How to Make PDF Secure: 6 Ways to Protect Them!

By Patty La Bella - December 14, 2018

A few years ago, Yahoo Finance reported that a whopping 90% of user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking. Despite advances in file protection and auto-generated password services, that statistic is still relevant. This is frightening, regardless if you are a business owner, developer, or just an average person with a few files on your computer. However, there is good news because with just a little knowledge and research, you can protect yourself and your business from becoming part of this staggering statistic. 

To help you out, here are a few ways to keep your digital documents safe and sound.

1. Are Your PDF Files Secure?

If you don't know the answer to this, you need to find out immediately. An unencrypted PDF invites anyone with access to your files the ability to cut-and-paste text, extract images, and even convert to an editable Microsoft Word® file. This could be a disaster for businesses that keep sensitive or personal data for clients and employees.

ActivePDF provides businesses within every industry secure PDF solutions, with compliant security encryptions in place. ActivePDF addresses high-level security to better ensure that unauthorized users cannot copy-and-paste, print, or 'Save As' another document.

2. Email Security

One of the great benefits of PDF is the ability to easily share files via email. While this offers convenience, email sharing is an easy gateway for cybercrime. Even if your network’s firewall is made out of granite, you are still susceptible to even the most inexperienced hacker. To avoid the risk, some businesses use a file sharing service such as Dropbox or SharePoint.

Another option is to create a secure web-based PDF file-sharing/storage platform. High-profile organizations such as the U.S. Department of Defense and Pacific Life Insurance implements ActivePDF's WebGrabber to create a more secure environment for data sharing and storing.

Download WebGrabber

3. The Problem with Passwords

Are you still using ‘password123’ as your password? Or even worse, are you using it for everything? Well, you’re not alone. Studies show that 83% of people use the same password for all their files. Now, consider the fact that it only takes hackers an average of 0.29 milliseconds to crack a lowercase, 7-letter password – that includes PDF passwords!

While ActivePDF solutions come with password options, it is still your responsibility to create a strong password. So how do you create more secure passwords?

Consider checking into reputable password manager programs that provide tools to help you create more secure logins and stronger passwords.

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4. Remember Your Keys!

PDF Advanced Encryption System (AES) is a universal standard encryption system with a block size of 128 bits, including two different key lengths: 128 and 256. These are the keys that lock and unlock your sensitive information. Obviously, the longer key length is more desirable because it’s more difficult to crack.

ActivePDF's Toolkit includes AES 256-bit PDF encryption, offering the highest amount of protection possible.

Download Toolkit

5. Automating Digital Documents for Security

At ActivePDF, we are all about enhancing your document workflow automation with secure PDF functionality. There are many reasons why automating digital files is beneficial – in the case of securing digital files, automating documents to PDF eliminates the possibility of misfiling sensitive documents and ensures that they are stored in their appropriate folders at all time. When correct security controls are assigned, it’s like locking your files in a vault!

6. Beware of FREE!

We're not against free things. However, it's always a good policy to stay clear of low-grade PDF software or suspicious PDF software providers.

If you do decide to go the free route, use your better judgment and of course, do your research. If you have the slightest doubt or feel you are opening yourself up to “scareware,” back away and seek out other affordable options, such as ActivePDF's family of PDF solutions.

Developers, product managers, CIOs, and CTO’s turn to ActivePDF for safe and dependable PDF technology. For more information and free trials, visit If you’re looking for immediate assistance on your current projects, talk to one of our knowledgeable advisers today!

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