USBs, external hard drives, and other external storage devices used to be a revolutionary way to handle your digital data. You could carry it with yourself, USBs were small and practical, and the devices often had more storage than anyone would need. However, with the rise of new technologies and services such as google drive, while they are not strictly becoming outdated, it can be said that they have a strong rival in the form of online cloud storage. Especially with the download and upload speed of our internet connections becoming faster and faster. Something that you would not even dream of uploading or downloading multiple times before, as it would take too much time, now can be quickly done, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

As for the physical storage devices, now that we have an option not to carry them frequently, that does start to seem like a bother. Not to mention that they can be lost and that, to work, they have to be plugged into a compatible device.

Of course, it does not mean that cloud storage is perfect, either. They are vulnerable in ways that physical storage devices are not, just like your email or any other sort of account. They are becoming more and more popular, giving cybercriminals more reason to access the data there.

Google Drive

One of the most popular cloud storage services is Google Drive, which is not surprising. Google is an enormous and critical name. The Drive is connected to Gmail, which a considerable number of people have. The Drive itself is very accessible to ordinary people, with 15 GB of free storage and low monthly prices for access to much more.

Considering that both Gmail and Google Drive are often a target of cybercriminals, it is essential to be aware of ways to protect the data in them. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to do it, therefore putting important information about themselves and their job at risk.

To start, you need a strong password. Even though that is often repeated, the most popular passwords in 2019 were 12345, 123456, and 123456789. It should be evident that those passwords, or any similar to them (word ‘password,’ anyone?), are straightforward to crack, and they protect almost nothing from any cybercriminals who know what they are doing. A password with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols is a much better idea. Additionally, it is essential not to use the same password multiple times, as that puts all of the accounts with the same password at risk if one is hacked.

Password by itself, no matter how strong, is still often not enough. That is why having an additional security layer through two-factor authentication (2FA) is an excellent way to make the account much safer. There are multiple ways to add 2FA to your account, such as sending an email with a confirmation link, sending an SMS with a code to your phone number, or using an authenticator app on your phone. The app is probably the safest bet, especially considering that Google has its own Google Authenticator app.

Another thing to pay attention to is using third-party apps in your browsers, such as many extensions or themes. They might make your work easier, your browser more aesthetically pleasing, or you could even have them for fun. However, it is essential not to forget that, even if they are popular or are downloaded from the official. For example, the Google Chrome extension store they are still not connected to Google in any way and could pose a risk to your account’s and Google Drive’s security. Because of that, it is crucial always to do a background check, to call it that way, on any add-on you want to use, and maybe even read the vendor’s or developer’s terms of service, privacy policy, and deletion policy.

When it comes to Google Drive, any file and folder can have different privacy settings, which means that you can permit someone to view a particular file/folder, add to it, edit or delete it. Also, you can hide it from anyone else but you completely. Permitting someone else to view your files is excellent for family vacation photos. Still, it is essential to pay attention to who you are enabling to view or edit your data when it comes to more severe data. They might have malicious intentions, or maybe not at all, but there is no guarantee that another person or persons won’t access it once you have given them access. It is possible, though, to change the file and folder privacy settings at any time, but it is, of course, always better to prevent any potential problems than to try to fix them.

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