PDF File Security – secure PDF files to stop sharing, copying, printing
Secure PDF files no matter where they reside:
Stop unauthorized access
Stop sharing and distribution
Strong US Gov strength encryption, DRM and licensing controls
Control how PDF documents are used:
Stop editing, copying, save as, screen grabs
Stop printing or control the number of prints
Lock PDFs to devices and locations
Set PDFs to automatically expire:
on a fixed date
after a number of days use
after a number of views and/or prints
Revoke access regardless of where PDFs are located:
revoke a document for all users instantly
revoke individual user access to single, multiple, or all PDF files
revoke access automatically after a number of views and/or prints
Add dynamic watermarks to viewed and or printed pages. Dynamic variables (date/time, user name, company name, email address) are replaced with actual user and system data when the protected PDF document is displayed and/or printed.
You only have to protect a document once in order to customize it for multiple users.
See how your documents are being used:
track and log document views
track and log document prints
see what devices & operating systems users are using
Comply with legislation by controlling access and use:
Ensure only authorized parties can view confidential documents
Enforce document retention policies with automatic expiry
Log use for proof of when PDFs are viewed and printed
Protect IPR, reduce costs, ensure compliance, gain new revenue:
Protect revenue and increase ROI – reduce losses and costs
Take control over your IPR, prevent document leakage & theft
No cost per document or user – one fixed price for unlimited use
Free Trial & Demo
“Fantastic product… outstanding support.”
“We would recommend Locklizard to others”
“The clear leader for PDF DRM protection”
“Our ebook sales have gone through the roof”
“Simple & secure – protects IPR from theft”
Secure PDFs with Safeguard PDF security
How to create a secure PDF file
Securing PDF files with Safeguard is very simple. Select your PDFs then the ‘Make Secure PDF’ menu option.
In Safeguard Secure PDF Writer, choose the PDF security controls:
Stop printing, allow printing or limit the number of prints.
Add dynamic watermarks to viewed and or printed pages. Dynamic variables replace actual user and system data when they view/print the document so you only have to protect it once for all users.
Make the PDF expire on a specific date, after a number of views, after a number of prints, or after a number of days from opening.
Stop screen grabbing applications (even from remote connections), prevent use of Windows print screen.
Track and log document views and prints.
Safeguard’s default PDF security
Stops users editing, copying and pasting text and images
Revoke PDFs at any time regardless of where they reside
There are no passwords for users to enter, manage, or remove
Securing PDFs with Safeguard is more secure than Adobe password protection. Once your PDF is secured with Safeguard, you’ll benefit from total PDF security regardless of where your PDF files are located.
Adobe PDF permissions (stop copy, print etc.) can be removed without using any tools
once the user has the password they can unprotect the PDF and do what they like with it
“We purchased Safeguard PDF Security to secure PDF files and control access and un-authorised use. We now have greater control on who/how our material is accessed when distributed around the world, including limiting the number of prints and using expiry controls to manage subscriptions.
Safeguard PDF Security does what it says – it provides a manageable, cost effective uncomplicated way to secure PDF documents, your investment.
We would recommend Locklizard to other companies.”
PDF security & methods used to secure PDF documents
So, PDF file security is delivered by a combination of different features – encryption, controls (digital rights management controls), etc. – that are relevant to the overall document controls you wish to achieve.
PDF file security can consist of the following components:
The most commonly used secure encryption algorithm for PDF encryption is AES (US Government strength)
PDF copy protection is implemented through the use of PDF encryption. It is almost impossible to prevent people from copying files – after all, everything on a computer has been copied to use it. But if a user doesn’t know the decryption key for a file, they cannot use the file regardless of whether someone has copied it or not.
PDF Restrictions give you some control over what an authorized user can do with a document. In Adobe Acrobat they are called PDF Permissions and enable you to restrict editing, printing, or copying text.
To encrypt a PDF you need to use a key. The most common method is using a password as the key. However, PDF Password Protection has serious issues and is not recommended if you want to secure PDF files from unauthorized use and distribution.
Passwords can be shared around – they have to be sent in a readable form, so users can copy and forward them to anyone
The password interface has to be exposed so can be readily attacked by password recovery programs – see Removing PDF Passwords
Strong passwords are difficult to set up and use, so users and admin typically implement weak ones instead.
You have to manage a list of passwords if you use different passwords for each PDF document which can be complicated.
Public Key Technology or PKI
PKI has two major uses. It is used to:
protect the secret decryption key, preventing the user or attacker from finding it
create a digital signature which establishes that the document has not been altered and verifies the sender
Public Key Technology is much more secure than password protection – the key is not exposed to the user so cannot be attacked. In addition there are no passwords to manage or for users to forget.
Licensing controls allow you to establish policies, watermarks, and restrictions that are unique to each user.
You can distribute a single document that has different license conditions depending on the user. For example:
User A is allowed to print document A but user B is not
User A is allowed to view document A for 15 days but user B can view it forever
You can revoke any access to a specific document for an individual user(s) or all users
A secured PDF file simply refers to a PDF file that has been protected by a piece of software.
