A Google Drive ‘Feature’ Could Let Attackers Trick You Into Installing Malware

An unpatched security weak point in Google Generate could be exploited by malware attackers to distribute destructive files disguised as legit files or pictures, enabling bad actors to complete spear-phishing assaults comparatively with a substantial achievements rate.

The latest protection issue—of which Google is conscious but, regretably, remaining unpatched—resides in the “manage variations” performance made available by Google Push that enables customers to add and deal with diverse variations of a file, as nicely as in the way its interface delivers a new version of the documents to the end users.

Logically, the control versions functionally must let Google Drive users to update an older variation of a file with a new edition having the similar file extension, but it turns out that it really is not the case.

According to A. Nikoci, a process administrator by profession who reported the flaw to Google and afterwards disclosed it to The Hacker Information, the influenced functionally makes it possible for end users to add a new variation with any file extension for any existing file on the cloud storage, even with a malicious executable.


As proven in the demo videos—which Nikoci shared completely with The Hacker News—in undertaking so, a reputable version of the file that’s now been shared amid a team of customers can be changed by a malicious file, which when previewed on-line does not show newly designed adjustments or increase any alarm, but when downloaded can be utilized to infect focused programs.

“Google lets you modify the file version without the need of examining if it can be the exact kind,” Nikoci said. “They did not even power the same extension.”

Pointless to say, the situation leaves the door open up for very successful spear-phishing strategies that just take benefit of the common prevalence of cloud products and services these as Google Travel to distribute malware.

The enhancement arrives as Google not too long ago mounted a security flaw in Gmail that could have authorized a threat actor to deliver spoofed emails mimicking any Gmail or G Suite customer, even when stringent DMARC/SPF security insurance policies are enabled.

Malware Hackers Love Google Generate

Spear-phishing cons normally attempt to trick recipients into opening malicious attachments or clicking seemingly innocuous one-way links, therefore supplying confidential information and facts, like account qualifications, to the attacker in the system.

The hyperlinks and attachments can also be employed to get the receiver to unknowingly download malware that can give the attacker accessibility to the user’s computer system technique and other delicate info.

This new protection situation is no various. Google Drive’s file update aspect is intended to be an straightforward way to update shared files, which include the capability to change the document with a totally new model from the method. This way, the shared file can be up-to-date without having transforming its connection.

On the other hand, with no any validation for file extensions, this can have most likely critical penalties when users of the shared file, who, upon notification of the improve through an email, conclude up downloading the document and unwittingly infecting their techniques with malware.

Such a state of affairs could be leveraged to mount whaling assaults, a phishing tactic often employed by cyber-prison gangs to masquerade as senior management personnel in an business and goal particular folks, hoping to steal sensitive data or gain entry to their pc systems for legal uses.

Even even worse, Google Chrome seems to implicitly rely on the data files downloaded from Google Drive even when they are detected by other antivirus software package as malicious.

Cloud Providers Turn out to be An Assault Vector

While there is no proof that this flaw has been exploited in the wild, it wouldn’t be challenging for attackers to repurpose it for their benefit offered how cloud companies have been a automobile for malware shipping in several spear-phishing assaults in the latest months.

Earlier this year, Zscaler identified a phishing marketing campaign that utilized Google Drive to down load a password stealer publish original compromise.

Very last thirty day period, Test Point Exploration and Cofense highlighted a series of new campaigns whereby danger actors were discovered not only employing spam e-mails to embed malware hosted on expert services like Dropbox and Google Push but also exploiting cloud storage expert services to host phishing webpages.

ESET, in an analysis of the Evilnum APT group, noticed a related pattern wherever fintech corporations in Europe and the United kingdom have been focused with spear-phishing email messages that incorporate a hyperlink to a ZIP file hosted on Google Push to steal computer software licenses, customer credit rating card information, and investments and trading documents.

Similarly, Fortinet, in a marketing campaign spotted earlier this thirty day period, uncovered evidence of a COVID-19-themed phishing entice that purportedly warned customers of delayed payments due to the pandemic, only to obtain the NetWire remote entry Trojan hosted on a Google Generate URL.

With scammers and criminals pulling out all the stops to conceal their malicious intentions, it is essential that people continue to keep a shut eye on suspicious emails, such as Google Drive notifications, to mitigate any attainable threat.

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