Google Docs now warns users about potentially dangerous files and links.

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Google has announced that its office collaboration products Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings will now display a warning banner when you open potentially dangerous files from the web. This banner is already displayed when questionable files are viewed from within Drive, as well as via suspicious links within individual Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings files. The expanded rollout should assist consumers in a greater variety of situations.

Google’s release on January 20th stated that the banner already showed when opening links to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. A spokesperson for the google says, “This is incorrect.” They believe it should clarify that the banner only appears on links from files in the Google Docs family of apps (which includes Sheets, Slide, and Drawing).

Google files have been exploited by scammers to place dangerous links in front of users’ browsers.

The warning banners appear to be an attempt to prevent frauds that leverage Google’s office productivity software to cloak dubious links and phishing attempts in an air of legitimacy. In 2020, Wired reported on a surge of scams that targeted naïve consumers by utilizing Google’s different sharing and collaboration services. By clicking a link in one of these documents, the user is directed to a website that has questionable advertisements or a conventional phishing site that requests the user’s bank or other account information.

According to Google’s release, the new warning banner will begin rolling out to all accounts, corporate and personal, over the next couple of weeks.

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