Saturday, November 03, 2007

How secure can you get with PDF files

You have an application that provides a service for your customers where your users are allowed to download a produced pdf document by your application.

To protect your business you need to secure and protect the output PDF documents as much as possible. But can you really protect a PDF document?

Let's step back for a second....

The application's requirement is to protect the produced document and restrict user's from modifying the document. At the same time the produced document needs to be in a standard format that an average user with internet access can download. Oh and did I mentioned that the output document can be many pages long.

We know our constraints:
  • Standard format
  • Average internet user( that means non-technical users)
  • Many pages long

This means we cannot produced a proprietary document that can only be view with a in house viewer. It cannot be an image since it's many pages long. That leaves us with PDF documents.

Yes we can secure a PDF document with Adobe PDF Digital Right Management (DRM).
But at the same time there are several application out there that can removed the protection of the PDF document.

How can you prepare and handle this situation? Well I still have not figure it out. If you can think of a better alternative please comment in this blog.

The reality is that once your document goes out from your control. In this once the user has downloaded the document they can do anything! They can print it, ORC, modified and re-used it. Of course that will mean that the user is violation legal rights.

As the article at this link mentions " The only way to keep PDF secure is to keep it your self"

1 comment:

  1. Hi all,

    The PDF document need applying security to protect its important or privacy contents. A PDF document can have two kinds of passwords one is document open password, and another is permissions password. When you set a document open password, anyone who tries to open the PDF document must type in the password you specify. Thanks....