HOW TO: Removing Hidden Data From Office Documents


Metadata is information within a document that provides indexing intelligence to other applications and subsystems.  Metadata is what makes search engines and filters effective and almost every modern media file from a photo to an excel sheet has some.  Metadata could be as simple as the "date created" information to as advanced as a list of tags that categorize the file *think Web 2.0*.  Open up any popular mp3 library and you are greeted with nothing but metadata, you just don't know it.

As useful as this information is, there is also a lot danger in releasing private information.  Examine the last few digital leaks that have occurred in the past years and you will find that reputations, some rightly so, being ruined.  All of this could've easily been prevented with my quick 3-step program.

Unintentional Disclosure of Sensitive Corporate Information

Incompetence in Iraq

Redacted Court Filings Reveal "Black Out" Text

The Steps

Removing this private metadata is easy in Office 2007.  Here are the steps *or your laziness can just skip to the video below*:

1. click on the Office Button, click "Prepare" -> "Inspect Document"

2. check all boxes and click "Inspect"

3. Review returned information and remove content as desired

I just hope the Bush Administration doesn't read my blog. --VT


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