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My emailed word document was changed! (Read 4870 times)
Gerrit-Jan Linker
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My emailed word document was changed!
17.09.08 at 13:31:30
My emailed word document was changed!
I have a question about sending Word Documents attached to an email:
I heard that it is not safe to send an email with an attached Word Document because the attachment can be changed easily and it can't be sure who wrote what in the Document. Is that true? I send an email with an attachment to someone who now says I wrote something which I didn't. He says that I am the author of the Document and I have send it by email to him. Is is possible to change the attachment without changing the author?
Please let me know if those changes are made easily because I need to proofe it soon.

You probably write to me as we have published material relating to the safe sending of Word documents. Our encoffice software encrypts Word documents so they cannot be read or changed on their way to the recipient. If you would have used a tool like encOffice you would not have the problem you have today. For more information about encOffice see:
Important for you to know is that sending an email is just like sending a postcard. It is going through the hands of many postmen every step on its journey. With email this is when it travels on the internet towards the recipient. The sending mail server does not directly contact the recipient's email server but instead the email hops from computer to computer to ultimately reach the recipient's computer. Every computer that your email visits on its journey, potentially someone can interact with the message.  
In practise this does not happen much. Unlike you find that someone added text to a postcard you rarely find that someone alters your email. However the important point is that potentially someone could. If you send an important letter you do that in a closed envelope. In such a case you would not use an ordinary email. It is advisable that you use a format that cannot be read or altered during its journey. This is where encryption comes in. If someone cannot read your document because it is encrypted - for example using a tool like encoffice - then it is equivalent to someone handling a closed letter. You cannot get to the contents.  
Now, in your case you just sent a word document in an email. It means that everyone can have read the contents of the word document while it traveled to the recipient. See this page for a print of an ordinary word document. You can see you can just read the text:
Someone could have detached the word document, changed its contents and re-attached that to the email. Whether that happened or not something you can say with certainty. It is rather unlikely I would say, but it is possible.
About the author of a word document. Word saves somewhere in the .doc document the name of the author. I do not think the author is changed if someone else makes a change.  
I recommend you to buy a tool like our encoffice product to protect you against this in the future. Have a look at it at It just adds a new save button next to the normal save button. Clicking it will save your document as normal but you get a second encrypted version of the document as well that is password protected and encrypted.
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Gerrit-Jan Linker
Linker IT Software
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