Cyber Security Risk! How To Make Sure DropBox doesn’t Take Over Your Computer

DropBox Is Allowed to Do WHAT?!

Take control of your computer.  Yes.  If you have dropbox, check Privacy in your System Preferences:

We’re all about solutions here at safertech, so later I’ll show you how to get rid of Dropbox.

But first, here’s my Dropbox story:

DropBox is a cloud-based file-sharing program. It’s free for smaller storage, but it cost money if you want access to more room for bigger files on the cloud.. I use it at the ad agency, and I noticed everywhere on my computer, that it was in the task bar at all times.

Well I don’t remember giving it permission…In fact, I KNOW I didn’t! But when I went to System Preferences to check it out, there it was: The lone program sitting there, with ultimate control over my Mac. However, no dialog box was presented to me to give DropBox accessibility to control my computer when I installed DropBox. Weird… Let me clear: to appear in Security & Privacy window, Dropbox HAS to ask you for your explicit permission, in what’s called a dialog box.

It gets worse

Now perturbed at Dropbox’s sudden ubiquitous nature, I went to remove it from having accessibility to control my computer in the Security & Privacy tab. The way you do this on a Mac is, you check off the little box and click the lock button to make changes. So that what I did.

At this point, Dropbox should be gone from the Preferences panel, right? WRONG. After I log out after work and log back in again, I go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Accessibility panel to make sure it’s gone….Wait. What on earth is going on here?!? How did it re-insert itself back in my computer?  And  why can’t I remove it?!

Quickly, I head over to Apple.com and review their policy:

When a third-party app tries to access and control your Mac through accessibility features, you receive an alert, and you must specifically grant the app access to your Mac in Security & Privacy preferences.

Be cautious and grant access only to apps that you know and trust. If you give apps access to your Mac, you also give them access to your contact, calendar, and other information, and are subject to their terms and privacy policies, and not the Apple Privacy Policy. Be sure to review an app’s terms and privacy policy to understand how it treats and uses your information.

What “Taking Control” actually means

“Taking control” of your computer means that Dropbox can click on buttons and menus, delete files, launch any apps you may have downloaded. Only you should be able to do that! Let me be clear: being able to do all of this (without your permission, no less) is a huge security risk.  That’s why it always takes a password AND your explicit permission to do this (until now, thanks to the sneaky coders at Dropbox.) Just like when you plug your iPhone in to a new computer to charge it, iPhone will ask you if you “trust this device” before it lets your expensive phone interface with a strange computer. Same idea.

I don’t think this company can be trusted. It A) overrode MY preferences B) and re-appears when I tried to remove its permissions. If I didn’t trust Dropbox before, I definitely don’t trust it now. You would have to trust both Dropbox not to do unethical and opportunistic as a company (!) AND trust their security team not to get hacked, ever so that no one, in turn, can hack you. I don’t trust either.

As you’ll see in the Reference section below,when asked why it does this, Dropbox insists it’s doing this for your own good – to protect you from applications it deems less secure, like Facebook. When researching this article, we’ve found that it doesn’t NEED to have these permissions to work properly, which gives us even more pause – it just makes you think it does.

 

The Work-Around

First, quit DropBox.

Remove it from the “Accessibility” window-Shown Above:  System Preferences * Privacy* Accessibility

Then Delete the folder called “DropBox Helper Tools”

Relaunch DropBox

Select “Cancel” when the dialog box asks you for your admin password*

Note*: You will have to select “Cancel” every time you start your computer to deny Dropbox your admin password, because DropBox is coded to keep trying to get your password by throwing up a dialog box that looks sneakily very similar to the dialog box your Mac operating system uses. Grrr. Get that – Dropbox is masquerading as your Mac. Ugh – how deceiving and unethical.

Other Options

Ok, I realize that’s annoying to do that, so if you want to say goodbye to Dropbox forever, I wouldn’t blame you. In addition to their ethical indescretions, DropBbox uses a lot of CPU, meaning it can make your system run slow, especially upon starting up and syncing. . Remember, when you delete Dropbox on your computer, it doesn’t delete your files. You’ll still have your files up in the cloud, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’ll let you decide.

  1. 1.  Get Rid of Your Files:

  2.   Our web guys showed us a really cool small software program called App Cleaner that can delete Mac apps–But it didn’t work in my case BUT it did  delete dropbox  associated folders. It’s free and made just for Macs.

2.  Next Get Rid of Dropbox

Click on the icon in the control bar and click on the gear shit and select “Quit”

Go into your Apps and drag the dropbox to the trash

IF you CAN’T because you receive a message saying:  Can’t remove Dropbox because it’s plug-ins are enabled:

3.  Go to Activity Monitor and find Dropbox activity as shown belowOn the gear icon you’ll see a pull-down, select force-quit

Now, go back to your apps and try dragging dropbox to the trash again.  Should Work!!

But what about the big files I want to share?!

Some viable and more secure options to replace DropBox include Sync.com, Tresorit, Mega and the Snowden-approved one, SpiderOak. Now these have various levels of encryption and that means they are a little more complicated to use – but I think, well worth it.

Here’s to smart moves in our too-connected world.  Don’t forget the #1 rated  most creative webcam blockers : CreepBlockers

xo

August

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