Mark Berry March 1, 2013
A few notes as I test SkyDrive and Google Drive for storing some PDF documents.
The “drive” is a special folder on your PC. You can even put it on a mapped network drive. Nice if you are connected to a server.
Google Drive displays PDFs as fairly large thumbnails (shown original size here):
When you click to open, the PDF displays quickly in some special Google viewer.
PDF files are indexed, you can search for a word and find a file.
Google’s Terms of Service are the scariest thing about the product. While they say that the user retains ownership of the user’s intellectual property, the terms go on to contradict that by saying Google can do whatever they want with users’ content, including publish it and display it publically:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. [emphasis mine]
I don’t see any assurance that they will not take my private PDF documents and publish them. Not sure why they would, but why claim that they have a right to?
The “drive” is a special folder on your PC, but you cannot put it on a network drive.
You can optionally tell SkyDrive to give you web access to all the files on your PC. It will text, call, or email a code to your known contact points which you must enter to get access. (That’s in addition to your Windows Live logon to SkyDrive). Once you’re in, you can browse local drives (including your DVD drive) and mapped network drives. Pretty amazing, but maybe too much access from a browser. I’d probably turn that off and use other remote access methods if I need to get to my whole computer.
SkyDrive displays PDF files as big orange blocks with no thumbnails (original size):
When you click to open, the PDF displays in Adobe’s browser plugin.
The text in PDFs is not indexed, so you can’t search through them.
The Windows Live Services Agreement is much less intrusive than Google’s:
3.3. What does Microsoft do with my content? When you upload your content to the services, you agree that it may be used, modified, adapted, saved, reproduced, distributed, and displayed to the extent necessary to protect you and to provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services. … When processing your content, Microsoft takes steps to help preserve your privacy.
Microsoft claims no rights to publish, publically display, or create derivative works of user content.
For now, Google Drive is the superior service for storing and accessing PDF files, but their overly broad terms of service make me nervous. (By the way, the same terms apply to all Google services, so they could publish your GMail too.)More...
Mark Berry April 27, 2010
On April 27, multiple users at a San Diego client site received emails purporting to come from the “operator” of the email server. The text of the email was written to try to get the recipient to open the attached PDF file. Opening the PDF file and clicking on a couple of confirmations would install a virus on the recipient’s computer. At first, most virus scanners did not recognize the PDF file or the included virus, so simply running current anti-virus programs would not have stopped this infection.
MCB Systems has taken additional measures on all client computers to remove the ability of PDF files to launch programs, including virus programs.
There are a few “take-aways” here:
- PDF files can contain viruses. Long considered safe, PDF files are increasingly used as “carriers” for viruses.
- When you receive an email that you are not expecting, slow down for a moment and run it through your “is this real?” filter. For example, this one was spoofed to show it coming from firstname.lastname@example.org, which is not a real address. It was sent at 3:48AM, an unlikely time for a human to send an email. Often these attempts at social engineering will contain errors in grammar, as this one does.
- Make sure you have current backups in place. Often the only way to get rid of a virus is to wipe everything on the computer and re-install the operating system. Ideally you want to use an image-based backup, which allows quickly restoring the entire computer to a previous point in time. MCB Systems can help you choose the best backup solution for your business.
Thousands of new viruses are created every day, and anti-virus software is always playing catch-up. The best defense is still for users to be aware of the threat and to remain safety-conscious when online!More...
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