However, the security of PDF files grouped under this banner can vary wildly depending on the solution used to protect them.
Why would I want to secure my PDF documents?
There are many reasons why you would want to secure your PDF documents using PDF file security. The main reason, however, is that you need protection for your PDF documents beyond what encryption provides.
This is likely because you want to have some control over your PDF documents once they have been decrypted (for example, whether a recipient can copy text from your document). This can be because the document contains privileged information or you are selling information that you do not want to be distributed for free.
How can I secure my PDF documents?
At the basic level, you could use a product like Adobe Acrobat. However, it is wise to remember that there are freely available Internet tools that can remove the copy controls you have applied in seconds. This is also true of other secure PDF products that use passwords or plugins to Adobe Acrobat.
If you are serious about protecting your documents, then you will probably want to purchase a PDF file security product that is not password-based – read PDF password protection to see why – and uses US Government strength encryption.
While you can password lock a PDF with an online tool for free, it’s trivial to remove the security from the PDF file again. It’s unlikely that you will find a free solution that is able to effectively protect documents.
How to remove security from a PDF file
As mentioned, the password protection used in Adobe Acrobat is not a good way to secure PDFs. Flaws in the Adobe Security handler make it completely trivial to edit a secured PDF file – as we’ll show you below.
Here’s how easy it is to edit a secured PDF file from Adobe:
Upload the document to an online password remover tool
Enter the open password
Wait for the website to strip the permissions password
Download the modified PDF and edit it in any PDF editing software
If the user does not have the PDF open password, it doesn’t mean they can’t remove the protection – just that they need to crack the open password first. This can be time-consuming, but it’s still entirely possible with a PDF security removal tool.
Locklizard Safeguard DRM cannot be bypassed using these tools. It does not use passwords and its permissions aren’t based on an honor system. Instead, a combination of strong encryption, a secure viewer application, DRM controls, and a transparent licensing system keep your PDF files safe.
Is it safe to secure a PDF online?
Some PDF security applications enable you to protect PDF files online on a cloud server (securing PDF files in the cloud).
Most of these programs, however, only provide standard PDF password protection. The other major disadvantage of this approach is that you have to upload unprotected PDF files to a cloud server where they could be easily compromized.
A much more secure way of securing PDF files is to do so on your local computer (offline), and then distribute the encrypted files online. This ensures both your unprotected and secure PDFs are always under your control.
How to print a PDF file that is secured
Printing a secured PDF file that has been protected using a password, is just as easy as editing one.
You can use the method above to strip print and editing protections, or open it in an editing program that doesn’t honor Adobe’s permissions, such as Word, Google Docs, or a Mac PDF editor. Users can print straight to a file too, creating an identical copy of the PDF with no controls applied.
How to copy from a secured PDF file
There are various ways to copy from a secured PDF file, provided it has been protected with an ineffective tool like Adobe Acrobat or an online PDF password protector.
The first and easiest method is to upload the document to an PDF password removal program or website. This will strip Adobe’s permissions and allow you to do whatever you wish with the document, including copying and pasting.
If printing is enabled, you could instead drag and drop the PDF into a Chrome browser window, press the print icon, then print it to a PDF. This will create a version without the copy/paste restrictions. Alternatively, you can upload it to Google Drive and open it in Google Docs.
Finally, if none of that works, you still have the option of screenshotting the document and uploading the image to an OCR recognition site. The site will convert the image of the text into real characters that you can copy and paste.
Can you comment on a secured PDF file?
Locklizard Safeguard DRM lets you comment on and highlight a PDF file even if it has been protected. Unlike Adobe Acrobat, it does so without compromising the document’s security.
Further reading on PDF Security
To learn more about the PDF security, read the following white papers.
PDF password protection has been the traditional way to impose PDF digital rights management controls on PDF document users, but it has several drawbacks. One problem in password-based PDF file security is that a number of suppliers provide tools for removing the protection controls on the basis that you are the document owner and you have ‘forgotten’ how to use a document that is yours. The weaker the password, the sooner it is broken.
In Adobe Acrobat, you can add a number of additional controls (PDF permissions) such as stopping printing, editing, and copying text when you secure a PDF file with a password. However, because the Adobe implemented its Security Handler poorly, users can remove PDF restrictions in seconds no matter how strong the password used to secure the PDF is. So, reliance on some of the controls being provided is not as wise as it seems – they are totally useless.
Some PDF Security products use plugins to prevent unauthorized use and to control what users can do with documents. However, plug-ins may (and often do) act in conflict with each other, and other plug-ins may be used to compromise the security of the PDF file.
Also, the Adobe PDF Reader was not designed to operate in a secure manner, and it is not possible, as a plug-in, to control what the application can do, so any ability to compromise the application will also compromise the security. See PDF Security Plug-ins.
