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Word Cannot Find Encryption Type

Posted on 2004-04-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I have a Word file which I created with Word XP. I've encrypted it, but not with the default encryption type, I picked something else.
Now, when I'm trying to open the file with either Word XP or  Word 2003, after submitting the password, I'm getting an error message:
"Word cannot open this file. The encryption type used is not available, contact the author of the file (DUH).
More encryption types are available using the High Encryption Pack"

I've tried installing everything and still no luck.
I thought maybe the file became corrupted some how, but I don't think this is the case.

please help.
Question by:badsector
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Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 10795357
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;Q813980  there are two links at the bottom of the article that may help. Of course the answer is as you suspected I'm sure, that your using 2 different Office itterations (office 97,office 2000, office XP or office 2003) which all have different lenght's and alogrythims that can be used (mostly the same, but they do have variations) I'm surprized that office 2003 doesn't have the backward compatibility most of their other apps have.
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(just like windows update, but for Office :) http://office.microsoft.com/search/redir.aspx?AssetID=ES790020331033&Origin=HH011189971033&CTT=5

I assume this is the "password to open" and not the password to modify. The modify can be removed easily, however the password to open is much much harder to get past, but can be brute-forced/cracked with ElComSoft's products. I realize you know the password, and could probabaly open it on XP, but if not it's worth a shot http://www.elcomsoft.com/aoxppr.html
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Author Comment

ID: 10796590
I've already tried the workaround suggested in the first link.
My Office is fully updated.
I've tried opening my document both on XP and 2003 (and I'm pretty much sure I've created it on XP). I remember that my old version of XP had many more encryption algorithms then the version I'm using right now to try to open the document, but I've found no method for adding more algorithms.

Regarding the application you've suggested. Is it possible to know in advance if the program at least knows which encryption is used (as Word doesn't know). If it doesn't recognize the algorithm, it is no use...
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 10796808
Very true. They claim AOXPPR can revocery any password made on office XP, I've yet to be able to not crack one... eventually. It can take quite a bit of time to do. So yes, they claim that they can determine the cypher used, and then BF it. I have used this and many of the other elcomsoft programs, with great results. Again it does take time. You may be surprised by the password it gives you, as there a quite a few possible ones for the hash's M$ uses. Get the trial version, and see if it claims to find the correct hash for it, then buy the version that can unlock it.
From their FAQ
What about CSP encryption available in Office XP -- is it stronger than Office 97/2000 one?
The main difference is: it is not possible to recover encryption key with Advanced Office Password Breaker (AOPB), as described above -- because it is longer than 40 bits. But brute-force and dictionary attacks still work, and they're even faster than for old (Office 97/2000) encryption!

But the trial version won't BF more than 4 char's I assume your password is going to be longer than that. The wierd thing is you can't unlock it with Office XP? It should be able to try all the algorythims and or detect what is being used and decrypt it? Do you still have access to the original PC that encrypted the doc? If it hasn't been to lonng, pehaps you could recover the Plain-Text version of the Normal.dot file with a low-level file finder (undelete utility) dskprob.exe was a free one that M$ had, still works on xp/2000 ntfs file systems. pehpaps even a timed saved version of the document... look for the last 3 letters of the document Example.doc  look for "ple.doc" with a undelete util. Hell, look for any .doc :) You'll be surprised what you may find... the doc isn't encrypted when it's opened, only when saved and or closed.
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Author Comment

ID: 10797230
1. I used the program and yes, it has found the password, and confirmed what I already knew, that I haven't forgot it. I just used a dictionary attack and created a dictionary with the 20 or so passwords I used for these documents, and one of them was correct.
Unfortunately, it doesn't help me with my problem, because when I try to open the file in Word, Word doesn't accept the password (Word doesn't really care as it says I don't have the right encryption).

These are the parameters recovered by AOXPPR:
Selected file is a Microsoft Word Document or Template
Microsoft Word Version: 97, 2000 or 2002 (XP)
This file is encrypted by a Cryptographic Service Provider (CSP).
CSP Name is: Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider (Prototype)
CSP Parameters [AlgID, HashID, KeyLen]: 00006801, 00008004, 128

From what I saw, This cryptosystem is installed on my computer so there should be no problem (I checked it by saving a new file and viewing all the possible algorithms).

If there was some way to force word to decrypt the file it would be good. Give some program all the right parameters and tell it to forcefuly open the file even if it thinks it has different version of algorithm.

2. I didn't understand how the .dot file might be helpful. I'm still working on the computer where everything has happened, but it was an old installation of WindowsXP and OfficeXP. Now it's Windows2003 and Office2003. As I said before, I tried to open in WordXP on another system.

thanks a lot for your help.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 10800797
The I was wrong about the normal.dot, I tried this on my system and it did not turn up the right info. If you have formatted the HD, then it's going to be pretty hard to find the old file. What I was saying is that as you type a doc, word keeps 2 versions, one is named ~ample.doc if you doc was called example.doc and the other is the example.doc. The tilda file (~) is a temporary file http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;211632 and is a plain-text (unencrypted) as is example.doc until saved and the encryption is selected. The temp file never get's encrypted... it's always plain text.

If you upgraded you PC there may be a chance to obtain the files... but it's very remote. But if you did a total reinstall... I don't think I can help... it also sounds like your file is corrupt... in some way. Office can identify the algo used (just as aoxppr did) and use the supplied password to try to open it... I wonder if you tried something like "OpenOffice" if it could open it correctly or not? Other than that... I think I'm out of ideas, as what has been done should of worked.

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