Using the cloud is something that is very much present in our day to day. We have many platforms available where we can store all kinds of files and access them remotely. However, there are some risks that always exist. Our files can be compromised and fall into the wrong hands. In this article we echo how OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud service, tracks password-protected ZIP files.
Maybe you want to keep some documents safe so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. To do this, one thing you can think of is to create a ZIP file and password protect it. But, in the case of OneDrive, the cloud platform is able to scan those files and view the contents even though they are encrypted with the key.
Onedrive tracks protected files
Now, Microsoft cloud services have started tracking password-encrypted zip files. We can name the services as popular as OneDrive or SharePoint. But why does this happen? The reason for this is security, although for the same reason it can put our privacy at risk.
The thing is, hackers, in their quest to sneak in malware, have started using a lot of password-encrypted files to prevent antivirus detection. At the very least, they prevent many antivirus engines from detecting malicious software. The victim enters the password and in that case they can access the content.
A security researcher has noticed that Microsoft has flagged some of its password-encrypted ZIP files via its cloud services as malware. Basically files he hosted with malware samples to share with co-workers.
This means that if you share password-protected ZIP files, OneDrive or SharePoint will be able to track the contents. This is especially going to happen if you use a weak, common password that can be easily guessed.
How to stop tracking of protected files
But all is not lost. You always have some option to encrypt your files with a password and prevent OneDrive from tracking them. For example, you can use the 7-Zip program, which is free and open source, and uses AES-256 encryption. Beyond that, what you should do is create a unique password, one that is not at all common, and as complex as possible.
A really strong key is one that contains letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and other special symbols. In addition, it should be of an appropriate length (the longer it is, the better). You can always help yourself with password managers, as in many cases they allow you to create unique and very secure passwords.
Along with the ones we mentioned, you’ll be able to upload files to the cloud with more guarantees that they won’t be tracked. However, it should be mentioned that any file uploaded to the Internet, regardless of the platform, always carries some risk. You can always put the password in a Word file or any other file, but the risk may exist.
As you can see, Microsoft can scan password-protected Zip files that you upload to services like OneDrive. You can make tracking more difficult by using strong encryption, as we’ve explained.