How to Secure a PDF File

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

As a type of media capable of conveying information, a PDF document requires the application of security in order to protect the privacy of its contents. The Adobe application has already introduced a number of ways for ensuring the security of the files. These include the usage of digital signatures for the purpose of indicating the approval of PDF forms or documents, the certification of documents in order to prohibit subsequent modifications, the adding of passwords and the setting of security options so that opening, printing, and editing of PDF documents are restricted. The encryption of PDF files are among the simplest ways employed in protecting the contents of a document from being accessed without authorization. Encrypting PDF files limits access to the documents by setting up passwords and by limiting certain features like editing and printing.

Materials Needed:
- Computer
- Encrypt PDF Version 2.3
- PDF file
Step 1
Securing a PDF file requires the usage of the Encrypt PDF software version 2.3 in order to make the encryption functionality possible. The Encrypt PDF software is a very useful application. It allows users to encrypt their existing PDF files by employing the standard 128-bit or 40-bit supported by the Acrobat Reader 7.0 application and its higher versions. Encrypt PDF also allows the users to set permissions and add owner and user passwords. For instance, a PDF file could be encrypted with the restriction to print it. The button for printing the file is disabled in the Acrobat Reader application. PDF files could also be encrypted allowing users to set it as a read-only file.
Step 2
The usage of the Encrypt PDF application involves clicking on the icon of the said application or clicking on 'Start' followed by program and then the application itself in order to open the program.
Step 3
Upon opening the application, the encryption option may now be set by the user by clicking on 'Setting'. The user then sets the user and the master passwords based on his or her requirements. The user password is only capable of opening the document while the master password can modify permission settings and alter passwords.
Step 4
The user could select an encryption level of 128-bit or 40-bit based on the version of the Acrobat application. 128 and 40 are the encryption key length in bits. The restrictions on the usage of the file are then set by the user. Such restrictions could include printing, editing, copying, and adding form fields.
Step 5
The results of the encryption may either be displayed as SUCCEED or ERROR. When the encryption of the PDF file has been successful, the application displays the message 'File Encrypted' to the user. Otherwise, when the file has already been encrypted, it shows the message 'This file has been encrypted before.' A source document is capable of recording the file name and file path of the source while a target document records the path and name of the target file. Upon securing the file, users would have to click on 'Close' to exit the application.