File Security Questions

  M226M 00:36 18 Aug 2014

Hi Everyone,

I have a couple of queries about files being moved and edited:

1) Say I copy a largish folder, e.g. 250+ mb, DIRECTLY From one memory stick to another. Does Windows keep any version/remnant of these files on the hard drive of that computer which could be copied & thereby stolen by a hacker or malicious software e.g. a rootkit? 2) If a Word file encrypted by Windows (no Bitlocker, just the standard encryption) is opened from a thumb drive using the computer which encrypted it and it was edited there on that thumb drive, then saved, closed and the thumb drive removed: Is there any version of that file left over on the computer's hard drive? If so, would it still be there days/weeks later, after several further times using Word to edit other files? Again, as above, where it may exist is it something that can be found and taken by hacking or malware e.g. a rootkit or similar?

Thanks - looking forward to hearing some knowledge on this.


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:32 18 Aug 2014

Edited files will certainly have a temp file associated with them left on the HDD until overwritten or deleted by a cleaning program.

This is why some of us use programs like CCleaner to rid the PC of junk files that build up over time.

  M226M 08:40 19 Aug 2014

Thankyou :) - using CCleaner now.

  M226M 08:40 19 Aug 2014

Thankyou :) - using CCleaner now.

  Batch 15:52 19 Aug 2014

I'm not so sure it is as simple as that. I'd say it depends on the software that one is using to access the file and what that software does with any temp / backup files.

A case in question is LibreOffice. If you set it up to create backup files (effectively the old version of an edited file), it stores that in a dedicated location that it has for backup files. When you close a file that is being edited or exit LibreOffice, any backups are not deleted.

I'm aware of this issue and have included specific files names and path that are of concern to me ( e.g. C:....\AppData\LibreOffice\backups\myprivateinfo.bak ) in Ccleaner's "Include" facility.

  M226M 17:57 19 Aug 2014

Thanks - I use MS Word 2010. Checked through CCleaner and Recuva for any evidence of backups or temporary files associated with the document in question and they didn't find anything, so I'm confident that there isn't anything left on the pc.

  M226M 19:14 19 Aug 2014

BTW - just checked the setting on MS Word in the options menu: It's not set up to make backup copies or to copy remotely stored files to a local folder. I've always had those standard settings. Cheers Batch, for the tip about that.

Between that and CCleaner (thanks Fruit Bat /\0/\ for the advice about that) and Recuva, I can't see any evidence of a problem now.

  Batch 07:57 20 Aug 2014

If you turn on the backup facility in Word, I'd certainly recommend checking again that nothing is left behind in the context of your original query.

I certainly know that with older versions of Word there was an issue. I've previously used Word 2000 and the issue was there, although it worked slightly differently from LibreOffice. With Word the backup files were left in the same location as the original file (rather than a specific common backups location as in LibreOffice). In the Word case, accessing a file in an encrypted folder may not be an issue (in that the backup may be encrypted as well), but if it was just the file that was encrypted seems to me that there might be an issue.

  M226M 14:22 20 Aug 2014

Hi Batch - The file in question was encrypted, and No backup features were turned on and creating files in that same folder. Cheers for your input.

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