Like everyone else, you want to keep your work safe, whether you’re an author (wanting to control the distribution of your work) or a CEO (trying to keep trade secrets and training documents strictly within the company). However, no matter how strong the encryption, access rights, and other Digital Rights Management (DRM) features you put in place if the PDF can be copied, it’s highly vulnerable to distribution through copying which is one of the most subtle forms of document theft.
Is This PDF Security or PDF DRM?
It’s actually both. Copy protection is an important part of DRM which, in turn, enhances the security of your PDF. Music and film distributors have been trying to control physical copies of their work being made for decades unsuccessfully. Fortunately, the outlook is less glum for PDF security.
Part of the issue has always been that the mere act of doing anything on your PC with a media file is, in effect, ‘copying’ it. That’s how using a file works in a digital environment. And, of course, if it must be ‘copied’ legally simply to be used, then illegality soon follows. Yet, you can’t eliminate this step or the file would be worthless.
How Can You Obtain PDF Copy Protection for Your Documents?
So, you basically can’t stop a PDF being copied, as that would render the document functionally useless. What is needed then is a way to make the copied file ‘useless’ to unauthorized parties. This is usually handled through document encryption.
Yet, those people legitimately using your PDF still need to be able to remove the encryption and so they’ll get a decryption key. To prevent the decryption key being passed on (which is the biggest weaknesses in passwords) and the file simply being copied from that point, it’s typical to tie the key to the device of the legitimate user and ensure it isn’t actually displayed to the user through the use of sophisticated PDF copy protection software. So, decryption keys will be stored in a keystore locked to the PC.
After this, you still need to prevent the PDF being saved in an unencrypted format. This means that both saving and editing the document will need to be prevented. It’s not enough to do this through Adobe’s own provisions, as there is a wealth of programs out there specifically designed to crack such systems. Instead, you need a much stronger and more robust solution. It’s also critical that you ensure the PDF can never be stored as a temporary (and easily recoverable) file.
Lastly, you’ll need to cleverly use some of the other DRM features, such as the ability to disable printing (which prevents physical copy sharing), screen grabbing from all programs (and not just the inbuilt Windows tool) to prevent a different copy being assembled by available software, and the copy and paste commands.
Preventing a PDF from being copied involves a smooth process of using licensing controls, encryption, and DRM controls that disable features that could put your document at risk. So if you want to distribute your documents securely then use DRM to make your PDF documents secure.
Must Read: How to Edit PDF Files for Free!!!
Karishma works from home as a content writer. Her main writing includes about start-ups and securities anything that related to tech. Recently she has got an opportunity to contribute to Locklizard, a company that provides online Document Rights Management (DRM) security tool.