HomeCYBER SECURITYWord Trust Center: What It's For And How It Preserves Security And...

Word Trust Center: What It’s For And How It Preserves Security And Privacy

Improving security in Word and the confidentiality of your data goes through the Trust Center: what it is and how it works. One of the least-known features of Microsoft Word is undoubtedly the so-called Trust Center. It is a tool that allows you to protect user safety by disabling by default all the additional elements present in Word documents downloaded from the Web, received as attachments to emails or via the various messaging platforms.

Try opening a Word document received over the Internet: Protected View will appear at the top of the window. Protected View mode allows you to open documents from potentially untrustworthy sources in “read-only” mode by disabling any macros and scripts in the File. As already seen in the article Dangerous attachments and malware in Office documents: how the infection begins, macros and scripts remain one of the primary sources of aggression at all levels today.

By clicking on Enable modification, the File will no longer be in “read-only” mode, and if there are any macros or scripts, Word will ask for authorization to start them. We advise against proceeding in this direction unless the document is undoubtedly safe and after analyzing the code underlying the functioning of each macro (click on the View menu, on Macros, View macros and then on the Modify button ).

It is also good to ensure you have installed all the security patches for Office released monthly by Microsoft. In some situations, the absence of a specific update can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the victim’s machine simply by tricking him into opening the malicious document.

Trust Center And Trusted Documents

Every time a file is downloaded from the Internet, the operating system assigns it an attribute ( Zone. Identifier ). You can see this because the Unblock box appears by right-clicking on the file name and choosing Properties at the bottom. Checking Unblock Protected View mode is not even activated (not recommended).

By clicking on Enable modification, Word and the other programs of the Office package add a unique identifier in the system registry, which allows the same document to be opened later without the Protected View message appearing again.

By clicking on Options in the main Word menu, then on Trust Center, on the Trust Center Settings… button and finally on Trusted Documents, you can use the Delete button to remove from the Windows registry all documents from potentially unreliable sources indicated as editable ( Enable editing ). By selecting the Protected view item in the left column of the Protection Center, you can control which types of content Word and Office activate in the “read-only” mode.

Macro Management In Word And File Locking

Still in the Protection Center, by clicking on Macro settings, it is a good idea to check that the selected option is Disable all macros with notification. In this way, as mentioned at the beginning, Word will automatically block all the macros in the document, informing the user of their presence.

With a click on File blocking settings, you can also block the opening of some file formats supported by Word or open them in Protected View mode, regardless of where they come from.

Privacy In Word And Removing Personal Information From Documents

From the Protection Center, by clicking on Privacy Options and then on the Privacy Settings button, you can avoid sharing some telemetry and product improvement information with Microsoft servers (uncheck the corresponding boxes). It should also be noted that by default, Word stores some personal information in every document you create by saving it in the form of metadata.

Try right-clicking any Word document from a File Explorer window and choosing Properties . By accessing the Details tab, you will find information about authors’ names, companies, revision numbers, total time spent editing the document, and so on. 

World’s information in the document you are working on is summarized by clicking on the menu File, Information, Show all properties . If you want to remove them, follow the instructions in the article Clean Word documents and delete confidential data. Refer to the file properties window seen previously and click on Remove properties and personal information: Delete additional file properties in Windows.

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