Dropbox, the popular online storage platform, announced the discontinuation of its unlimited storage Advanced plan, citing abuse by users engaged in cryptocurrency mining. The company revealed that the unlimited storage offering, initially designed for businesses, had been exploited for resource-intensive activities, including crypto mining and pooling storage for personal use.
Dropbox policy to address unintended usage
Dropbox’s Advanced plan was initially tailored to offer businesses the flexibility of unlimited storage as their teams expanded. However, the company found that some users were consuming storage volumes thousands of times above that of genuine business customers. This excessive usage posed a risk of degraded service quality for all Dropbox users. In response, Dropbox decided to transition from its “as much space as you need” policy to a metered model. Under the revised policy, new users will receive 15 terabytes of storage, sufficient to house approximately 100 million documents. Each additional active license will secure 5TB of storage. The new policy will be introduced gradually, starting November 1. Also, customers needing more storage can purchase add-ons, available to new customers from September 18 and to existing customers from November 1.
Crypto mining’s impact on cloud storage
The phenomenon of crypto mining abuse is not unique to Dropbox. Other major cloud storage providers, such as Microsoft and Google, have also scrapped their unlimited storage plans in recent months. The practice of crypto mining involves the use of significant computational resources, which can be resource-intensive for cloud storage providers. In some instances, hackers have used cryptojacking malware to exploit cloud storage resources for mining activities. In 2021, Google reported that some attackers could compromise an account and install mining software within 22 seconds, highlighting the vulnerabilities associated with unlimited storage plans.
In light of these developments, businesses and individual users may need to reassess their cloud storage needs and options. The shift from unlimited to metered storage plans could prompt other industry players to reevaluate their policies, potentially leading to a new standard in cloud storage offerings.