Dropbox disables old shared links after tax returns end up on Google

Tax return uncovered due to vulnerability affecting shared links to documents.

Dropbox has disabled access to previously created shared links to certain kinds of documents after the discovery that some users' sensitive files—including tax returns and bank records—were exposed through Google AdWords campaigns.

The flaw, which is reportedly also present on Box, impacts shared files that contain hyperlinks. "Dropbox users can share links to any file or folder in their Dropbox," the company noted yesterday while confirming the vulnerability:

Files shared via links are only accessible to people who have the link. However, shared links to documents can be inadvertently disclosed to unintended recipients in the following scenario:

  • A Dropbox user shares a link to a document that contains a hyperlink to a third-party website.
  • The user, or an authorized recipient of the link, clicks on a hyperlink in the document.
  • At that point, the referrer header discloses the original shared link to the third-party website.
  • Someone with access to that header, such as the webmaster of the third-party website, could then access the link to the shared document.

Dropbox said it's not aware of this vulnerability being exploited.

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