Changing the Author name in an Office document

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The ‘paul manafort‘ example leads to questions … how can you change the Author name in an Office document? How does the FBI know that the ‘paul manafort’ name in the Word document really is him editing?

It’s easy enough to go to File | Info to see and change the document Author name.  We did that in a few seconds …

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Click the ‘Add an author’ to type in a new name.  Right-click on an existing author to remove the name.

Keep in mind that just removing a name from the Author field may not delete other mentions of the person in the document.  For example, in the edit/revision details of a document.

File Details

Go to Windows Explorer, right-click, Properties | Details to see the file details.  These details are saved separately from the document info but are usually the same because Office keeps them in sync.

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Remove Author in document and file details

The Document Inspector in Office will remove the Author information saved in the document and the file.

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Was it really Paul Manafort?

How do we know that the ‘paul manafort’ label in the Word document was really him?  Based on the Word document alone, it could be anyone who has tinkered with the .docx file.

The FBI has other information, detailed in the court submission, which connects the document to the right man.  There’s an email trail to corroborate the evidence.

What’s not mentioned is the other forensic details available that could link the Word document to a particular computer, person or location.

Modern privacy issues aren’t just about a single piece of information.  Experts can figure out a lot about you by combining details from a range of sources, public and private.


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