Dropbox allegedly hacked – are your files safe?
On monday, a handful of files surfaced on the Internet containing hundreds of username and password combinations for Dropbox accounts. The files were accompanied by an anonymous message, which claimed that the files were just a small batch of 6,937,081 hacked Dropbox accounts. Some of the username password combinations were confirmed by Reddit users, before Dropbox disabled the accounts. Soon after the files appeared, Dropbox responded by denying it was hacked. In a statement the file hosting and sharing company declared: “The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox”.
Of course it is easy for a random hacker to claim he published just a small batch of 7 million hacked accounts in total, as well as it is easy for Dropbox to claim it has no involvement and has not been hacked. Yet again, people allegedly had access to other people’s accounts and files.
With Dropbox being the #1 file sharing and collaboration program for group work at RSM, I realized that over time quite some files of others and myself have gathered in my Dropbox folder and that those could be at risk. The use of Dropbox on campus took off in particular after the ‘Great Space Race’ took place in October 2012, and university students all over the world received large amounts of free storage.
The Dropbox service and the ‘Great Space Race’ in particular show clear signs of network effects. You probably were first required to sign up for the Dropbox service because a group you were collaborating with used it. You also probably referred at least one other person to the service. Now you won’t leave the service because every new semester your group uses it again, you use it at work or with a friend and you cannot switch one without switch away from all. Another possibility is that Dropbox is integrated on your mobile device and backs up your pictures, or integrates all your files across platforms.
Do you reckon your files on Dropbox to be safe? Did, or will you change your password after reading this news?