Cybercriminals are freely storing and sharing illegal software licenses, movies, games and porn content — most of which have allegedly been indexed in Google Search as some Drive users made such links public in their individual accounts.
Google Drive is a service for file storage and synchronization that allows users to store files, synchronize files across devices, and share files on their servers.
Thousands of such explicit and illegal content are being circulated via Google Drive, in zipped compressed files, according to independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia.
“Apart from thousands of porn videos, at least 25,000-30,000 links are likely sharing illegal content like malware, software, movies, games and whatnot. One can search such links in Google Drive at ease. Just do a search and download at will,” Rajaharia told on Sunday and shared several such screenshots.
Ironically, movies/games/software that have been excluded from Google Search due to copyright infringement are easily available for faster download on Google Drive.
“Unlike other file sharing websites, Google Drive allows faster downloads so such illegal and explicit content is thriving on its platform,” the cybersecurity researcher claimed.
The email sent to Google when such content is stored and shared freely on Drive did not generate any response.
Under its terms of service, Google says that “We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our Program Policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law. But that does not necessarily mean that we review content, so please don’t assume that we do”.
Though Google doesn’t go into the specifics of its detection methods, it uses file-hash to detect infringing material.
Google Drive compares the hash of copyrighted video material with files saved by users to detect pirated content. According to media sources, the organization does this on a voluntary basis.
According to Rajaharia, Google Drive is risky in a sense because you can easily search any other file-sharing websites on its platform.
“There are thousands of pirated movies, software, mobile apps uploaded on Google Drive and you can easily search in Google,” he said.
Nearly 80 per cent of the Google Drive movies links are malware. “One wrong click may install malware into your PC or mobile,” Rajaharia added.
According to the data provided by him, the total Drive links indexed in Google Search are over 10 lakh, but not all of these links are linked to piracy/illegal files.
“There are over 20,000 movies links, more than 2,500 software download links, over 2,500 APK (Android Application Package) mobile apps and more than 1,500 cracked illegal software copies (not all may be pirated),” Rajaharia said.
Users of Google Drive must also be fully aware of the consequences.
“They should not make pirated movies and other content public on Google Drive as this will lead to indexing on Search. They must keep their content private or share links with people they know and trust,” said the cybersecurity researcher.