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Reviewing Quality of Password Protection: Other Office Programs

Microsoft Outlook
Being a part of the office suite Microsoft Outlook enables password-protecting personal folders (.pst files). Personal files can contain confidential data, and therefore a reliable password protection would be very current for them. Unfortunately, the implementation of password protection in Outlook is monstrously incompetent - regardless of the length and complexity of a password, it is possible to instantly build up a password, which would differ from the original but nevertheless fit the "protected" file. Nothing has changed over the more than a decade-long history: Outlook 2010 is just as primitive in terms of password protection as its very first versions. Outlook, perhaps, is the most clamant example of ignorance and slapdash attitude to users - in the essence, a direct deception takes place here: by setting up a password, user is entitled to assume that it is totally impossible to access the file without the password (the Outlook application gives such warning); however, in the reality that's not true, Outlook Password recovers all such passwords instantly.

VBA modules (macros in Offices programs)
VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. Such modules can be present in Office applications (and not in them alone). They are used for realizing macros and programming "inside" the document. Although VBA modules are always built into some document, in the essence that is a self-sustaining software product with its own editor, debugger and integration means. There is a way to set password to a VBA module. Such module would work, but user would be unable to open it, view the code and/or modify it. Password protection in VBA is based upon storing hash from password. Thus, if a password was long and complex enough, it would be impossible to recover it. However, VBA Password could replace the hash - then the password could be replaced with a known one. Thus, password protection of VBA modules is not reliable and does not provide due protection.

OneNote
OneNote has emerged relatively recently, and in the very first version it featured an intelligent and strong enough password protection. In version 2007, the protection was strengthened even further (now it has become very similar to what's used in Word 2007 and Excel 2007); thus, OneNote is one of the most reliable (in terms of the strength of its password protection) applications. Further information: OneNote Password

PowerPoint
Password protection in PowerPoint is reliable enough, and in version 2007 it has become even more reliable (uses the same scheme as in Word 2007 and Excel 2007). Just as in the case with Word and Excel, LastBit offers using cloud computing - renting computing power - for cracking the password. Further information: PowerPoint Password

MS Project
In the early versions (up until version 2007) password protection was implemented incompetently at all; the password was stored inside the document, and one could instantly extract it. In version 2007, the protection has been strengthened significantly. The password can be found only by searching all characters (brute force attack) or with dictionary attack; moreover, the search speed occurs to be quite low. However, the implementation error allows building special tables, which significantly speed up the search. Since the tables take considerable room (over one terabyte), Project Password offers a special service for recovering passwords: user submits the request, and within 24 hours he would get a reply. Using the tables does not guarantee the success; they just considerably speed the search of passwords. If the password isn't too long, it will be recovered within 24 hours. Further information: Project Password

 

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