Network-attached drives can be super convenient for keeping your backups and files remotely accesible without relying on servers form a third party like Dropbox or OneDrive. But as an investigation conducted by CSO has found out, if not properly configured, you could be getting more than you bargained for.
The report says some personal cloud devices and external hard disks connected to routers with FTP enabled have been indexed by Google, resulting in personal files appearing in search results. These include everything from personal emails, journal entries, passports, tax records, financial statements, mortgage documents, passwords, private photos and more.
CSO was reportedly able to map a family's personal and financial history going back to 2009 by searching their name. The data was archived on a Western Digital hard drive connected to a Linksys WRT1900AC router. When warned about the problem, the family confirmed it was too late.
"I simply could not figure out how someone got the [card] info minutes after I'd activate them. My system was clean and secured more than the average person," said one member of the family. Now I know. [It's not] difficult when my backups were public and being indexed on Google.”
CSO noted that devices including Seagate Personal Cloud, Seagate Business NAS, Western Digital My Cloud and LaCie CloudBox also popped up in searches. The culprit, again, is improperly configured remote access features.
The report includes a detailed guide on how to check if your network-attached storage devices are letting Google index your files.