PDF file security is achieved when the different components work together correctly. So, if some of the controls are implemented by one supplier and others by another, you need to make sure that the combinations work together.
Plug-ins cannot compromise Locklizard PDF Security because we use our own Secure PDF viewers that prevent plug-ins from being loaded. We supply and control the environment so that no vulnerabilities can be introduced.
Web based PDF security systems
Web-based PDF security systems, such as those used for secure online document sharing, may seem convenient, but they still use passwords that users can be share with others. Additionally, since no software is installed on the device, they cannot control Operating System behavior. This lets users can screen grab content or print to file drivers (e.g. Adobe PDF) if printing is allowed.
Strong web-based PDF security systems, such as Locklizard’s, let you control the number of times a user can log in simultaneously and let you lock document use to specific locations so that PDF files cannot be readily shared.
Strong PDF security software to secure PDF files & documents
Safeguard PDF Security
Safeguard PDF Security gives you complete control over your PDF files, preventing unauthorized copying, modifying, printing and distribution.
Securely share or sell PDF files by controlling who can access them and enforcing how long they can be used, no matter where they reside.
In addition to the security features of Safeguard, you can:
log document use
lock PDFs to specific countries and IP addresses on a user basis (i.e. only let user x view PDFs from an office location in the US)
enable flexible license checking and transfer
run reports (e.g. your most accessed documents and by whom)
Users view protected PDF files using our FREE secure PDF viewers. These can be installed on a device, or users can view secure documents in their browser or from a USB stick with our zero installation solutions.
Why Locklizard for PDF Document Security?
US Gov Strength PDF Security – Secure PDF files without passwords
Locklizard takes your document protection seriously.
Our DRM PDF Security products enable you to share documents securely without insecure passwords or plug-ins, and enforces access, location, expiry, and usage controls. Your PDF files remain safe no matter where they reside, with the ability to revoke them regardless of their location or device.
We needed to deliver e-book versions of our handbooks while not compromising on security and digital rights. Safeguard PDF security is easy to use and intuitive.
The implementation was painless and we now have a greener, more secure way of distributing training manuals.
Locklizard’s PDF protection is exactly as described – the features are highly effective and I would give it 5 stars.
I would recommend Locklizard to others - their security is simple to use and fit for purpose. It meets common needs of businesses who have information they want to protect.
We would be happy to recommend Locklizard to any company needing a flexible way to secure PDF files.
Safeguard PDF Security has provided us with a very workable solution for sharing of information in a secure fashion. The support has been excellent and very accommodating.
We can cut accounts for a user five minutes before his class starts and he is ready to go. Happy smiling customer, while we still have security and personalized watermarking.
I have immense respect for the product and Locklizard provide great customer satisfaction and service.
We would recommend Safeguard to other companies for its security, cost and ease of use. It does what we expected it to do and more.
Ease of use is a bonus and the implementation was very easy. The product manual is excellent and Locklizard staff are very accommodating.
We sell a highly valued educational product in an open and competitive market so it was important to ensure we had effective security to protect our digital rights.
We highly recommend Locklizard - a professional company with a competitive and professional PDF Security product.
We would absolutely recommend both Locklizard as a company, and Safeguard PDF Security. It has transformed our study materials to the next level.
Not only did this increase sales, but we also believe that it has increased our customers’ ability to learn, which is even more important!
We would recommend Locklizard Safeguard to other companies that need to protect PDF reports. Customers have found the process of accessing the protected documents to be seamless.
Implementation was easy and technical support has been very responsive to requests for help.
Our company would without reservation recommend Locklizard. Their document DRM software opens up delivery of our new products in a timely fashion while knowing that the content will remain secure.
The return on investment to our company has been immediately evident.
We use Safeguard to make sure that documents cannot be opened outside our local network or from a unauthorized computer in order to copy or print the documents.
It is the most feature rich, affordable, & simple to use PDF security product on the market.
Safeguard PDF Security is simple to administer and meets our needs, consistently delivering secured manuals to our customers with ease.
Return on investment has been elimination of many man hours, printing resources and postage – it is estimated that costs decreased by 50% or more.
We would really recommend Safeguard PDF Security to every publishing company for managing ePubs or e-books securely. It is easy to secure PDF files and simple to distribute them to our authorized customers only.
Locklizard also provides a good customer support experience.
The ROI for us is incalculable. We have the security of knowing that our proprietary documents are secure. This is the entire value of our company.
I would most certainly recommend your PDF security product and already have. The ease of implementation was surprising.
We can now sell our manuals without the need to print them first, saving time, money and helping safeguard the environment.
We would recommend Safeguard PDF DRM – it is the perfect solution to sell and send e-documents securely whilst making sure someone cannot copy them.
We would recommend Locklizard to other companies without hesitation.
Their PDF DRM products provide a manageable, cost effective way to protect intellectual investment and they are always looking for ways to improve them. Moreover, their staff provide an excellent level of support.
Try Safeguard today
Start protecting your PDF files and documents from sharing & piracy