PDF Passwords are Obsolete. What Now?

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June 27, 2019
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There was a time when PDF password protection was the quickest and easiest way to protect your PDF file. When people wanted to protect their files, they would encrypt their PDF files using a strong password and that would be that. After all, password protection was provided by almost every PDF creation application, it was quick, cheap and secure.

Nowadays, with continuous advancements in not just technology but also in methods to hack that technology, PDF passwords have become completely obsolete and provide no security to your documents whatsoever. Here are some issues with PDF password protection that you should look into:

Passwords are easily shared

There’s no denying the use of a good password. It is very convenient to share a password protected file to someone, especially if you trust that person and are certain that that person will not share it forward, along with the password. Or maybe, once the file has gone out of your hands, you forget about it and don’t worry about it anymore. This is one of the major issues with password protection; it can be shared easily and there is nothing you can do against it.

Passwords are easily removed

Once you’ve password protected your file, you might feel confident in sharing it with others, thinking that it’s all in control. But the fact is that if a user has the password to the file, then they can recover and remove the control password using any of the various tools available in the market. Basically, in mere seconds, all your applied restrictions are gone.

Also important is the fact that Adobe PDF restrictions have an ‘honor’ system and other PDF applications may or may not obey them, so even if you had passwords in place, they may get ignored.

Password Management

An essential thing to consider when using your passwords is how you are managing all your passwords. Are you using the same password for all your files or using a unique password for each and every file? If you’re using a unique password, how long and complex are those passwords? How often are you changing them?

If you are using the same password for all the files, then that is a big security hazard. Anyone who has received one file from you can access all your files.

If you are using unique passwords then you will need to keep a list of all your passwords somewhere. Wherever you store your list, needs to be a secure location so that it can’t be accessible by others. Then you need to think about how to manage those passwords as you will be sending multiple files to multiple people. This will also mean that the people receiving your files will need to have a password list, stored in a safe location as well.

The Secure Alternate

All these issues highlight the urgent need of a safe and secure alternate. There are various document security systems available in the market that you can choose from based on your requirements and the requirements of your internal staff as well as external sources. No matter what you choose, make sure that you have additional means of securing your documents other than mere passwords.

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