I had the opportunity recently to beta-test HoneyDocs, a web app that generates documents that can ‘buzz home.’ This is done by a unique, embedded GET request that is initiated when the generated document has been opened.
Several use cases came to mind, but I was most interested in seeing if my cloud storage services were manipulating my files in a way that I may not have been aware of.
Uploaded Documents to Dropbox Personal Account with Private Folders (not shared)
- Uploaded “passwords” documents generated by HoneyDocs.
- These were uploaded with both the client application as well as the web interface.
- The first successful ‘buzz’ took approximately 10 minutes.
- I attempted to re-create this by deleting the files in question and re-uploading the same HoneyDocs files, but was unable to get further ‘buzz backs’ with the same files.
- The IP appears to be an Amazon EC-2 instance in Seattle
So now I’m curious…are the files being accessed for de-duplication purposes or possibly malware scanning? If so, then why are the other file types not being opened? It appears that only .doc files are being opened…
I then uploaded more HoneyDocs files to my Dropbox folder, this time from a different computer and ISP to rule out any of those variables.
All .doc embedded HoneyDocs appear to have been accessed…from different Amazon EC-2 instance IPs.
Further digging into the HoneyDocs data reveals a suspicious User Agent, LibreOffice. Now I’m curious if this is still an automated process or one that involves human interaction? [Update: As better explained here, this is certainly automated and not as suspicious]
All in all, I made 3 attempts to upload embedded documents and all appeared to be opened from different Amazon instances. This could have something to do with how Dropbox’s storage architecture is configured while utilizing Amazon S3 buckets.
Regardless, the .doc files seemed to have been opened for some reason. I’d like to know why…
If you are curious, I encourage you to test it out on your own! You can sign-up for a free HoneyDocs account here.
[Update: Please check out the follow-up to this post here]