Microsoft pulls Docs.com’s search feature following discovery of sensitive files

Microsoft’s Docs.com service is a great place to share your stories and creations with your friends and family as well as the internet. Docs.com is part of Microsoft’s Office suite, so it is likely being used by millions of people all around the world. Recently, however, users started discovering sensitive documents on Docs.com which clearly are not supposed to be public.

Using Docs.com’s search feature, users were able to search any file that has been shared using the service. As a result, users were reportedly able to find personal documents and sensitive information which shouldn’t be accessible by the public. Some of the documents include divorce settlement agreements, loan applications, birth certificates, credit card statements, password lists, and even investment portfolios. What makes things worse is the fact that some of the documents even included the Social Security Number for some users in the United States.

After receiving complaints from several users regarding this issue, Microsoft quickly pulled the service’s search feature — preventing anyone from searching for public files shared on the service. The issue isn’t completely resolved as users can still find some of the personal documents using a simple Google search (cached results).

Whether this is Microsoft’s fault or the users’ is still unknown. By default, Docs.com shares documents publicly — but the service lets users configure the privacy options. It is possible users assumed that Docs.com automatically made their documents private which is why they stored sensitive information such as password lists on the service. At the end of the day, Docs.com is made for showcasing your stories created with Microsoft’s Office apps and not for sharing of your personal data.

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