[PLUG-TALK] Gag-choke-Windoze-virus-check-barf

Paul Heinlein heinlein at madboa.com
Sat Mar 16 07:42:47 PDT 2019


On Fri, 15 Mar 2019, Keith Lofstrom wrote:

> I have no idea whether a quickbooks data file can carry a virus 
> payload.  If there is a zero-day exploit, only computer criminals 
> know for sure.  So, before we give the data to our accountant, I 
> hope to find a windoze security expert who can carefully vet the 
> data.  Extra bonus points if they can convert it to openoffice or 
> excel spreadsheet format (without macros).

Back in the 90s (warning: old fart alert!), the developers of 
WordPerfect published and documented the binary format that software 
used for word-processing documents. I know that because I wrote a Perl 
script that would parse a WP documents and rewrite them into the 
crazy pseudo-SGML QuarkXPress could import.

I don't know if WordPerfect lost profits due to that decision, but I 
do know it made it possible to, at some level, understand what was 
hidden within WP's binary files.

Plus, I've never had a word processor that was as good at actually, 
you know, getting words into a computer as WordPerfect 4.2 for DOS. 
Once the GUIs entered the game, word processing became (imo) more 
about formatting and less about content.

-- 
Paul Heinlein
heinlein at madboa.com
45°38' N, 122°6' W


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