Does Password Protecting A PDF File Really Make It Secure?

Most people are used to seeing normal web pages when they surf the web. These pages are usually pages that are coded in HTML which controls the presentation on how the page actually looks but sometimes the HTML equivalent of a page is not going to be enough to make the page look like the person wants it to. Sometimes that person wants a page that is going to have a magazine look to it so, to get this type of look, they use a PDF format to present it on the web. PDF files are heavier and slower than normal web pages but they also allow you to present your information in a more elegant and detailed look.


Confidential PDFs

You can also download a PDF file to your computer so that you can read it later but, for some people, they may want to keep confidential information inside of a PDF file. No matter the reason, they want to be able to only allow access to this information to people who have a password code. PDF files will give you the option to do this but does it really help?

The protection that surrounds your PDF is not really that great. If you use the default protection that the PDF creator supplies then people will be able to open your PDF with the right program. Also, your message may not be delivered with a protected PDF file since most people tend to be distrustful of PDF files presented in that format.

There are a lot of PDF exploits that are in the wild, so whenever people come across a PDF file that does not look or work as normal then they will erase it. But that is a worst case scenario.

Problems With PDF Password Encryption

The main problem with password encrypting your PDF file is that it doesn’t work at all well. So if you want to protect your file then you might want to place it under several layers of protection. You can use a third party encryption service and use their software to encrypt the file or you can avoid making the link publicly available and just send it to the person directly by email. A watermark on the file will help you know whose copy it was if the file is ever released to the public.

There are several options that you can use to make your PDF more secured; the default way is just not enough.

If you are a person that must protect the PDF file that they are sending out, then you should think of an out of the box way of protecting them, rather than just using the software that the PDF creation tool offers. The default protection on a PDF is easily bypassable and will not secure your file.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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