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Be aware of hidden application data

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Does your organization use Microsoft Word for document creation and collaboration? Are you aware of the hidden application data that others could access? What steps have you taken to protect your company's private data? Share your comments about protecting your organization's private data, as discussed in the May 24 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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So, what is this exactly?

by Joseph Moore In reply to Be aware of hidden applic ...

Is this a question, a discussion, or an advertisment?

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PDF is your friend

by compguy In reply to Be aware of hidden applic ...

Anything that goes "out the door" goes out in PDF format unless the user at the other end specifically needs to edit the document.

Anything relatively important has security set on the PDF so that it can only be opened and printed -- no editing allowed.

1) The recipient doesn't get the embedded editing notes
2) I know pretty much what the recipient will see
3) I don't have to worry about an accidental or intentional edit

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Other options

by saintjohnhawke In reply to PDF is your friend

You can also eliminate some of the extra "invisible" data in documents by pasting them into a notepad, saving them down to the most rudimentary text file possible, then pasting them back into a new word document, but if you're going to go that far to clean out a document, you may as well invest in a metadata cleaner program.

To see examples of how much information is invisible in the background of a word document, use MS word to create an HTML page, then save it, and view the raw source code in notepad.
You may be surprised to see that it places in a great deal of the user information you entered into microsoft word when you registered it.

That's just a simple document.
Something that's been touched by dozens of users and gone through several revisions is still loaded down with large amounts of hidden background information, even if you can't see it when you open the word doc file.

I highly reccomend investing in a license for a metadata cleaner program.
If you can't afford that, use PDF.
(PDF995 is a free piece of software (and a print driver) that lets you convert word documents into PDF files, albeit with limited functionality.)

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Dressing the Corpse for Burial

by Fredz In reply to Be aware of hidden applic ...

The last place the document will be alive is in the word document. The place where it is to be buried is the PDF file. This is great both from the point of view of eliminating the hidden data and having a free viewer to bring it up with. I assume that the document is searchable too.

People typically do not manage their hardcopy, their email, or their electronic files well and end up leaving the battlefield (their file directory) full of dead corpses. At the end of every project, you want to put a tuxedo up your dead documents to save for some future exhumation. The decaying documents need to be eliminated to keep from stinking up your hard disk. So, if you keep it, PDF it. If you don't PDF if, destroy it. The improvements in this method of document burial will pay for itself in spades.

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