Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Lock PDF files So They Are Secure

The Tech Citadel
Your business content is precious to you, whether it is in the form of online courses, policy documents, client contracts or proposals, eBooks, project specifications or any other similar document forms.

lock pdf files, lock security

However, there is always the constant threat of your confidential information falling into the wrong hands. So, most of this data is stored in PDF format which is not the easiest document format for which to gain editing rights.

But, what makes the PDF format a reliable one for safeguarding your content? Well, PDF document security features include the ability to prevent any editing, copying or printing of the file. This is possible with a PDF lock that ensures the security of your documents from unauthorized access and enables the limiting of the rights for authorized access.

So, what exactly is a PDF lock and how does it help to secure PDF files? A PDF lock is an access control technique by which access is denied to PDF encoded content. The lock possesses a granular and layered architecture, rather than being a straight-forward on or off mechanism. There are various keys (for example, passwords and registration codes) which ensure that the lock is only opened by authorized people.

Adobe Acrobat provides passwords to lock PDF files and enables “view only” or “read only” capabilities. However, this password protection is not strong enough as it can easily be given away or removed by using password removal or attacker tools. And, once the password is known to unauthorized users or has been removed, such users can easily access your files and even modify or print copies of them.

So, passwords are not a secure way to lock PDF files and you need some additional security. This can be achieved through the implementation of public key technology that keeps the PDF files locked against unauthorized access.

In reality, when the PDF lock is applied to a particular file, its relevant key is sent to a server and stored in an encrypted form. When the authorized user of that file opens it, the key is sent to his or her computer in an encrypted format.

The key’s safety is ensured as it is encrypted in a keystore that is locked to the authorized user’s computer machine. In this way, even the authorized user will not be able to use the key to unlock the PDF information by using another computer (which is not registered for that key). And, if such a locked PDF document is distributed to unauthorized users by authorized ones, the unauthorized users won’t be able to do anything with the file without the decryption key.

Such a level of PDF locking gives you the ability to prevent any form of copying, printing, editing, screen grabbing, saving in unprotected formats, and so on. Also, the PDF lock mechanism allows you to use a dynamic watermarking feature that puts details (for example, the username, email ID, company name, and date or time stamp) in real time on the documents being viewed or printed.

You can also apply the PDF lock for particular IP addresses or domains, especially when you intend to have your documents accessed only from the workplace or if you wish to prevent users of a particular country from accessing your PDF files.

So, a PDF lock determines how the PDF is used after the application of the lock by giving you the features that need to be unlocked as well as the ability to determine for how long and under which situations the PDF can be unlocked. All in all, the lock gives you the capability to apply Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls to your PDF documents and, thereby, ensure thorough security of the same.

We hope that the above information on the method to lock PDF files helps you ensure your files’ security. Feel free to share your queries or feedback in the comments section below.

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