Google Drive goes on defence with anti-malware, anti-phishing

Alongside new phones and earphones on the way from Google is also protection for its services from scammers making online work difficult.

Even though online tools and software are there for the benefit of everyone, it doesn’t take much for a criminal to work or how to make those tools into something used for nefarious purposes.

You only need to look at what’s been happening on Google Calendar with scams and spam sent out and automatically picked up by Gmail in recent years to learn that criminals have worked out how to employ good tools for bad reasons.

Android users may be used to seeing it more often, with the notifications that a scammer has randomly sent out a Google Drive share of spam or you’ve been added to an event on a calendar without your knowledge, but it happens, and it keeps happening.

But it might soon stop.

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Alongside Google’s announcements of the Pixel 6a and the Pixel Buds Pro noise cancelling earphones last week at Google I/O 2022, the maker of Gmail and Google Search also talked up some protections it was rolling out across Google Drive apps, namely Slides, Docs, and Sheets.

Specifically, if there’s a document, spreadsheet, or slide presentation with phishing links or malware, Google will warn you beforehand and take you back, preventing those shared docs from sharing other things you mightn’t want to get out there.

Google Calendar spam scams still haven’t quite been fixed, thanks in part to the issue more being a problem from mail apps. Last we checked, mail software technically sees the dodgy calendar invite coming in from scammers first, and adds it to a calendar as a way of being helpful, much like it would for an event you actually care about.

It’s technically the responsibility of mail app makers to deal with this, so it’s more an issue for Google in Gmail and Android, and Apple for Mail in iOS, but hopefully we see evolutions in time here, as well.

For now, it’s at least some semblance of good news for Google Drive users, and may mean less spam and scams on the way to your Google account when scammers try these methods.

Leigh :) Stark

One of Australia's well regarded technology journalists working out of Sydney, Leigh Stark has been writing about technology for over 15 years, covering phones, computers, cameras, headphones, speakers, and more. Stylising his middle initial with an emoticon, he aims to present tech in a way that makes it easy for everyone. While he founded Pickr in 2016, Stark's work can be seen in other publications including The Australian Financial Review, Popular Science, and many more. His award-winning podcast "The Wrap" is syndicated on Southern Cross Austereo's LiSTNR network weekly, while he can be heard on radio via ABC Brisbane and ABC Canberra, and seen on TV's Nine. Check out Leigh Stark's most recent media appearances.

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