The SNOOP in Microsoft Word : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

On another Forum ...

"While we are on the subject of Word...

... have any of you tried opening your Word 98 files in something like BBEdit lite?

I'm sure some have, but it is worth trying just to know what someone else can find out about you from your Word files.

For fun, create a Word document and write something like
"I have 1 million dollars stuffed under my mattress and haven't paid a cent of tax on it."
Save the document
then delete the phrase and change it to
"I have 1 dollar under my mattress but I'm giving it all to the government because I think they are doing such a great job."

Now save it, close the doc and then open it in BBEdit (most other decent text editors will do as well).

You should find you whole life story along side the incriminating statements. Don't you just love Microsoft?

"Private", deleted, incriminating stuff: the stuff that comes up in MS makes you think that all the things they say about Bill Gates are probably true."


-- Startled (no@trace.behind), October 18, 1999


Um, I presume you have the "fast save" option enabled?

It's not *mandatory*, you realize.

-- Ron Schwarz (, October 18, 1999.

crap, I compose all kinds of stuff in Word. Something else to worry about and try to eliminate.

-- writer (, October 18, 1999.

Can other people access our Word files?

-- jboren (orenl@oren.xcom), October 18, 1999.

I never send out word-processor docs in a non-universal format. If it needs formatting, RTF is what I use as you can open it up as plain text and see exactly what embedded codes are there. Never send out formatted text created in a word processor using its own format, especially MS Office components of any version.

Or, just print it out and send a hardcopy and be done with it.

BTW, I write military-grade data destruction software

among other things, and you'd be amazed at what your PC leaves behind from delete operations. If you don't have a good "digital shredding" program of some sort, get one and use it as part of the usual PC filesystem maintenance (along with error- checking and defragmenting) to help clean out the stuff you don't want to leave recoverable traces of.

-- OddOne (, October 18, 1999.

Ack! Sorry 'bout that. Was supposed to be a shorter link. These rented fingers are sure not working today. (Good thing I've taken the day off coding! [chuckle])

-- OddOne (, October 18, 1999.

What about MS Outlook Express and e-mail?

-- yes we're screwed (no@privacy.anywhere), October 18, 1999.

Billy Goat will not be Mr. Popular in 2 1/2 months

-- hoops for security (file@backlog.bites), October 18, 1999.

One way to clean it up is to open a NEW document, then do a SelectAll from the old one and copy/paste it all into the new one. Before closing the new one, check your Tools/Options/UserInformation to see how it will mark you as the author, etc. All kinds of change-tracking stuff and old data can build up in your original file.

Regardless how you clean it up, after closing the new document, use LIST (old DOS file-dumper) or equivalent to open the file and scan for your name and for any incriminating traces.

Never trust any word-processor to give you a clean file. Never trust any file-creating program at all - always dump the raw file to ensure it is clean. If you don't *have* to use a word processor, a plaintext file is lots cleaner and smaller.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 18, 1999.

Odd One, yer link didn't work!

BTW< do you know of ANY software that will WIPE a swap file?? PGP says that it exists. I would like to know how to do it. I have several products that will wipe free space, but with a 12 Gig hard drive it takes almost 3 hours. I understand the swap file is rarely more than 3 times RAM, and that would be much faster.

Thanks in advance.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in, October 18, 1999.

It's not really as sinister as you think. Word has a feature that allows you to track revisions in a document across versions and time. It even lets you track who made the changes. This feature is very useful for intense writing such as technical specifications and for collaborative work where one document is being modified by multiple writers simultaneously. I depend on this feature in Word on a regular basis.

If you are concerned about it, take some of the precautions shown above (i.e. cut and paste into a new document, etc.).

-- Paul Neuhardt (, October 18, 1999.

If you want to wipe the swap file and the slack space within files themselves, you might want to check out Kremlin version 2.1 or thereabouts. It's not very expensive and can be ordered at or by calling 1-888-201-7131. Kremlin is a powerful encryption program that also provides complete wiping facilities. I also use PGP. However, for wiping the hard drive free space, slack file space and memory/swap file, I use Kremlin.

-- brett45 (, October 18, 1999.

K. Stevens, that link I tried and bumbled is fixed. That package handles files, directories, MFT/directory table entries, free disk space, and more. An upgrade in the works will take out slack space in files meant to be kept.

