Can Ransomware Affect Google Drive

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware combines two words, “malware” and “ransom.” Ransomware virus infects your files with malware that encrypts them just like a lock requiring decryption to unlock, but that key is mostly in the attacker’s hand, so you can’t access your data. To access them, you need that digital key from the attacker, which you will get after you pay a ransom, usually in cryptocurrency.

The main goal of ransomware is to implant fear for your data. The main ransomware contrast from other malware and viruses is that it reveals itself openly. You may see a blocked screen, some panic, and pay the ransom money. In most cases, this is the only action you can take – hackers are hard to track, so it may take months for cyber departments to return your data, or maybe it never comes back.

The sequence of events in a ransomware attack

  • You perform “a wrong action” like clicking on malicious links, opening untrusted files, downloading a malware program, putting a tick, and so on.
  • The wrong action then initiates a ransomware attack. The malware infects your data and encrypts targeted files like Doc, Docx, text, photos, or maybe everything.
  • The malware makes itself visible by putting pop-ups on your screen, asking you to pay money (mostly in cryptocurrency) to get access to your data.
  • In case you pay the ransom, it is not sure that you will get your data. But yes, if the attacker provides you with a decryption and decryption utility, then you would enter that decryption in the utility. After then, by selecting encrypted files, the decryption process would start.

Can ransomware affect Google Drive?

If you ask the same questions to people out there, many will say No, as google drive is believed to be the safest cloud storage. However, they aren’t right here. Ransomware attacks have already impacted many cloud-based companies as much as on-premise ones. Sophos reported that over 75% of companies infected with ransomware editing ran updated endpoint security and protection. So if you think your cloud-stored files are safe, you are totally wrong. Even if ransomware hits files on your computer, it can still easily infect your files in your storage cloud. Even if you use a protected/secure system architecture, you are still not entirely safe.

 To protect your Google Drive from ransomware, you need to know how it can reach you. In some cases, if you luckily catch the right type of ransomware, you may be able to restore previous healthy versions of the data files on your Google Drive. But most of the latest types of ransomware don’t let you do that, so it may not be too hopeful. Let’s figure it out.

Ways Ransomware Can Infect Your Google Drive

Similar to other cloud services, Google Drive is also vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Google Drive can suffer such attacks in the following two scenarios. 

Ransomware Through the Backup & Sync Tool

Backup & Sync is a free synchronization toolkit from Google. It syncs the local environment with Google Drive and duplicates the files from your Google Drive to your computer. Any modification on Google Drive reflects on your local devices and vice versa.

This absolute fast synchronization is just another wonderful thing by Google, but it also brings risks to the top of your table in case of a ransomware attack. Imagine you downloaded a file from the internet which had attached malicious code.

 When you run that file, the malicious code will execute and encrypt all your files on your computer, including synchronized data in the Drive folder. Backup & Sync will take the encrypted files as regular file modifications and get them automatically synced with Google Drive. And then Boom!!! This way, your files on Google Drive will get infected with ransomware.

 The encryption happens in seconds, and you even can’t react, and all of your files would be synchronized before you could turn the synchronization off.

The aftermath is even more terrible if you share the links to infected documents with other individuals who downloaded the infected file on their computer; their files would also be doomed.

Ransomware Through Third-party Apps and Extensions

As we know, Google’s G Suite now supports third-party extensions and apps that boost the usability of Google apps. But with better workflow and efficient functionalities, those can also bring a cyber threat to your data.

With time, we all downloaded and installed those extra apps to make its use convenient. They help us modify and sign the PDF docs, create, trace, and share schedules with other team members and stakeholders online, convert some file formats to other formats, edit photos on the cloud, and much more. How do you look for those programs to give you all these features? In Google’s G-Suite, of course.

And that’s where the risks awoke. Still, thinking about How can a virus infect google drive storage? It is mostly due to the permissions you or your team grant them. The higher the privileges level is provided to the application, the higher the dangers. When you install an app, a pop-up always asks you to access and manage your data in a particular folder. If you allow the app to manage data on your whole Google Drive, you open up their hands. After this moment, that malicious app can encrypt files/data, grab your sensitive information, read your company’s information, send messages to somebody on your behalf, and so on.

What Can Companies Do To Protect Themselves from Ransomware?

Read Emails Carefully

Can ransomware infect Gmail? Have you ever gone through this question? Well, most ransomware attacks against companies and organizations were initiated from emails. Malware (ransomware viruses) was attached to some kind of manipulative emails, and when one of the employees opened that mail, it got spread into the network. So be careful while opening emails and attachments. If you find something suspicious, mark that as spam.

Always backup your data.

Always have a good backup of your important data. When using Backup & Sync, remember that it is a synchronization tool, not a backup solution. This way, it doesn’t save your files; it just synchronizes them with all your devices or systems and reflects the changes rapidly, which helps you to use the latest version of your documents anytime, anywhere.

The proper way to avoid data loss is always to have a real backup.

Be smart and educate your employees.

Educate yourself and your employees. Spend some time reading about the most widespread ransomware, phishing methods, and red flags. Undertake security training. It raises your probe to not fall for the trap of hackers and be ready for possible threats.

Be cautious. Don’t rush to click and open attachments blindly; take your time to inspect the content. Negligence and hurry would cost you much more if you haven’t backed up your data beforehand.

Use trusted third-party extensions:

The best method is to conduct an audit of third-party extensions. You must always analyze the trustworthiness of the application or extension before using it and providing access to your data. But it can be pretty challenging to investigate all extensions in a company with many employees. 

You can’t depend on your colleagues and would need to spend time examining every app manually. Don’t worry, though; we have a much easier method.

A good cybersecurity service provider like Spinone can automatically scan the security level of the risky third-party apps connected to your G Suite. The service identifies malicious business apps and blocks them before use. 

How Do I Remove Ransomware Virus From Google Drive?

It was all about Ransomware and Prevention, but what if you have already been targeted and lost data? How would you recover your files from a ransomware attack in the case of Google drive? Don’t worry; all you have to do is simply follow the steps given below.

  • Initially, activate your anti-virus and install the latest security updates from your operating system (Microsoft in the case of windows).
  • Then try to recover data from the trash or recycle bin and update your files. Downgrade the encrypted files to those which you have to restore from the trash
  • If you are still unable to recover it, go to google drive and try to find the old version of those files and downgrade the encrypted files from there.

If this doesn’t help you, it is better to approach google support and ask for good solutions to your problems. You can also learn from Google Supports.


In conclusion, we have learned what ransomware is, can ransomware affects google drive, and how to remove ransomware. Concisely, you must consider when and where you click while downloading files. Examine third-party extensions before installing. Be sharp and smart while reading emails from unknown or suspicious sources. See you in the next informational article. Bye! 

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