The Importance of Using Metadata Removal Software



The importance of using metadata removal software, alternatively known as hidden data removal software, has been emphasized in recent years with several high-profile incidents, where sensitive data was leaked through the hidden data stored within files that were sent to other parties by email or were posted on the web. Few of these incidents are described below.

One can safely assume that there were other similar cases, which have not received media attention, where confidential and private information of organizations and individuals has been revealed to other parties due to hidden data, damaged their interests and compromised their privacy without them even being aware of it.

Our Metadata Removal Solutions

  • ConfidentSend™ - Add-on for Microsoft Outlook® and Mozilla Thunderbird™ email clients that can remove hidden data & metadata from outgoing email attachments.
  • BatchPurifier™ - Batch hidden data & metadata removal tool that is able to clean multiple files at once.
  • MailValve EX™ - Hidden data & metadata removal add-in for Microsoft Exchange.
  • MailValve GX™ - Server-based hidden data & metadata removal solution.

Metadata Identified Google as the Submitter of a PDF File to ACCC

Google submitted a PDF document to The Australian Competition Commission and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on May 2008, protesting the removal of all payment options except PayPal by eBay Australia. Google intended the submission to be anonymous, and did not signed the document, but hidden metadata in the PDF file identified Google as the submitter.
[The story at The Register]

Microsoft Word Metadata Revealed Reviewer Identity

After submitting an article to a journal in his field, an assistant professor of classics at Davidson College, in North Carolina, received an e-mail with the reviewer report attached as a Microsoft Word document, forwarded from the journal's editor. Although peer-review process is intended to be blind, meaning that authors do not know who is reviewing their work, the reviewer identity was revealed to the assistant professor by the metadata that was stored in the Word document.
[The story at The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Presentation Notes Revealed Financial Projection and Future Product

Google published an online slide show on March 2006 with presentation notes that contained internal secrets about the company projection for advertising revenue in 2006, and about a future files storage product named GDrive.
[The story at the Geeking with Greg blog]

Tracked Changes Showed SCO Prepared a Lawsuit Against Bank of America

SCO Group filed lawsuits on March 3, 2004 against DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone, but tracked changes that were left in the Microsoft Word document revealed that the original defendant of the lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler was Bank of America.
[The story at CNET]

JPEG Thumbnail Showed Cat Schwartz Topless

Cat Schwartz, an American television personality, published in her personal blog two JPEG photos of her. The photos were cropped, but hidden Exif thumbnails of the original images that remained in the files showed her bared breasts.
[The story at PCWorld]

Tracked Changes Revealed Classified Information

Microsoft Word document that was posted on the website of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the American government that ruled Iraq from April 21, 2003, to June 28, 2004, contained previous version of the document with secret security-related information in it.
[The story at Salon.com]