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How do I use passwords to protect my PDF files?

Password protecting PDF files

Password protecting PDFs

Protecting PDF files with passwords is commonly used by millions of PDF users. Protecting PDF files with the use of passwords can ensure that even if the file is misplaced or lost, the content in the PDF document will not be accessible to any other individual unless the password has been shared with them. Using passwords to protect your PDF files can therefore be a safe way of ensuring that data within the file is secured.

If you send out or upload to a web site a non-protected and unsecure PDF document, you are exposing your document to be exploited, as the content in the PDF file can be easily cut and pasted by unscrupulous individuals to be used for themselves. To prevent this from happening, you can send out a PDF file by password protecting it, thus ensuring that your PDF document is protected without being exposed.

If you are using passwords to protect your PDF files, you are not getting adequate security as it can be easily hacked into with the help of the numerous PDF hacking tools and password crackers that are abundantly available on the Internet.

PDF files that are password protected are easy to hack into if weak passwords have been used. Without a strong password, you might as well not bother password protecting the PDF file to begin with. A strong password is one that is of a decent length (say 16 characters of more – the more the better), and is made up of mixed case and non-alphanumeric characters. However these tyeps of password can be cumbersome to manage, so it is important to note that the password used to protect the PDF file is maintained safely for future use, in the event that it is forgotten at any given point in time.

Most companies opt for the cheapest solution to protect their PDF files (PDF password protection). However it must be noted that these solutions do not offer a very high level of security and hence if you are seeking effective and robust protection you will need to use additional solutions to protect PDF files. As a decision maker in a critical situation concerning sensitive data, opting for any basic version of PDF protection software is not particularly a good idea as it is unlikely to have the level of security, features and type of security required for complete document protection.

There are a number of businesses specialising in PDF security that offer alternatives to your business when creating and distributing PDF files with passwords.

Adobe Acrobat PDF Protection

Adobe Acrobat offers various security solutions to protect PDF files in the form of using passwords, redacting classified data from text, and automating security tasks when the file is opened. More secure and expensive solutions use Rights Management controls rather than passwords but users must be known to the system as it works in the traditional PKI manner with user’s public keys being used to encrypt documents.

Foxit PDF Protection

Foxit is another alternative to Adobe that offers standard security features to protect PDF files and additional protection using Microsoft active directory rights management. PDF files can be managed and secured with the help of passwords, they can be sent, digitally signed and saved through a proprietary feature known as DocuSign, and encrypted and decrypted with the help of Microsoft active directory rights management. However, just as with Adobe the rights management system is aimed at internal company use where users are a known entity. If you are trying to sell a PDF document for example it would be unreasonable to ask the user for their public key first before they could receive it!

LockLizard PDF protection

LockLizard PDF Security protects PDF files with robust and effective DRM encryption without the use of passwords. LockLizard PDF protection software ensures that protected PDF files cannot be shared with unauthorized users or used in an unauthorised manner.  With LockLizard PDF protection software, there is no need to enter or manage passwords. A web based licensing system is used so there is no need to ask users for their public keys in order to send them protected documents. In addition, the document owner can expire and revoke documents at any stage, enable offline use, apply dynamic watermarks, and prevent screen grabbing of content.

Posted on 12th June 2015 in articles

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