Passwords Used In Microsoft Word Documents

You would like to protect your documents, wouldn't you? Reasons may vary but the problem is the same ? you need to protect your Microsoft Word documents from unauthorized editing or viewing. What document protection features does Microsoft® Office Word 2003, a part of Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 provide?

Microsoft Word features for document protection. Microsoft Word offers three types of password protection.

1) Password to open requires a password to open a document. By assigning a password to open a document you deny access to this document to anyone who doesn't know the password.

You may assign a password to open both a new document (Save As > Tools > Security Options) and an existing one (Main Menu > Tools > Options > Security).

2) Password to modify requires password to save currently made changes. Password to modify allows every user to view and to edit a document (with a special read-only setting) but not to save these changes. Only an authorized user is allowed to save changes. Please note that by opening a document as read-only and copying it to a new document with a clipboard it is possible to obtain an unprotected copy of your document. This password is set the same way and in the same window as password to open.

3) Protect Document ? document protection. With this type of protection you prevent your document from any alterations. Any user can freely view it but no one is allowed to edit, copy, or format it. To a certain point it is similar to a pdf file viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

It is possible to set or delete this type of protection with : Tools > Protect Document or Unprotect Document; select exclusions and apply protection.

These are the main features provided by Microsoft Word 2003. It is nice when everything is working fine but what happens if somebody cracks your protection by guessing your password? And what are you going to do if you lose or forget the password for your document? How powerful and reliable is Microsoft Word 2003 protection?

When assigning a password the program warns you not to lose it as you can't recover the password. This is not exactly right. Any password can be cracked. The point is how much time it will take for special program to crack your password. For instance, Protect Document password uses a rather easy protection method and a few seconds is enough to recover this kind of password. It is similar with Password to modify. But it is not that easy with Password to open:

The first versions of Microsoft Word had rather weak security; it took a bit more time to crack it compared to the other types used in Microsoft Word. But starting from Microsoft Word 97 version the situation has been improving. The new version had more cryptoproof security; it would take many years to crack it with the brute-force and PIV computer. Please note that it doesn't apply to Microsoft Word 97 version supplied to the French market as these versions had the old protection from the previous Microsoft Office 95. Cryptoprotection options were further advanced in Microsoft Office XP (realization in Office 2003 is the same). At the moment, the user can chose encryption mode to protect his documents.

This option is customized by assigning password to open (Advanced... button). In the window you will see a list of possible algorithms of document protection. Almost all of them are hard nuts for a hacker; it would take him a long time to crack your document. For more detailed information on password recovery see the article on our resource

AccentSoft Team is a privately-held information technology company focused on corporate and consumer software development. The company was founded in 1999 by software engineer Denis Gladysh. We specialize in password recovery and digital imaging software development. Our product catalogue features such popular titles as Accent OFFICE Password Recovery, Accent Excel Password Recovery and SnapTouch. These products are consistently recognized for their quality and have been adopted by industry professionals. For more information, visit http://www.AccentSoft.com.

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