Sunday, August 26, 2012


The Portable Document Format is a file specification with features that make it flexible, convenient and easy to use. But how can you make this a secure document format, and how can you secure PDF files?

There are various ways by which you can protect the contents of your document. The most common ways are passwords, digital signatures, and PKI. These methods can be used to prevent copying, extracting, printing, editing, changing form fields or security settings, opening and even adding comments. These document security measures are implemented by both the publisher of the product and the reader.

Password encryption is the method most widely used to secure PDF files and the most common key lengths are 40 bit and 128 bit encryption. The 128 bit is more secure than the 40 bit encryption because it is tougher to crack by a brute force password cracker. However, there are much more advanced safeguards that security providers use. Password security is categorized into two types: user and owner passwords. A user password requires entering an authenticated password for access to documents while the owner password disables or unlocks any feature of the document. Certificates are also used and access is only possible if a reader’s certificate is approved by a licensing system. Digital signatures are sometimes used to prove the authenticity of the document.

All these options help prevent the unauthorized distribution of your documents and files. A backup copy of the unencrypted PDF file should always be kept for purposes of restoration in case you forget the password. With PDF piracy becoming increasingly more rampant, choosing the best solution to secure PDF files ensures that you no longer have to worry about who accesses your files and what they can do with them. This portable document format comes with multiple benefits that help keep security controls in place thus making sure that only authorized people can view or do anything with the information therein.

Always choose appropriate security software that is easy to use and implement to secure PDF files. You should ideally select software that strives to ensure that your intellectual property is not misused by providing a technologically advanced solution that is user-friendly and efficient. They control expiry of your files and even prevents screenshots from being taken. Modern PDF security software uses public key encryption and DRM controls thus eliminating the use of passwords; you no longer have to remember or share passwords.

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