Is it safe to write research paper on Overleaf? Some of my friends say that it is not safe to write research papers on it as it is connected it internet. Please suggest. I am afraid of plagiarism.
Overleaf is unlikely to be a problem
To plagiarize your work, someone would have to
- find it very valuable
- hack your Overleaf account (and know it is there they need to hack) or that of your coauthors or you would have to have shared it publicly
- finish the research before you do, which typically means they would have to have superior or in any case solid knowledge in the field,
- publish it before you do
- have more credibility than you do in the academic community, so that you can't just say that it was actually your work they are plagiarizing
Of all these factors the second one is the only one that has anything to do with Overleaf. In order for it to be the crucial issue, you already need to have a competent and well-connected researcher out to plagiarize you. While it could happen, it feels unlikely, and you probably know if you are in this situation or not.
If you do happen to be in a position that requires extreme information security (governmental research, dual purpose research, authoritarian regime, a powerful enemy out to get you), then it is a good rule of thumb to not use Overleaf or other cloud services. But in this case you really should seek help that is a lot more competent and specific than the answers here.
A wide range of Academicians and Researchers have been using overleaf for a long time now, none of them have complained of anything as such other than some suggestions of improving it. I've personally never had any issues with overleaf since it is much more convenient to have a common platform for collaboration. Also, being insecure about an idea/paper being stolen isn't something one should be bothered about unless you've a ground breaking idea (pun unintended) However, if one is reluctant to use the cloud based LaTeX editor, one can always switch to an offline LaTeX software if one wants. That should help.
Overleaf is indeed slightly more insecure than Dropbox, Git or e-mail, because it has one additional avenue for attack: you can get illicit access to a document stored there if you obtain the 24-digit hex number that appears in its URL. Clearly the probabilities to guess one at random are minuscule, but there are in theory some exploits that could help (sniff one from a plain-http connection, visited link attacks, etc.).
Dropbox also has unauthenticated share tokens, but typically one shares their document with specific users anyway.
Of course this is all theoretical, and probably this risk is only a tiny fraction of that coming from more traditional attacks (weak passwords and phishing, for instance --- as the saying goes, "problem in chair, not in computer").