N.B. Microsoft Hidden Text, Oops bad (mentioned in Cryptogram)

From: Alan Horkan (horkana@maths.tcd.ie)
Date: Sat Aug 16 2003 - 14:11:01 EDT

  • Next message: Alan Horkan: "Re: N.B. Microsoft Hidden Text, Oops bad (mentioned in Cryptogram)"

    "someone who is even a little bit clever can recover the text, with
    embarrassing or even damaging results"

    The classic one I remember is Microsoft releasing accounts that were last
    edited on a Macintosh.

    I dont think abiword has fallen into any of these traps yet, although a
    closer look at the built in revisioning system might be advisable for
    those who like me have a paranoid streak. The tradeoff between usability
    and security intrigues me too of course, better user feedback would help
    users to decide what information they do want in their documents.

    It might be useful to suggest metadata such as the adding $USERNAME as the
    document author. This could be done in a more considerate way by only
    suggesting if the user goes to changes the document properties or
    something along those lines. $USERNAME and other system data might be
    useful as document Fields. (I'll file a bug on this and list the Fields
    that MSword 97 supports that abiword does not yet support if you want me

    If I need another excuse for posting this then perhaps one of the
    developers might use Abiword/WvWare to bring to life Bruce Schneiers
    suggestion of a Scrubber, to help users avoid the privacy pitfalls of
    msword documents and their ilk.
    I expect someone will take the high moral ground and point out that if you
    know what you are doing you can easily avoid these kind of accidents by
    educating yourself and making a little effort.
    Dont underestimate the willingness of people to pay for a tool that merely
    simplifies a manual task, the old maxim 'do one thing well' applies and if
    users are willing to pay for that convienence go for it.


    Alan Horkan

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Aug 16 2003 - 14:23:15 EDT