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Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides pick up one of Drive's best security features

Google Workspace Hero
Google Workspace on the web (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google will now show a warning banner in Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web for suspicious files.
  • These warning labels will show up when you attempt to open malicious documents.
  • It is rolling out to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business users.

Google's cloud-based productivity suite has been a favorite tool of bad actors to spread malicious files and launch phishing campaigns, but the search giant is beefing up Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web with warning labels that will alert users to malicious content.

The new security feature was previously introduced to Google Drive, and it displays a  yellow warning banner at the top of a document when you attempt to open potentially dangerous documents on the web. Google said in a blog post that it is "extending these warnings at the file-level."

The warning banner reads: "This file looks suspicious. It might be used to steal your personal information."

With more people still opting for a remote work setup, online productivity tools are an invaluable asset. But cybercriminals have also stepped up their attempts to find their next victims. Late last year, Avanan, a provider of cloud email and collaboration suite security, discovered a "massive wave of hackers leveraging the comment feature in Google Docs" to distribute malware and phishing attacks.

The arrival of warning labels to Google's collaboration tools should help users fend off dodgy files masquerading as legitimate documents. These productivity tools previously displayed warning banners, but only when you're about to open malicious links from within Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

Google says there is no admin control or end-user setting for this feature, meaning it will be enabled by default. The new warning labels will start appearing on all Google Workspace tiers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business plans, over the next few weeks.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.