As explained in a blog post, Google Drive will now serve up banner alerts at the top of the page whenever a user opens a potentially dangerous file in Docs, Sheets, Slides and other Google Workspace apps.
Although Google has not explained how it will determine a file is malicious, the company says the feature will help shield against a variety of threats, including malware, ransomware and phishing attacks.
Google Drive security
The new Google Drive feature was first announced last year at Google Cloud Next, alongside a range of other security-related upgrades for the Workspace suite.
“As we continue to deliver delightful new experiences for users, we are keeping security at the forefront; it’s infused in every layer of our product design so that customers have the flexibility and trust needed to operate in a secure environment,” wrote Google at the time.
“Our mission is to empower everyone with an innovative and seamless experience that gives people - no matter their location or technical ability - the opportunity to drive real impact.”
To the well-trained eye, many scams involving malicious documents are easy enough to spot. For example, many of us know not to interact with files and links received in unsolicited emails from unfamiliar senders.
However, a user base as large as Google’s is bound to include many thousands of people who are not best equipped to handle these kinds of threats. The banner alerts offer this demographic an easy way to spot potential risk.
The feature is currently in the process of rolling out, but should take effect for all paying users within the next two weeks. The additional layer of protection will not be extended to Google Drive users on the free tier.
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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.