Google docs malware warning as cybercriminals send bogus links to users in spear-phishing scam
GOOGLE Doc users have been warned about how the online tool can be used by hackers to spread malware.
The word processing platform is increasingly powerful and sophisticated, making it a rival to Microsoft’s Word.
Due to its online functionality, users can share and edit a document if alterations need to be made.
One useful feature Google Docs has is its comments function where users can tag others to get their attention on a change.
It works in a similar way to many social media sites where users can insert the @ sign and then click on the intended recipient.
The other person then gets an email to notify them of the comment.
Hackers have now found a way to abuse the system though.
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The problem arises from the fact that external links are allowed in comments, as Google doesn’t check these links, it allows hackers and scammers to distribute malicious content, according to a report on Komando.
Scammers are able to send links that lead to malicious websites that attempt to install malware on the user’s device.
The spear-phishing scam is effective because recipients don’t see the sender’s email address, with only a name being shown.
This makes impersonating a contact easier and gives the appearance that the message is authentic.
According to a report by online security firm Avanan, scammers have used Google Docs to get users to click on malicious links since October 2021.
If you are tagged in a Google Docs comment, it is best practice to reach out to the sender before clicking on any link in the message to make sure it is authentic.
Other tips you can use to stay safe online while using Google Docs include:
If possible, check the sender’s email address and name in the document. If anything looks odd, stay away.
Never click on a link or download attachments in emails or texts when the message is from a stranger.
Make sure you have a strong antivirus protection system on all your devices.
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