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Adding password protection to PDF files

How to password protect a PDF file?

Password protect PDF files

Passwords are as important as keys to your personal data online. It is important to take all forms of security measures in order to prevent unauthorised users from accessing your password and eventually the contents of your PDF file. Any PDF file can be encrypted and opened with a password. In order to encrypt a PDF file, two kinds of passwords are usually employed: a user password that is used to open the PDF file and a master password to change or alter the security settings, as well as change the user password.

In order to add more protection to secure your PDF files while adding a password, it is important to ensure that the password is extended and substantial, with at least eight characters and a blend of lowercase as well as uppercase letters, including symbols and numbers. While adding password protection to PDF files it is important to remember that the password is not shared with others. Every password should be unique to the individual and not any word that can be easily guessed.

Different PDF files containing important information and confidential data must have different passwords for every file. If the password is difficult to memorise or remember, it can be written and stashed away in a safe place outside the computer. IT experts recommend that PDF passwords should be changed several times during the course of usage and transmission. For example, if a PDF file has to be sent to numerous users, a unique password must be employed to every user, as a single password sent to all users can be easily compromised. However, this means protecting the PDF file for every user which is cumbersome and time consuming. Not to mention having to keep a record of all the passwords in use for each user.

It is strongly recommended that passwords contain special characters, punctuation and digits in order to enhance the strength of the password. Acrobat 5 uses 128-bit keys or self-signing security that is an added feature over its previous counterparts. Later versions of Acrobat use 256 keys which are much more secure. An important tip while securing an important PDF file is to disable fonts sub setting which can add additional security to the content in the PDF document.

It is possible to add further security to PDF files when they are first created or even after they have been created. Security can be added to PDF files even after you have received them from somebody else, unless the originator of the PDF file has laid restrictions on who can modify security settings (but this can be easily removed by freely available password removal programs).

In order to add PDF password protection to restrict who can view your PDF file as well as who can modify the security settings, you need to add two kinds of passwords to protect the PDF document. For users who can only open the document, a “document open” password can be set. To prevent users from altering or modifying the permissions of the PDF file, a “permissions” password can be set.

PDF files can be secured by adding passwords and by setting security options to limit the opening, modifying and printing of PDF files. While saving the PDF document, it can also be saved as a certified document. Doing so will add an invisible certifying signature that increases the assurance level that the document’s integrity and authenticity are preserved since any changes to the file invalidates the signature.

Unfortunately, PDF password protection is easy to remove and cumbersome to manage. An Internet search for ‘pdf password protection’ or ‘password protect pdf file’ lists more PDF password removal programs than PDF password protection software. Many are freely available and can remove weak owner passwords within minutes, and the restrictions password in seconds.

If you want greater security than passwords for you PDF documents then try Locklizard. PDF documents protected with Locklizard PDF security cannot be shared with unauthorized users, or modifed, printed etc. by authorized ones. You can set expiration dates and instantaneously revoke access to your PDF documents at any time – all without using weak and cumbersome passwords.

Posted on 28th February 2015 in articles

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