Does Dropbox offer any protection against sharing files which are infected? To give more info, my friends and I are currently working on a college project. We find it much more convenient using Dropbox to discuss and keep in touch. Is it possible to get infected if one of my colleagues accidentally shared an infected Word Document file on dropbox?

closed as off-topic by schroeder, Xander, Bob Brown, Steve, Eric G Mar 13 '15 at 3:41

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center." – schroeder, Xander, Bob Brown, Steve, Eric G
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, it is possible. Just as you could get infected if one of your colleagues shared and infected Word Document file by email or a usb flash drive.

(I am assuming that you are also triggering the payload by opening the infected document, executing the program, etc. A virus file residing in your hard drive won't infect you by its mere existence.)

Dropbox doesn't scan your files with an antivirus, as stated in https://www.dropbox.com/help/8406. But even if it did, it would still be possible to get infected by a virus not detected by its solution.

You should take the normal protection measures, such as running an up-to-date antivirus in your computer. But there's no reason to stop using Dropbox just for fear of virus. The risk -if they happen to get infected- is in sharing the files with your colleagues. And I assume that's something you want (need) to do ;)

PS: The only difference would be that using Dropbox may make you receive the infected file faster. But on the other hand Dropbox history feature would also allow you to recover a pre-infection version of the files, which might not be available otherwise.

You can upload infected files to Dropbox. They scan their servers for malware on a somewhat frequent basis.

I've heard that they event block copyrighted content from being shared/downloaded. So, every file inspected when it's uploaded.

But to directly answer you question, yes, you can infect your computer if one of your colleagues uploads an infected Word document.

  • I've been part of a dropbox group that uploads/shares lesser known music for the group of friends to find new music to listen to. While the point of the group is to find new music then buy it on your own, the music still shows up on my local PC where I can move it to a static folder. Unless the copyright activity is very new, I can confidently say this statement is false. Not that it helps the original question, but throwing it out there in case people wondered about it from your answer. – GingerBeard Mar 13 '15 at 1:34
  • Dropbox will keep a checksum of each file, on the extremely rare occasion that a file is reported as infringing copyright then it will get cleaned out of everyone's account . – Damian Nikodem Mar 14 '15 at 14:00
  • If the hash matches, the people you share the file with will see a notice saying the file can't be downloaded due to copyright issues and will not appear on the file list. If you're using free basic accounts and abusing bandwidth maybe they will cancel your account. For paid users, the file stays in your account but can't be shared. – Sun Dec 19 '16 at 17:56

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