Dropbox responds to Mac ‘security risk’ accusations

“Dropbox has said it needs to do a ‘better job’ of communicating its OS X integration, after claims emerged online that its Mac app was phishing for user passwords and even ‘hacks’ the operating system on installation,” Tim Hardwick reports for MacRumors.

“Developers of the cloud storage service were forced to reply to accusations which appeared on Hacker News that the client app was a security risk and ‘couldn’t be trusted,’ because of the way it takes control of system features without asking for permission to do so,” Hardwick reports. “Concerns were raised after it was demonstrated that Dropbox appears in the Security & Privacy tab for Accessibility, despite the fact that users are never prompted to grant access to the features.”

“Responding to the accusations, Dropbox said it only asks for the permissions it needs and uses the Accessibility features for certain app integrations like Office, although the permissions aren’t as ‘granular’ as the company would like,” Hardwick reports. “The latest news comes at a sensitive time for the cloud storage outfit. Two weeks ago, it was revealed that over 68 million Dropbox accounts were successfully targeted during a hack that took place in 2012.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We let our Dropbox accounts – which we never used for any important files anyway – lapse some time ago.

We use Apple’s secure and seamless iCloud Drive.

Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Dropping Dropbox: Exploring alternatives – July 7, 2014


  1. Here’s the issue: Dropbox is used by lots of folks, and on different operating systems. In order to share work files around, one needs to be on DB. I keep all my personal stuff on iCloud, but I have to have a DB account in order to interact with my colleagues.

  2. iCloud Drive is garbage. Look, I am as enthusiastic an Apple supporter as anyone, but every time I put a file up on iCloud Drive, it takes between 45 minutes to several hours for it to be either visible or available on any other device. The latency on their service is completely unsupportable. With DropBox, I can throw a file up and access it on any of my other devices within seconds, a couple minutes at the most. I never know when a file I put up on iCloud drive will become visible. It is a steaming pile of trash.

      1. iCloud is garbage for anything other then syncing your email accounts and iCal on devices.

        Google Drive is king. Especially if you are lucky enough to have an unlimited account. So many Terabytes.

  3. I use iCloud Drive (1tb) and it is wonderful for photos and on the Mac. On iPad Pro, it is abysmal! Apps can’t universally share with it, which oddly they can with Google Drive. In addition, there is no selective sync and the actual iCloud Drive app, which could unlock the power of the Pro, has almost zero functionality. I’m hoping a future update of iOS 10 fixes some of these issues. Until it does, iPad Pro is not the future of computing. Not the past either, just stuck in purgatory between the two.

  4. I use iCloud to sync settings, contacts, and the calendar and such, but I don’t use it for files. I tried uploading a Pages file, but iCloud converted it to another format that stripped out most of the formatting.

    What I’ve seen about iCloud is that it wants to save files categorized by application. If that’s true, I can’t imagine a more horrible way of doing it. If iCloud has an opinion about file formats and storage locations, count me out.

    A lot of Apple apps assume I want to save to iCloud, and I have to change it to save it locally. That can be fixed, but it shouldn’t be that way in the first place. Being strong-armed into using iCloud is enough to turn me away.

    Meanwhile, DropBox doesn’t misbehave, it follows symbolic links, and it handles bundles correctly.

  5. Dropbox has become unusable since it says it is full but it is not. This is on two separate accounts that are only seldomly used for clients to share small amounts of data. We had to stop using it.

  6. I’ve got over 5GB of free DropBox space. So I use it. The biggest file in that space is an encrypted Spare Bundle disk image DropBox can’t open, can’t surveil. It’s where I keep my passwords and other critical private files. This allows me to ‘trust’ DropBox.

    Anyone can create an encrypted Sparse Bundle disk image using Apple’s freely provided Disk Utility application.

    As for the Security & Privacy/Accessibility setting, every user should know what’s listed in that box and make the choice of allowing computer control or not. We’re the boss of it. If you don’t something in the list, click on it and hit the minus (-) button. Gone.

  7. Bottom line is that Dropbox is claiming it isn’t doing anything wrong. But they are. They are circumventing security measures in OS X by hacking a database directly rather than using the built in service that Apple supplies to compliant software. I agree that iCloud is NOT a replacement for Dropbox due to its instability, it’s lack of compatibility, and its lack of sharing features. iCloud is garbage for anything but device backup. Although their business model is ridiculous and a ripoff as you should get more free space for every device you purchase.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.