Risks Associated with Online File Transfers & Ways to Mitigate Them

Digital data distribution enables businesses to operate efficiently while managing internal projects and opportunities to communicate and collaborate with third parties. However, this digital distribution has pros and cons, as the risks associated with insecure file sharing are enormous, including personal data breaches, identity theft, and data loss. 


In 2021, almost 51k individuals were affected by identity theft and data breach. Secure file transfers in businesses are necessary to prevent cyber threats and provide easy and convenient access to information anytime.

While there are so many ways to share files, finding those that are both secure and quick is essential. This article provides information about the risks associated with insecure file sharing and ways to share your files online securely.

What are the Risks Associated with Online File Transfers?

Online file sharing has become one of the preferred ways to share files or documents. But lack of security and user mindfulness while sharing files online can expose them and their organizations to several security risks. Potential threat actors with malicious intent can benefit from insecure file sharing.

Consider the following risks in file sharing, as the first step toward defense is awareness of possible threats.

1 - Release of Sensitive or Prohibited Information

Exposure to sensitive information or prohibited content is one of the severe risks associated with insecure file sharing, which might go unnoticed long after the breach. Unauthorized people getting access to your file-sharing software or service is a significant cybersecurity concern that can have severe consequences for your organization.

Installation of Malware into the System

In November 2021, malware was reported as the most concerning cyber threat targeting organizations. Insecure file sharing can enable threat actors to install malware or other malicious code into files. Employees receiving those corrupted files may inadvertently download malware on their computers and expose the entire network to attack.

Susceptibility & Supply Chain Attacks

Insecure file-sharing practices or services can sometimes affect third parties, leading to supply chain attacks. This type of risk occurs when a threat actor penetrates third-party services to infiltrate those benefiting from the services. If the attacker successfully embeds malicious code in third-party networks, it'll exploit more victims.

Disabling Firewalls

Some file-sharing software requires users to bypass firewalls to download or upload files. While doing so may seem benign to users, it creates a chance for attackers to perform various cyberattacks, including denial-of-service attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.

Non-Compliance Penalties

Threat actors can intervene in the file content by adding content that may have significant legal ramifications for downloading, such as pirated software or copyrighted material. Considering the growing number of data privacy regulations and policies, including the GDPR and CCPA, the organization may face penalties and fines, compromising the company's credibility for not being able to ensure data privacy and security.

How to Securely Share Your Files Online?

Sharing files securely is not an easy process. You must be able to tackle the challenges presented by a more sophisticated cybersecurity environment. Nevertheless, you can't risk your business with insecure file-sharing methods, as it is a critical aspect of business operations. Consider adopting the following ways to share your files online securely.

1 - Embrace Encryption

Encrypting files is the first step toward secure file sharing. Encryption makes the files unreadable until it is decrypted. As long as you add encryption to all your files locally, it secures them from exploitation, even if they fall into the wrong hands.

Encrypting files at rest and in motion is essential to protect against cyberattacks and compliance with local and international data privacy regulations and policies. Moreover, you should embrace encryption for other devices storing data, including laptops, smartphones, desktops, etc.

2 - Install Anti-Virus Software & Firewalls

Antivirus software and firewalls add another layer of security to your devices and networks. Antivirus software detects and removes viruses and other malicious software from your devices. On the other hand, firewalls filter your network traffic for any malicious code or malware.

You must ensure the installation of antivirus software and always keep firewalls enabled so that any malicious code or malware being installed on your system is detected immediately. Also, firewalls help block unwanted network traffic and prevent risks associated with a malware infection.

3 - Use a Secure Connection for Sharing Files

A network connection usually consists of two or more networks, but threat actors can infiltrate the network if it is not secured. Cybercriminals can penetrate through unencrypted file sharing and cause data loss and loss of other sensitive information.

Therefore, it's necessary to secure your network with encryption or other methods, including updating outdated software, limiting access to wireless networks, and using router firewalls. A secure network connection uses security protocols that restrict intruders from accessing it.

4 - Avoid File-Sharing Through Emails

Avoid file sharing through emails, as hackers' favorite place to search for sensitive information is users' emails with weak passwords. Hacking accounts has become effortless for cybercriminals with advanced email phishing techniques and other methods.

One way to protect from this scam is to avoid sharing files through emails unless it is essential. Also, you can adopt remote file managers that enable secure file-sharing processes.

5 - Avoid Removable Storage Options

While removable storage devices enable data portability and can hold large quantities of data, they are one of the least secure options for file sharing or transfer. Their smart features often raise security concerns and might facilitate the loss of confidential data from secure systems.

For instance, USB devices with sensitive information that get lost or fall into an attacker's hands can significantly cause the exploitation of files.

6 - Run Security Audits on Your Files

File auditing helps to monitor changes or attempted changes to files' permissions and access. They help find security gaps in files or folders containing sensitive information. Also, file audits ensure the effectiveness of implemented security controls.

Run an audit on your files to detect if any unauthorized actor is accessing them. Moreover, delete files entirely from the system or cloud that are no longer needed.

7 - Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for Your Accounts

Enable MFA or 2FA on your online accounts. It is an authentication method that adds a layer of security to your online accounts. In addition to providing your password when signing in, you must verify your identity by entering a second code. It enhances the security of your accounts receiving sensitive files, as anyone with your username or password can't access your account due to an additional layer of protection.

8 - Adopt a Remote File Manager

A remote file manager enhances file security by allowing you to store and share large files securely from your computer. Moreover, it has IP whitelisting that restricts specific IP addresses for security purposes so that you can only share information on a need-to-know basis. A secured remote file manager like SynaMan can significantly enhance the security of your files with its robust and rigorous file-sharing capabilities.

What are the Benefits of Secure File Sharing?

With businesses becoming more reliant on cloud services and supporting WFH practices, storing and transferring files has become a critical business operation. Secure file sharing enables flexibility to work with sensitive data and convenience. Organizations can enable scalable and safe content collaboration by implementing secure file-sharing practices.

  • Enhanced Security: Data protection is essential for every organization. Organizations must keep that information secure, whether it's user data or any other confidential company document. Secure file sharing enhances an organization's cybersecurity by securing internal and external files.
  • Strong Encryption: Encryption methods like multi-factor authentication and single sign-on protect sensitive files and ensure file security. With the right encryption methods and security features, organizations can monitor file-sharing activities across networks.
  • Lower Risks of Shadow IT or Data Breaches: When files are secured, this prevents chances of data breaches via insecure file sharing. Also, the prevention of cyberattacks and data breaches helps organizations spare the high cost of recovering from such events., enabling IT to control file-sharing prices.
  • Higher Productivity & Flexibility: Employees don't need to spend hours just sharing a large file or putting up with burdensome access restrictions. Secure file sharing enhances employee productivity and provides them with the flexibility to work from anywhere.

Securely Share Your Files Online with SynaMan

Insecure means of file sharing can impact an organization negatively, leading to the loss of sensitive information and reputation. With the advent of new technologies, cyber criminals use more sophisticated methods and develop new hacking techniques. You need to implement robust file-sharing processes to stay ahead of them and securely share your files online.

At Synametrics Technologies, we believe secure file transfers are necessary to protect your organization from possible cybersecurity threats. We develop products that simplify and enable secure file sharing from any device.

Share large files directly from your network with SynaMan Remote File Manager without worrying about their size or any third-party involvement. We develop products, not services, so you get maximum ROI by investing in a perpetual license or according to your choice.


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