In many areas of our digital life, including email, internet search, navigation, cloud storage, and many more, Google is king.
Are your documents, photos, and memories safe with Google? When you pass the trust ball and upload your files to Google Drive, how do they keep your confidential information secure?
Google encrypts your files when your data is dormant, however (as well as in transit too). Is Google Drive’s built-in encryption sufficient to protect your private data from theft or harm? Let’s see.
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In This Article
How Do Google Drive Encrypt documents?
Google Drive encrypts your data at rest with AES-128 and protects file transfers with AES-256. The current encryption standard used by the US Government is AES, an extremely strong encryption algorithm that is immune to all presently practicable attacks.
After the upload is complete and your data are at rest, your Google Drive account maintains the highest level of security for your files.
Google Drive divides incoming data into parts before encrypting each one with a different data key. After further encrypting the data key with a unique key encryption key (wrapping the data encryption key), Google stores it.
You may use two-factor authentication (2FA) to safeguard your Google Drive in addition to the double set of encryption keys, and you can combine this 2FA with a secure password manager to add even another level of protection.
There isn’t a simple method to demonstrate how Google Drive encryption works or what it looks like in a folder. For Google Drive users within the Google Drive environment, Google purposely withholds forward-facing information. It just works, like many other “Google” things.
However, there are a few small issues with the system.
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The main problem with Google Drive is privacy
The encryption of Google Drive has two problems:
- Your file is TLS protected while being uploaded. Transport Layer Security, or TLS, is a method for securing data transmissions. However, your data is briefly decrypted before being encrypted once again when it reaches the gates of your Google Drive. Why? The file is quickly scanned and evaluated by Google before being encrypted. Although there is an extremely minimal likelihood of leaking, there is a little defect.
- You never have complete control over your Google Drive data because you never have access to the encryption keys. You always have complete control over your decisions, but if you don’t like giving up control of your encryption keys, keep reading for possible options.
Yes, Google Drive offers security for your data. Yes, they are internally encrypted by Google. However, it doesn’t always imply that Google isn’t utilizing you for advertising (it is their business model, after all). The conclusion is that you shouldn’t expect to have perfect privacy if you’re using a free Google product.
I often use Google Drive. My PC and laptop are connected via a fantastic and simple bridge. I don’t use it for sensitive data, and you shouldn’t either, in all honesty. There are other, safer solutions available.
As an alternative, there are technologies you may use to further protect the privacy and security of your Google Drive.
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Google Drive Security and Privacy Tools
Using a client-side encryption tool can strengthen your Google Drive encryption. Why does it matter?
So, rather than sending your files directly to Google without encryption, you should first encrypt them on your computer before transferring them to your Google Drive. Check out these helpful Google Drive encryption tools.
Top on the list is Cryptomator. It has no backdoors, is open source, free, and doesn’t demand user registration. Even better, it is simple to install and compatible with Windows, macOS, several Linux distributions, iOS, and Android (albeit the Android and iOS applications are not free).
To maintain the same level of productivity, Cryptomator employs transparent encryption, which gives the impression that nothing additional is occurring to your data.
The inclusion of a Cryptomator vault is the primary change. The vault is located on your Google Drive, but you have access to and control over a virtual hard drive where your data are stored. Each file you upload to the virtual hard drive is individually encrypted by Cryptomator.
So, if you simply make changes to a Word document, Word is the only thing that changes. All of your other files are still encrypted.
Although Cryptomator is an open-source, free project, it is donationware. Amazing initiatives like Cryptomator are supported by little contributions, so please think about contributing if you can.
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Then comes Boxcryptor. Boxcryptor is a free product with certain restrictions, nevertheless. For instance, the Boxcryptor free membership only allows customers to use two devices, one cloud provider, and the basic Boxcryptor edition.
Boxcryptor is a proprietary piece of software as well (closed-source, in other words). For some, a big problem is not having access to the Boxcryptor source code to analyze flaws and backdoors. However, there are currently no signs of any problems.
Boxcryptor sets up a virtual disk on your computer and then adds any cloud service providers instantly. Your encrypted files may be seen, edited, and saved instantly thanks to the Boxcryptor disk, which functions as an additional layer on top of your current files.
Those cloud files or folders already on the disk, as well as any that are later uploaded, are automatically encrypted by Boxcryptor.
In terms of security, Boxcryptor encrypts your data using AES-256 and RSA-4096. They are safe.
Rclone is a command-line tool for synchronizing Google Drive files and folders (and a long list of other services, too). The cloud service sync procedure offered by Rclone may be fully customized and is open source.
Because of this, you may encrypt your Google Drive files on your computer before syncing by using the crypt function. A detailed walk-through on how to achieve this is provided in the video below.
Rclone with Crypt is a sophisticated tool. It requires some setup time, but once finished, it gives you a lot of control.
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The bottom line
You now have a better understanding of how Google’s cloud services are encrypted. Your documents are safe, but there is little privacy. You have a few alternatives to increase your security and privacy, as we’ve shown above. Use them to safeguard the data on your Google Drive.