Why shouldn't I email or post Microsoft Word documents?

Many people send Microsoft Word documents as email attachments without realizing that there are several security risks.

  • some viruses specifically target Microsoft Word files
  • earlier versions and edits of your document are often contained in documents. See this article by security expert Bruce Schneier for more details. http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0308.html#8
  • using .PDF instead provides a smaller, and usually non-editable file, preventing hijacking of ‘official’ document templates
  • if you must use MS Word, download and use the Remove Hidden Data tool from Microsoft
  • if you need an editable version save it as RTF (Rich Text Format), which can be imported into almost every word processing program and won’t contain scripts or macros.