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Find out the author of a file

Posted on 2008-10-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
We recently got a threatening email with a Word attachment.  The only way I know how to find out the author of a document is to go into File > Properties and check the author name.  However, there was no data of any kind in the file's properties.  Is there any way to figure out who wrote this?  Is there a program that can do this for not only Word documents but other Office documents as well as non-Microsoft documents.  I've consulted my superiors and we don't want to go to any outside party to resolve this but want to know who did this.

Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:sedberg1
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GUEEN earned 250 total points
ID: 22784393
You probably won't find out who owns the document since they perhaps changed all the information in the properties section of the document.  

What you should do is:
copy the email headers that you received along with the threatening email to the ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Instructions here

If you have problems tracing the email to the offending ISP use a free online resource such as www.haltabuse.org
they will trace and contact the ISP for you.
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Expert Comment

by:jools
ID: 22833796
If the content is threatening you should speak to your local law enforcement as well.
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by:sedberg1
ID: 22833918
Is there any type of software that can find out the author of the document even if the properties of the document have been modified?
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by:eetheredge
eetheredge earned 250 total points
ID: 22886293
To answer your question, no, there is not any software that is geared to determine the author of a Word document unless they enter it manually or even if it is entered automatically by some type of macro or other coding.  The issue is that I could create a Word document, enter the document information and save the file.  Then another person could open said file and change the document and document information and save it.  Then that person could use another email account, completely different from the entity and then send it.  

IF this was an isolated incident, then I would suggest you move on.  If you are afraid it will happen again or will become a larger issue, then get some type of email malware defense mechanism and have it trap as much information as possible.  Even then, if the true sender is any good, you still will probably run into a dead end because IP addresses can be spoofed.  

However, any threatening email, fax, etc., should always be kept in archive.  
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