Security Pitfalls of Shared Public Links Code42 Blog

Security Pitfalls of Shared Public Links

Imagine terabytes of corporate data exposed in the wild by employees sharing publicly available links on the cloud. Sound far fetched? It’s not. According to a recent article from SiliconANGLE, that’s exactly what happened when security researchers uncovered terabytes of data from over 90 companies exposed by employees sharing publicly available links to Box Inc.’s cloud storage platform. And while it’s easy to think that this problem is restricted to Box, it is in fact a problem most cloud services like Dropbox or OneDrive for Business need to address.

“ Cloud security is failing every day due to public file share links – content that users deliberately or accidentally expose to outsiders or to unapproved users within the company. ”

Cloud security is failing every day due to public file share links – content that users deliberately or accidentally expose to outsiders or to unapproved users within the company. This presents significant gaps in cloud security and compliance strategies and raises important questions such as:

  • What data is going to an employee’s personal cloud?
  • Who’s making a link public instead of sharing it with specific people?
  • Are departments or teams using other/non-sanctioned clouds to get their work done?
  • Are contractors getting more visibility than they should in these clouds?

Compounding the problem, the remedy that most cloud services provide to administrators is to “configure shared link default access” to users. Administrators can configure shared link access so accidental or malicious links can’t be created in the first place, however, there is a clear loss of productivity when users who need the continued collaboration and ability to share are mistakenly denied. This is where IT/security teams need to strike the fine balance between protecting corporate IP and enabling user productivity.

Code42’s approach to DLP doesn’t block users or shut down sharing, giving organizations visibility while there is a free flow of information between partners, customers and users in general. While understanding that a link has gone public in the first place, security protocols should further include:

  • Identifying files that are going to personal clouds
  • Understanding who’s sharing links publicly and why
  • Mitigating instances of non-sanctioned clouds
  • Gaining visibility into cloud privileges extended to contractors or other third parties