Swapfile wipes are generally not necessary if you use your system often, as the pages of space in the file are constantly being rewritten - PROVIDED THAT - you've forced Windows to lock the swapfile size to a specific value and not constantly resize it, and you don't run the same software in exactly the same patterns all the time. (The idea is to mix up when and what you load so as to mix up what gets written and where to the swapfile.) Not only is it a security risk having Windows resize the swapfile dynamically as it occupies and releases space at a whim, but it's a performance hit as well.

NT systems don't permit applications to directly access the swapfile (NT calls it a "paging file" but the idea's the same) due to how it tries to dynamically align memory segments to disk clusters, so if you're running NT, forget a swapfile wipe altogether. (There's a Registry entry that you can set to cause NT to wipe its own paging file's unused pages.

K., you mentioned how long it takes you to wipe your free space, and how it shoudl take less time to wipe the swapfile. You might want to drop me some E-mail about that as I have a bunch of info on the sensitive data removal (I code that sort of software to DoD standards for a living, among other things) that might benefit you but take too much forum bandwidth. Drop me a note. :-) He codes, he thinks outside the box, he makes a mean LED flashlight, he's--

-- OddOne (, October 18, 1999.

Hhhmmm. There's a Word 98 for the Mac. Just installed Office 98; now have weird squiggly red or green lines under lots of words: want to turn that off but haven't a clue yet.

Anybody understand this re Word for Mac? Before we start using Word is there any way to disable this snooping/compiling function? Don't quite understand any of this ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, October 18, 1999.

Seems like my post re anyone using more than absolute minimum Microsucks products and functions got deleted, or this is a similar thread to what I did post to.

Anyway, I said anyone who uses more than absolute minimum is an idiot, or the organization that uses more than minimum is populated by idiots. And quit being such "SHEEPLE" in this area -- there ARE alternatives to Microsucks. Granted they may not be much, if any better, but if you don't use other products, you will be in a totally controlled Microsucks computer world in a few years (if we escape Y2K).

Look at the posts here. People have no clue as to what their software is doing, and yet they blithely go for the latest and "coolest" crap. On one hand, can't blame them for not knowing what's going on -- shouldn't have to be a frickin' copmputer professional to protect themselves. But at least, delay getting the "latest and gratest" until you have an absolute need or have a gun held to your head.

I HAVE to use Microsucks Word occasionally. But my DOS WordPerfect still works fine. And with WordPerfect I have a couple of magnitude less worries about viruses and Microsucks screwing with me.

-- A (, October 19, 1999.

Any Mac pros out there who want to edify us in very simple layman's language?

-- stick toe out (amongst@programmer.wolves), October 19, 1999.

"Hhhmmm. There's a Word 98 for the Mac. Just installed Office 98; now have weird squiggly red or green lines under lots of words: want to turn that off but haven't a clue yet."

Assuming that Mac Word and Windows Word are the same in this area (and they have been in the past) red squiggles indicate words that they dynamic spell checker has a problem with, and green squiggles are phrases that the dynamic grammer checker objects to. Somwhere there is an options menu and dialog, and somehwere on that dialog you can alter spell check settings. I could point you to where there are on Windows, but the Mac may be different.

Again, nothing sinister, just a feature that a lot of people (myself included) find quite handy.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, October 19, 1999.

Thanks Paul! We knew the squiggles weren't sinister; just wanted to get rid of them. We goof around with spelling all the time for double-triple-quad meanings, so there's lots of red ;^) Your clues will send us clicking around to turn it off. Only loaded Office 98 to be able to read stuff ppl were sending us.

Any Mac World expert who wants to weigh in on any privacy issues, please do so!

This thread is very interesting reading. Many ppl use their computers for word processing.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, October 19, 1999.

If you right-click on those squiggled words, you'll see alternate suggested spellings.

-- Ron Schwarz (, October 20, 1999.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions!

This just appeared on Apple Hot News: [Hahaha; Y2K compliance issues involved? ]

Red-faced in Redmond
The Nov. 1 BusinessWeek notes Microsofts 1999 annual report was created on a Mac. Internet security consultant Richard Smith of Brookline, Mass., recently discovered that fact after downloading the 33-page document from Microsoft's Web site. It's as if the head of General Motors showed up at a corporate gala in a BMW. [Oct 22]

Can't get into the article tho ... sounds intriguing ;^)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, October 22, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Microsoft makes software for both PC's and Macs. The first release of Microsoft Excel, for example, was for Macs. I don't find this at all inconsistent. This is not to say that I favor Microsoft or wish them well, because I don't.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), October 22, 1999.

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