Forum Question: Dropbox Message Prompt

I installed Dropbox on Mac OS X 10.6.7 several weeks ago, and when I was on the AT&T Wi-Fi network at Starbucks today, it gave me a prompt asking me if I want Dropbox to accept incoming network connections. It said that if I click Deny, it could limit Dropbox’s functionality.
Is it safe to allow incoming network connections on Dropbox? If I do, will it allow people to hack into my files (I don’t put any sensitive files in Dropbox, but still), or possibly allow them to see what I’m doing online?

Comments: 7 Responses to “Dropbox Message Prompt”

    5/4/11 @ 2:12 pm

    Dropbox needs to communicate both ways to sync with the Dropbox server. So it needs access in order to work.
    Kind of like saying “do I need pipes coming to my house if I want water to come out of the taps?”
    So is it safe? Well the only way to be completely safe is to disconnect from the Internet completely and never connect again.
    It isn’t allowing other people to “hack” anything — it is just letting your Mac communicate with your dropbox.

      8/15/12 @ 8:22 am

      As Gary says, Dropbox needs to be able to send/receive info to/from the dropbox servers. But there is still a valid question here which he somewhat abruptly glossed over.

      I’ve been running Dropbox for many months and only today did Mac OS prompt with this message asking whether or not an incoming connection request should be accepted. What has changed?

      Firewalls work on the principal that outgoing connections are fine but incoming connections require additional scrutiny and this would be a similar case. Presumably up until today my Dropbox application has always been initiating outgoing connections toward the servers. So where are the incoming connection requests suddenly coming from?

      Over on the dropbox forums, there seems to be no answer to this either. A google search points at several topics related to this but when you follow through to the forum, you many pages of unrelated posts and searching there turns up nothing.

      So the question remains. Why the change in behaviour with Dropbox being asked to accept incoming connections?

        8/15/12 @ 1:20 pm

        Hard to say without using some software to investigate — and an engineer to interpret the data. But my guess would be maybe Dropbox simply got a new server (or certificate) and this is the first time your Mac has been in contact with that server. Could be something like that. Dropbox may know.

        8/18/12 @ 2:30 am

        I have just received the same message for the first time after having dropbox for over a year. Maybe an update issue?

      8/20/12 @ 11:29 am

      Hmm… Not true. There is a big difference between incoming network connections and receiving data from the network. When Dropbox needs to download any data from the server, it can establish the necessary connection to the server whenever required and without any objections from the firewall.
      The message translates: “There is an application locally or remotely which wants to connect to my Dropbox application for some reason”. And it is unlikely to be the Dropbox server sending data, as it typically could not get through the ADSL modem anyway.

    8/20/12 @ 11:36 am

    Ah, correction, sorry. The actual translation is: “My Dropbox application for some reason wants to open itself for incoming connections and act as a server. Perhaps for other applications/plugins to be able to communicate with the app via that open port.” Sounds reasonably safe, then, even though I don’t know which other app could use that channel.

    10/25/12 @ 11:48 am

    Mine does it too, every time I start my machine. Is there a way to stop it from asking every time, it gets on my nerves?

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