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Data encrypted by dropbox before upload was complete - computer failed

Level 2

Hello, 

We don't have a technical background, so bear with me as I try to describe our issue in steps.

First off, we had an issue with our computer (not dropbox related) and planned to recover to a previous date. We first decided to upload files to dropbox before we started the process and this is what happened.

1) drop all folders and files to the computer dropbox folder

2) began the upload process and saw that all folders had a checkmark as if complete - (we failed by not checking the data on dropbox server)

3) Assumed that the files were uploaded, we began the computer recovery process

4) Six hours later the computer appeared frozen (only going back 1 week) and while someone was fussing with the computer, we received the "blue screen of death"

5) Pulled the hard drive and used a data recovery program to retrive our data -( in the mean time we learned that our data was not completely transmitted to Dropbox and began to panic.

6) Found the computer dropbox folder with all the data

7) Tried opening data within hte dropbox folder only to learn that ALL files within the dropbox folder have been encrypted. My guess is that files are encrypted prior to upload

 

My question is, how can we open these files? If we removed all the folders and files and placed them on another machine and began uploading to the same users dropbox, would the files open?

 

 

4 Replies

Re: Data encrypted by dropbox before upload was complete - computer failed

Super User II

Dropbox doesn't encrypt your files in the Dropbox folder. When syncing your data, it breaks your files apart into 4MB chunks and sends them to the servers. It's those chunks that are encrypted on the Dropbox servers; never your original files.

If the files on your local drive are encrypted, then you've likely picked up some ransomware (a type of virus) which has encrypted your files. Dropbox can assist in recovery, but only if the original, unencrypted files were synced to Dropbox in the first place.

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Re: Data encrypted by dropbox before upload was complete - computer failed

Dropboxer
Hey there (@NorthsideRealty), sorry to hear about your missing files. I’ll try to follow the course of events you’re describing & help you retrieve them as much as I can on my end. So, let’s get started:
 
#1. For starters, could you navigate on your account online on your Events page & see how many files were uploaded in the first place? On this page you’ll be able to determine whether the upload was finished before your computer froze. If it your device froze midway, you’ll be able to estimate an approximate percentage of completion, which will lead to the second pointer below. 
 
#2. From there, let me confirm that Dropbox doesn't provide for client-side encryption however it uses encryption before syncing your files to our servers. For that reason, it utilizes a cache folder to stage files before fully uploading them to our website. Have you located this folder by any chance? 
 
Please do let me know of your findings on this discussion & we’ll take it from there! 

 


Jane
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


 


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Re: Data encrypted by dropbox before upload was complete - computer failed

Level 2

Zero files uploaded to the dropbox, however, the Folders for the files have been created on the server. The problem is that dropbox was full. Our bad as we didn't check hte contents of the folders because all folders had a checkmark as if it was completed.

Yes, I believe I have located the cache folder on our Hard drive via a Data recovery program and all "folders" match what was duplicated on Dropbox server.

 

 

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Re: Data encrypted by dropbox before upload was complete - computer failed

Dropboxer
I’m merely cross-checking for clarity here (@NorthsideRealty); when you located the cache folder, did it contain any of the missing content or did it merely reflect the folderstructure you could see online? 
 
If the latter happened, then I’m afraid I’d have to be the bearer of bad news for you, as this indicates that your hardware problem affected the device’s performance. Your best bet at the moment would be checking whether you can recover these files with your data recovery program. 
 
It would be worth noting that the folders synced online because Dropbox syncs your files starting off with all of the folders & then progressing to files from smallest to largest. 
 
That said, if you have any news on the progress, please keep me updated here & I’ll do my best to touch-base with you asap; I hope that this gets resolved soon! 

 


Jane
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


 


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