Is Google Drive — Gulp — a Hacking Tool for Bad Actors?

August 17, 2022

Russia is a near-impregnable force when it comes to hacking. Vladimir Putin’s home base is potentially responsible for influencing many events in the United States, including helping Donald Trump win his first presidential election. Russia neither confirms nor denies the roles hackers play in its and global politics. Unfortunately, Cyber Scoop shares how a common Google tool has been purloined by hackers: “Russian Hacking Unit Cozy Bears Adds Google Drive To Its Arsenal, Researchers Say.”

In what is one of the simplest ways to deliver malware, Russian hackers from the state-funded unit Cozy Bear are using Dropbox and Google Drive. Did you read that? Russian hackers are using legitimate cloud storage services, including one from one of the biggest tech giants, to deliver malware. Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 researchers are confounded by the delivery process, because it is hard to detect:

“This is a new tactic for this actor and one that proves challenging to detect due to the ubiquitous nature of these services and the fact that they are trusted by millions of customers worldwide,” the researchers said. “When the use of trusted services is combined with encryption, as we see here, it becomes extremely difficult for organizations to detect malicious activity in connection with the campaign.”

Russian hackers and other black hat people have used cloud storage services to deliver malware before, but using Google Drive is a new tactic. Google is a globally trusted brand that makes more people vulnerable to malware. When people see Google, they automatically trust it, so potential victims could unknowingly download malware.

Dropbox is deleting any accounts that are exploiting their services for hacking. The good news is cloud storage services want to protect users, but the bad news is they are not acting fast enough.

Whitney Grace, August 17, 2022


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