PDF Security: Protecting Your Data from Unauthorized Users
If you want to protect your PDfs, then you should know that securing a PDF is very easy, especially if you have the right tools or software. Even when you create a new PDF, you can start protecting it by adding features like a watermark or password-protecting it, so no unauthorized users can view or access it. There are also ways you can protect your PDF before you send it so no one can illegally view, copy or share it with anyone else. You can attach a password for anyone to open it, share it, or edit it, so you have several layers of protection that you can add if you want.
PDF Security Risks
PDFs are always at risk since they often contain sensitive, private, and confidential information. That’s why adding a PDF password was always the first line of defense against information being unlawfully viewed or copied. It was the safest and simplest way to protect any files, especially when you needed to send them to different people.
But people lose passwords, and then it became necessary to use PDF password unlockers, which would unlock a locked file without having to enter the password, although some platforms do require you to enter the password, like Lumin PDF. Then, developers tried to find other ways to secure a PDF without having to always resort to passwords.
Another way that PDFs are vulnerable is through their design features such as using hyperlinks to other sites and having their code rewritten by hackers to perform some other feature. This way, even with a password, PDFs are still vulnerable and can have malicious code introduced into their identifying information.
Non-PDF Password Security Features
A password protect PDF is one way to secure your PDFs, but there are other features you can use to help secure PDFs. Depending on what program or software you usually use to work with, view, edit, and create PDFs, you can start protecting the file right from when it is created. You can choose options from a list of permissions, such as allowing someone to edit the file, allowing someone to view it, or allowing someone to even view the file, which you can do immediately and not require a password.
These types of security features are often found on third-party PDF applications and programs, such as Adobe and Lumin, that can secure PDFs from the beginning. Afterward, only you can change these settings, and you can relax them to allow other users to access or view the information, or you can keep the settings as is.
Establishing the permissions before you start to send the PDF out is one way you can secure PDF without having to add a password to PDF. This way you are sure of who you want to send it to and know that no matter if it has a password or not, no one will be able to replicate, view or manipulate the information you are giving them.
You can always change the permissions depending on who you send it to and how often, but until then, you can rest assured that the files are secure. You do not have to worry about sending out a password, or whether someone is illegally viewing and copying your sensitive data. You can also determine how someone with the PDF uses it, ensuring that they can only access the information in the way that you choose.
Verifying a PDF
Another important way to encrypt PDF is to attach a digital signature or certificate to its file to ensure it is authentic. Even with all the advanced safety features attached to PDFs nowadays, it is still possible for someone to illegally copy the file or duplicate it in some way to pass it off as the original.
Even if the file is password protected, someone could still replicate all the identifying information by hacking the file and copying the information. But even if they manage to do that, they would be thwarted by the digital signature and certificate that you attached to verify the document’s authenticity.
A digital signature is different from an e-signature that is simply a visual copy of a real, written signature. A digital signature contains specific markers such as a unique code and algorithm that cannot be replicated and will notify anyone that the file they are viewing is false or fake. Not all PDF programs will let you add this feature, such as they would let you merge PDFs, split, or combine them, but some will let you add a digital signature as one last line of defense.