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Trace 2 unearths risks in Office files

Update of scanning tool scans local files and the Web for Office documents to find hidden data or potentially sensitive information.

In its first release, the Trace scanning tool brought to light hidden data in Microsoft Office documents. With Trace 2, the update released on Monday, Workshare has expanded the free software to also flag data such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and financial information in documents--data that could signal potential privacy and regulatory compliance violations. "Users simply can't keep track of all the things that can get them into trouble," said Ken Rutsky, a spokesman for Workshare.

Trace 2 lets people scan not only local files for documents that may contain sensitive information, but also e-mail, folders and Web sites. This could be helpful to people scanning their own intranet. However, it could also prove useful to those prowling the Web to dig up personal information. For each document found, Trace displays a risk report. The tool only indicates potential risks, it does not fix documents. Workshare has a $29.95 product called Protect that does that.