The tool is intended to make collaboration easier, Microsoft told ZDNet UK, explaining that users should invest in digital signatures or an Adobe
Acrobat-type application if they want security.
A set of relatively simple instructions on how to bypass the security of a password-protected Word document was published on the Internet on Friday.
Thorsten Delbrouck, chief information officer of German security company Guardeonic Solutions, informed Microsoft about the vulnerability in November
2003. A week later, Microsoft updated its Knowledge Base to warn users that the feature should not be used for security purposes.