PDF file format is one standard document format introduced by Adobe Systems that facilitates its user to preserve source file information in text, drawings, full-colour graphics, photos, and even business logic. A secure PDF file is only viewable and printable on almost all platforms. Today, no doubt the PDF file type is enormously popular and used across the world because of its ability to store a vast amount of information within the file.
However, the security of documents has always been a fragile subject that always demanded a balancing act between ease-of-use and adequate protection for the document’s contents. When we talk about the PDF security, we generally refer to the encryption that enforces controls over the usage of your documents.
Whenever an Adobe Acrobat PDF file consists of sensitive information, it is important to use the secure PDF file feature that automates the securing of the file along with encryption. In general, the PDF file security is a combination of different features encryption, digital rights management controls, etc. Underpinning any controls is the strength of the PDF encryption.
Encryption is the procedure of encoding info so that only the person with a key can decode it. In other words, it is the utilization of a mathematical system (algorithm) to make information undisclosed from anyone who is not at all authorized to use it. When we refer to PDF encryption, then it is considered as the encryption of PDF files and this may be carried out in a number of different ways. At the simplest level one can encrypt an entire PDF file and at another level, one can encrypt various parts of the PDF information.
How Secure PDF File and PDF File Encryption Works
PDF password protection has been the traditional method of imposing PDF digital rights management controls. When you set up password security for a PDF document, you are generally asked to select an encryption level for the PDF file. You require choosing an encryption level and every different choice symbolizes the extensiveness of encryption.
Higher bit numbers correspond to the security, which is less likely to be broken and will work with later versions of Acrobat. Usually, RC4 and AES are different types of algorithms used during the encryption process. RC4 is a symmetric stream code: the algorithm that is utilized for both encryption and decryption, and good aspect about it is that the algorithm does not alter the length of the data.
– Low encryption utilizes 40-bit RC4 encryption and is compatible with Adobe Acrobat 3.0 and later.
– Medium encryption utilizes 128-bit RC4 encryption and at the same time highly compatible with Adobe Acrobat 5.0 and later.
– High encryption utilizes 256-bit AES encryption and requires Adobe Acrobat 9.0 and later to open.
For the safety of the information, there is also the availability of secure PDF file option in PDF. Two types of security options provided by PDF are:
User Password – This type of password restricts any individual from opening and accessing the file unless the password is not provided.
Owner Password/Permission Password – This is another kind of protection encrypted in the PDF file. If a PDF file has owner password on it then another individual may be able to open, view and read the file, but may just not be able to copy, print, extract text, or even edit and modify the document.
Encrypting and Removing Security from PDF document
Today with PDF piracy turning out to be more extensive, choosing the best solution to secure PDF files guarantees a better security. Following are steps that one can opt to encrypt PDF document by using Acrobat X Pro.
– Open or Create the PDF document
– Click on “Tools”, then choose Protection -> Encrypt -> Encrypt with Password
– As the dialogue box appears asking for “Applying New Security Settings”, click “Yes”.
– Select “Acrobat X and later” (Recommended Option), in case the recipient is using Acrobat X or Acrobat Reader X or later. Otherwise, select “Acrobat 7.0 and later” for better backwards compatibility.
Note: Although, you got to take care of two vital points like
– Ensure that “Encrypt all document contents” is selected
– Ensure that “Require a password to open the document” is checked
– Type in a password in the “Document Open Password” field. Then click “OK”.
– Re-enter the password you have selected and then click “OK”.
Just in case the dialogue prompts stating that the security settings cannot be applied to the document until you save the document. Click “OK“. After that save the PDF document by clicking on “File” -> “Save“, and verify that “(SECURED)” appears in the title bar.
However, with so much big to offer in terms of security, one major disadvantage of the secure PDF file is the inability for editing in case you don’t know the password. Such scenarios always create problems while working within a PDF file. If a document is not prepared correctly it may give rise to various other problems for regulatory professionals who need full access. In such condition, it becomes essential to remove security from PDFs.
You can remove security from an open PDF if you have the authorization to do so.
– In the open PDF, do one of the following:
– Select Tools > Protection > Encrypt > Remove. If you can’t see the Protection panel, look out for the instructions for adding panels at Task panes
– In the Security tab of the Document Properties dialogue box, select “No Security” from the Security Method menu
– Nevertheless, your options may vary based upon the type of password security attached to the document. If the document had:
– Document Open password, click OK to remove it from the document
– Permissions passwords, then type it in the Enter Password box and click OK. Click OK once more to confirm the action
But, this entire procedure to remove the security of the Secure PDF File turns tricky when you have many documents that require processing. With Acrobat Pro, you can remove security from documents in batch, but performing any task that requires you to remove PDF security from numerous documents in a batch can be time-consuming. You got to be patient. So, it is ideally recommended to take help from some commercial solution like PDF Restriction Remover application.
The Lepide Software Pvt. Ltd., a trusted name in the field of data recovery for years has always provided the best data recovery software and services to the technical and non-technical users. Its solution named Kernel for PDF Restriction Removal software is the most acclaimed recommendation for users and experts looking to remove local restrictions from a protected PDF file.