Home & Office

Google warns: Watch out, this security update could break links to your Drive files

Google warns of potential headaches ahead for Workspace admins and Drive users due to broken links to files.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Google has issued an alert for Workspace admins that an upcoming update to improve the security of sharing links from Google Drive will actually break links to some files. 

This could create headaches for Google Workspace business users who need to access files from Drive. The update involves updating Drive file links and may lead to "some new file access requests", according to Google.    

That in turn could lead to problems for Workspace admins who might see a rush on support calls over broken links.  

SEE: Network security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Google notes that the security update is being applied to some files in Google Drive to make sharing links more secure.

"The update will add a resource key to sharing links. Once the update has been applied to a file, users who haven't viewed the file before will have to use a URL containing the resource key to gain access, and those who have viewed the file before or have direct access will not need the resource key to access the file," Google explains. 

This is the first phase of a staged rolled out of resource keys that may break links to Drive files. By the sounds of Google's description, things could get messy for Drive files, especially in larger organizations with lots of users and files. 

Google's support page on the issue explains that admins can choose how to apply the update up to July 23. 

During this phase, once the resource key security update is applied, end users are notified of impacted files. Admins can change the selection after July 23, but users won't be notified of the changes.  

In phase 2, between July 26 and August 25, Drive notifies impacted users of the update and any affected items that they own or manage. Admins can also let users decide to remove the update from specific items.

"Unless the admin chooses to opt their organization out of the security update, end users who own or manage impacted files will receive an email notification starting July 26, 2021 with their impacted files," Google notes.

"End users will have until September 13 to determine how the update is applied to their files, if permitted by their admin."

SEE: Programming languages: Rust in the Linux kernel just got a big boost from Google

Google has also released information for developers affected by the change that may affect various projects that depend on Drive files.

It says that end users who own or manage impacted files will receive an email notification from July 26, 2021 that will flag their affected files. Assuming an admin has permitted it, users might have the option to remove the security update from their impacted files. 

Google also flagged an upcoming issue with unlisted videos that were uploaded before January 1, 2017. 

From July 23, unlisted videos uploaded before that date will move to Private as part of a security update. Private is one of three visibility settings on YouTube, along with Public and Unlisted. "In 2017, we rolled out a security update to the system that generates new Unlisted video links. This update included security enhancements that make the links for your Unlisted videos even harder for someone to discover if you haven't shared the link with them. We're now making changes to older Unlisted videos that were uploaded before this update took place," Google explains. 

YouTube users can opt out of this change by following the instructions on Google's support page.

Editorial standards