Hidden Data & Metadata Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Metadata And Hidden Data?

The word metadata means "data about other data". Metadata is commonly embedded in electronic files and contain various types of information such as the creator name and the organization he belongs to, the creation and modification times, and the device or software used in the creation and processing of the file. This metadata is usually generated automatically by the software or device used to create the file, often without the user is even aware of it.

Hidden data in a file refers to every type of data that is not visible at all when using a standard viewer, or under certain settings, even though it does reside in the file and can be viewed by changing the viewer setting or by using special software to reveal the hidden data. Common hidden data types include comments, document revision history, and presentation notes. Many applications also embed various application specific hidden data.

Strictly speaking, in most applications metadata is one type of hidden data, however, often the two terms are used interchangeably.

Where Does Metadata And Hidden Data Can Be Found?

Virtually every popular file format contains hidden data and metadata, including Microsoft Word, Excel®, and PowerPoint® documents, OpenOffice™ Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw documents, and PDF documents. Metadata can also be found in various image and media file types such as JPEG, PNG, SVG, AVI, WAV, MP3, and MP4.

What Risks Does Metadata And Hidden Data Pose?

While hidden data and metadata are useful for finding files and reviewing documents, they pose privacy and confidentiality risks when the files are shared. The hidden data often contains private and sensitive information, that if unintentionally exposed can cause the document creator and his organization embarrassment with possible financial and legal implications.

What Remedies Does Digital Confidence Provides?

Digital Confidence provides four hidden data & metadata removal products:

  • ConfidentSend™ - Add-on for Microsoft Outlook® and Mozilla Thunderbird™ email clients that can remove hidden data & metadata from outgoing email attachments
  • BatchPurifier™ - Batch hidden data & metadata removal tool that is able to clean multiple files at once
  • MailValve EX™ - Hidden data & metadata removal add-in for Microsoft Exchange
  • MailValve GX™ - Server-based hidden data & metadata removal solution

Digital Confidence's products are the most comprehensive hidden data removal solutions on the market today, capable of removing more than 60 types of hidden data from 25 file formats, including Microsoft Office® documents (Word, Excel®, and PowerPoint®), OpenOffice™ documents, PDF documents, and popular image and media file types such as JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG, SVG, AVI, WAV, AIFF, MP3, and MP4.

Who Needs Hidden Data And Metadata Removal Software?

In today's digital age, when the Internet is increasingly taking central stage in our personal lives and business, every person and organization should put in place safeguards to protect private and confidential information and prevent sensitive data from leaking out. For that sake, hidden data removal software has become a necessity, just like firewalls and anti-spyware software have.

Hidden data removal software is a must-have for every business, legal professional, defense and military organization, webmaster, and privacy conscious person who share files with others. The importance of using hidden data / metadata removal software has been emphasized in recent years with several high-profile incidents, where sensitive data was leaked through the hidden data stored within files that were sent to other parties by email or were posted on the web.