Last Updated Apr 17, 2011 9:42 PM EDT
Derek Newton, on his blog Information Security Insights, last week exposed a serious security issue with Dropbox. The details are a bit complicated -- Newton writes about config files and SQLite databases. But the bottom line is that Dropbox stores a single file on your computer that is essentially the keys to your Dropbox kingdom. If that file is copied, such as onto a USB memory key or via e-mail, and placed on another PC, all of your Dropbox files will automatically sync on that new PC, no password or further authentication required.
A few things to point out here:
- You, the rightful Dropbox owner, gets no notification of any kind that your files are now syncing to another PC.
- That new PC does not show up in your "My Computers" list in your Dropbox account settings.
- Changing your Dropbox password does not affect the new PC's access.
So, now that you're a little worried, time for the million dollar question: How serious is this threat? On one level, not terribly serious. That's because in order for your Dropbox account to be breached, someone must get physical access to your PC and copy the config file. And if someone has physical access to your PC, then Dropbox access might be the least of your problems.
That said, this can be quite worrisome, depending upon how you or your employees use Dropbox. Dropbox, for its part, has commented on the disclosure:
There are measures that can be taken to make it more difficult (though not impossible) to gain access to the authentication cookie which we'll consider in the future. That said, Dropbox isn't any less secure than other web service.More on BNET: