Remove “Metadata” From Your Files Before Sharing Them
Whenever you create, open, or save a file or document, that file will store information — known as metadata — that you had no intention of including or disclosing to others. Taking a conscientious “extra step” can prevent embarrassment, and also make you a bit more secure. Here’s the “how to”.
Hidden Attributes and Tags Might Reveal More Than You Would Like
You may not be aware that the documents you generate, and the photos you edit on your computer are “stamped” (if you will) with little bits and pieces of information that the computer thinks are useful — called “metadata“. This metadata is not out in plain site for you to notice, but it’s there. Fortunately, it is not difficult to remove.
[note: “Metadata is not necessarily “bad”. Metadata is essentially there to help the computers do their jobs better and faster, and can be helpful to us as well.]
Metadata for a photograph would typically include the date and time at which it was taken and details of the camera settings, such as focal length, aperture, exposure. It would also contain any titles or keyword “tags” we’ve added to help us organize our albums. (If your camera/smartphone has “geotagging”, your location is pinpointed.)
Metadata for a document would typically include the date and time at which it was created, title, author, subject, number of pages, and the language of the text.
But the metadata will also contain the number of revisions, how long you spent working on it, (possibly) hidden markups/edits, who it is “shared” with, who else it’s been sent to, the Save path (which usually reveals your User Name), computer name, and more.
This can open you up to embarrassment (What? They took 4 hours and 16 revisions to write this ??? And why did they show it Joe?) and/or provide info a hacker might use to gain control of your PC.
Tip of the day: Before you e-mail off your file as an attachment, or turn it in to the boss, it might be a good idea to strip it of the metadata. To do this:
1) right-click of the file and select “Properties” from the context menu. In my example, I’ll use a Word document named BarbaraInvoice.doc.
2) Click on the “Details” tab, and look to the bottom area. Click on “Remove Properties and Personal Information”.
3) A new window will open. Here you will see two choices represented by radio buttons. ‘Remove it all’ is the default, but you can be selective by clicking the second button, and using the window scroll, and remove just certain tags.
4) Click “OK”, and the metadata is gone.
Today’s yippee yahoo: 450,000 user passwords leaked in Yahoo breach
“A hacker group claims responsibility for attack on a Yahoo service, exposing more than 450,000 plain text login credentials.” Read more..
If anyone should know better than that, it should be IT Pros, working at a place like Yahoo..? Ya’ think?
One more reason not to Yahoo!
Today’s free link: Amazon’s Game Downloads area lets you try every title – including new releases – before you buy. There are games for all ages and interests.
Today’s free download: Photographers: I believe this small free utility – BatchPurifier Lite– will allow you direct control over exactly which EXIF (metadata) info you want to remove from your image files. (I have not used this myself, but, there you go.)
Germane to nothing at all: in my world/our local slang, a “yahoo” is a happy-go-lucky idjit (aka a “fool”.)
Today’s quote: “All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.
All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.
July 12, 2012 - Posted by techpaul | advice, computers, file system, how to, Internet, MS Word, News, security, software, tech | 450, documents, files, from, how to, images, jpegs, metadata, photos, remove, techpaul, user passwords leaked in Yahoo breach, Word
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• About Tech Paul
I am a (semi)-Retired CompTIA Certified computer & network technician, and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid. I have been building/fixing networks and computers since Windows 95 was the new kid on the block.
I have regularly posted how-to’s and tricks & tips and general computing advice here since 2007. (Use the Search tool to find answers.) Sometimes I answer (your) specific questions in an article if I believed the answer is generally helpful to “everyone”. All the writing you see is my own, typos and all. There is an implied “IMHO” in what you see here.
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