[Marxism] Hidden dangers of Word *.doc documents

Intense Red intnsred at socialismonline.us
Sun May 1 15:51:07 MDT 2005


   I recently read a message of someone raving about Microsoft Word and a 
couple of its features and, as usual, I shook my head in quiet disgust.

   It's been long known that Word buries your Microsoft-issued "Globally 
Unique Identifier" (GUID) into its proprietary *.DOC format files, along with 
many other potentially privacy-violating features.  While many people enjoy 
Word's plethora of features, these do lead to more bugs and, even worse, even 
the most experienced Word users often forget that Microsoft does not code 
software with any serious security.

   Case in point.  In a startling revelation, Italian journalists have learned 
additional censored details (1/3 of the entire document's worth!) of the US 
report regarding the US killing of an Italian intelligence agent following 
the rescue of kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

   This magnifies a political embarrassment of international scope.  The US 
and Italian gov'ts already disagreed over facts involved in the killing.  But 
now some of the nitty-gritty details are known.  How was this feat of 
journalism accomplished?  With "deep throat" style informants and following 
the money?

   No, just from the fact that the gov't officials that wrote the report were 
foolish enough to use Microsoft Word.  Worse, the authors weren't aware or 
conscious enough of all of Word's security flaws.

   In this case, the Italian journalists simply copied the "hidden text" from 
the publicly distributed *.PDF file and they then pasted it into a word 
processor.  Since the original document was made with Word -- voila! -- a 
journalism super-scoop.

(FYI, if you read Italian, you can read about this scoop here 
<http://www.corriere.it/Primo_Piano/Cronache/2005/05_Maggio/01/omissis.shtml> 
or download the *.DOC file here 
<http://www.corriere.it/Media/Documenti/Unclassified.doc>.)

   Now, if you think this type of bungling happens only to American report 
writers, you're wrong.  This is an international problem.  Back during the 
buildup for the Iraq invasion, British Ministry of Defense officials released 
a document of a report to journalists who were able to recover text to learn 
who the original author of the document was; and the author had some very 
embarrassing statements to make about the Blair government's war claims.  
Again, all because of Microsoft Word.

   So, a word (no pun intended:-) to the wise: When using Word, be sure to 
keep these "features" in mind or just use a different tool that's more secure 
and appropriate to the task.

 Venceremos!

-- 
Ever wonder why half of NYC residents, the majority of Canadians and 
millions of people around the world think the US gov't was complicit 
in the attacks of Sep. 11th?  Get a free DVD video examining 9/11 at 
<http://reopen911.org/freedvd.php> and find out why!




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