to their accounts.

Cloud storage provider Dropbox believes its service suffered a security breach after some users discovered July 17 that they had been targets of spam emails sent to accounts used solely for the cloud file storage service.

Spam isn't supposed to get into private storage services; ostensibly, only subscribed users have access to their accounts.

As a result, on July 19 Dropbox revealed that it has hired some outside security experts to help with its own investigation.

In an effort to alert Dropbox users, a Dropbox staff member named Joe G. posted the following on a company forum page: "We wanted to update everyone about spam being sent to email addresses associated with some Dropbox accounts. We continue to investigate and our security team is working hard on this. We€™ve also brought in a team of outside experts to make sure we leave no stone unturned.

"While we haven€™t had any reports of unauthorized activity on Dropbox accounts, we€™ve taken a number of precautionary steps and continue to work around the clock to make sure your information is safe. We€™ll continue to provide updates." On July 17, several Dropbox customers used the forums to complain about receiving a flood of spam in their email. Some of them reported that the email address affected is one they have used exclusively for their Dropbox account.

Most of Those Affected Are in Europe

Dropbox said that most of the users who complained are from Europe and at least some of the spam messages are scams masquerading as messages from European gambling sites.

"The data center is being transformed at a rapid pace--cloud, virtualization, converged infrastructure, BYOD and mobile are all big shifts being driven by ROI, cost savings and productivity business goals," said HyTrust President and founder and cloud security expert Eric Chiu.

"However, at the same time, many of the other core elements such as security and compliance tools as well as processes have not changed to meet this new environment."

Dropbox is an example of a consumer-type application that has infiltrated the enterprise, which can have serious security consequences, since employees often hold confidential corporate data without any enterprise security controls, Chiu said.

"With external and internal breaches happening daily, this is a perfect formula for major disasters to happen. The need for consistent configuration, and controls for access, management and visibility is critical," Chiu said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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