Sept. 13 - Security Update for Google Drive File Links

Google Security Update: Drive file links

On July 26, Google is expected to email University faculty, staff, and students about a security update coming in September 2021 that impacts many University of Minnesota Google accounts. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is aware of the communication and is proactively alerting the University community about the update. 

Starting on September 13, 2021, Google will apply a security update to some Google Drive files to make sharing links more secure. Applying the update will increase the security of a given file, but it may cause changes to how people can access impacted files. This update only impacts University of Minnesota Google accounts and files that were created before November 2017.

Built-in Google file types including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms will not be impacted, even if they were created before November 2017.

What exactly is changing?

Google will change URLs for Drive files that were created before November 2017 to increase security. Specifically, this security update introduces a new required parameter, called a “resourcekey,” to sharing links. Adding this new security parameter changes the original URL of a file. If you have shared a file, folder, or shared drive (older than Nov. 2017) via URL, that URL may change, and whomever it is shared with may need to request access to view it. Public Google drive links, such as those posted on websites, will need to be updated to include the resourcekey.


This update is being applied to files created before November 2017 in Google Drive to make sharing links more secure.

What impact will this change have on me?

Depending on where you are sharing links to Drive files (e.g., on a public website), you may receive a temporary influx of access requests to files with links that have changed. The amount of access requests also depends on how frequently people view the file. 

Who is impacted by this change?

Any account that manages or owns a file (including departmental accounts) that was created before November 2017 and has files impacted by this update will receive an email from Google on July 26.

Users who a file has been specifically shared with or have previously accessed the file via link will not be impacted. Only users who haven’t viewed the file before and are trying to access the file via link, will have to request access

What types of files are impacted?

Only a subset of Drive files will be impacted by this update. Built-in Google file types (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms) will not be impacted. 

Impacted files could include PDF, movie (.MP4, .MOV, etc.), and audio (.MP3, etc.) file types, as well as others not listed here.

What should I do?

If Google notifies you that you own files that will be impacted by this update, we recommend that you follow the guidance provided by Google in the July 26 email. Please check any departmental accounts you own as they may have files that are impacted as well. 

If the files impacted are no longer needed, please consider removing or deleting those files. 

Contact Technology Help with questions.