Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a password protected MS-Word 2007 file that needs to stay private. How good is Word's protection? If it's not very good, can you suggest a better method for keeping the file protected?

EDIT: my goal is to send the protected file to a recipient (who knows the password). I assume this recipient knows nothing about encryption/decryption, but if I absolutely have to, I'll encrypt the file and painstakingly teach the recipient how to decrypt it.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by random Apr 29 '12 at 17:12

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
What version of word? –  Andrew Cox Jul 15 '09 at 9:00
    
Also, how much it needs to stay private? How much is worth the secret? $100? $100 000 000? –  Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Jul 15 '09 at 9:03
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Judging from the results of a search for "break microsoft word password", it is not so secure. If you really need to keep it secret, then encrypt the file.

share|improve this answer
    
For example passwordrecoverytools.com –  Nifle Nov 1 '10 at 8:56
add comment

It's not good, unless you're on the latest office release (Office 2007 or newer)

I suggest you look at GNU Privacy Guard / Gpg4Win or if you're storing the data on a usb flash drive check out TrueCrypt

share|improve this answer
    
If the odds are stacked against the newest MS Office release, then it shouldn't be recommended too. There are enough algorithms that stood scrutiny of mathematicians. –  Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Jul 15 '09 at 9:09
1  
Considering the latest office incantation uses 128 bit AES and SHA-1.. its not like there are any widely known methods for decryption of passwords for the latest office release. –  Mark Turner Jul 15 '09 at 9:30
    
I went ahead and removed the concern over the latest office version getting cracked. It was confusing and completely unlikely. –  Mark Turner Jul 15 '09 at 9:31
add comment

You could use 7z to compress and encrypt the file. It uses AES-256 which is the same encryption standard used by the US government.

Another option is to use an email service that offers PKI secured e-mail. You and your recipient would both need accounts.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you don't trust Word, you could create an encrypted file container using TrueCrypt. There's a good tutorial which explains how to do this.

share|improve this answer
add comment

One should prefer methods that were thoroughly examined by mathematicians and computer scientists. It was one of the arguments against accepting Office Open XML document format as an international standard.

share|improve this answer
add comment

On older versions of Word, it was like putting a cheap bicycle lock on the handle bars. It was easy to crack, and didn't really make it difficult to read the file. You could open the file in a hex editor, and read most, if not all, of the data fairly easily.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.