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Thread: Office XP WhitePapers (Gota Read)

  1. #1
    Forgotten Ghost RogueSpy's Avatar
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    Aug 2001

    Office XP WhitePapers (Gota Read)

    If Office XP's So Great, How Come Microsoft Uses Word 97?

    By Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes
    11 Feb 2002, 10:49 AM CST

    A white paper that describes security enhancements in Office XP was created by Microsoft on a word processor that is two generations old, a security expert said.
    The document, posted at the Microsoft site in recent weeks and entitled "Microsoft Office XP Security," was composed using Word 97, according to an analysis of the file's header information by Richard M. Smith, an independent security and privacy consultant.

    Word 97 for Windows has been superseded by Word 2000 and Word 2002, which is part of the Office XP suite released last year.

    Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment.

    Smith made the observation using a tool he developed for viewing the "metadata" hidden in Office documents.

    The tool previously enabled Smith to discover that a Word version of Microsoft's 1999 annual report posted to the company's Web site was created on a Macintosh rather than on a Windows PC.

    Smith said the latest incident underscores his belief that Word 97 is still in wide use and that Microsoft should consider making available to Office 97 users some of the security improvements in Office 2000 and Office XP.

    "People apparently haven't felt a need to upgrade to the latest versions," said Smith, who added that Microsoft should not use security enhancements as a carrot to coax users to purchase its latest software.

    Six security features touted by Microsoft in Office XP are digital signatures, code signing, access controls, privacy and confidentiality, Outlook security enhancements and improved data recovery.

    According to the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University, the notorious Melissa virus of 1999 targeted unpatched versions of Word 97 that enabled some macros to execute without warning.

    The author of the Office XP security white paper appeared to follow the company's recommendations for minimizing the amount of metadata that is contained within Word documents.

    According to Microsoft, metadata stored in Word documents may include the author's name, company, computer name, network or hard disk name, document revisions, hidden text and comments.

    The Summary window in the document's Properties menu contained no personal information. It did however show that while the security white paper's title page said the document was created in March, 2001, the file was last modified Jan. 29, 2002.

    According to Smith, many Word documents posted on the Web, including some at U.S. government sites, have not been well sanitized of metadata by their authors.

    "It's great for doing forensics," he said.
    "Never give in-never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy!" - Winston Churchill

  2. #2
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    You keep findin' really great articles. You're gonna keep me laughin' all day!!!!
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002

    Thumbs up

    Nice post. Just shows you how much MS has (NOT) improved. I have Office XP on my WinXP Pro box. Not that much difference between it and Office 2000. Office 97 served me just fine for years. The one thing that has not changed through the versions is that damned paper clip. Thats one peice they forgot to leave out. LOL

    Anyway. Here is a link for you folks that have WinXP (Home or Pro) or Office XP. It's a nice site with some free stuff. As well you can still get the TweakUI for XP that MS took off of it's site because it gave users to much contol over the XP inviroment.

    The COOKIE TUX lives!!!!
    Windows NT crashed,I am the Blue Screen of Death.
    No one hears your screams.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2001
    That's truly interesting. I myself write all of my documents using good old Word 97, and I can't see why I should pay hundreds of dollars for a negligable upgrade (listen to this, Corel and Adobe!) After all, it's a WORD PROCESSOR! How many hundred dollar improvements can we make on it?


    Pierce me with steel, rend me with claw and fang; as I die, a legend is born for another generation to follow.
    An\' it harm none, do as ye will. - Wiccan Rede

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2001
    Written on a Mac? SHOCKING....could it be that even Bill admits that macs rule?
    - Jimmy Mac

    Replicants are like any technology, if there not a hazard, its not my problem....

  6. #6
    AntiOnline Senior Member
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    Oct 2001
    Haha. I find it funny that MS always has problems with their own products. For instance, Windows 9x was developed on Linux OSes!
    [shadow]uraloony, Founder of Loony Services[/shadow]
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  7. #7
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Hey Louie. Who's job are you taking picking on people that have something interesting to share? Pissed that you didn't find it first?

    When you have something interesting to share, then by all means share.
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

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