If you have received an email about a new comment in a Google Docs do not click the link as it is spam. As reported by 9to5, it forms part of a new spam technique trying to abuse comments in Google Docs, Slides and Sheets.
There have been a number of instances of high profile spam campaigns this year. So much so that Google made a number of changes back in the summer in order to combat the issues.
Interestingly enough, mechanisms to prevent by other companies may be working against the Trump campaign by accident. Cell carriers are in an ongoing battle with the President about his SMS campaign as it does not offer an opt-out option to users.
However, this Google Docs spam email is quite a sophisticated one. It masks its intent quite well given most of use may be used to simply clicking on a Google Docs comment link with little or no thought about it.
Beware of Google Docs comment emails
It appears that this piece of spam has been around for some time this year. The earliest report found dates back to August with spammers figuring out that they could use Google Docs to send any message to nearly any email address.
This means the email comes from a trusted sender and by all accounts, it looks like the spammers’ efforts may be ramping up further.
The first thing to note is that you definitely should not click on the link if you receive one of these emails. It redirects to a malicious location which attempts to steal account information.
If you continue to receive a number of these emails, there is a way to combat it. Many would worry that filtering these email out would also filter out genuine Docs comments’ emails. However, there is a way around this.
Importantly spammers do not give the email address the normal commenting rights. This means each email includes the phrase ‘you do not have commenting rights”. This means filtering that phrase out should target these specific spam emails without effecting genuine ones.
The spam attack seems to be quite similar to the longstanding Google Drive issue. This allows anyone to share unwanted files to any other Google Account.
Google has said they are “making it a priority” to fix the issue. However, thus far little progress seems to have been made. To this specific issues Google is yet to respond with any meaningful comment.