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Drawbacks to Consider: The Dark Side of Password Protected PDFs

Do you secure your PDFs using passwords? Many people might tell you it is the right way to protect your PDF documents. But did you know this simple solution can quickly become a nightmare?

When running a company or collaborating with team members, you will encounter several instances where you may need to share proprietary information or financial data with others. You may even need to share it with those outside the company, such as investors and other shareholders. This may expose your confidential company data to a risky situation. Hence, businesses opt to password-protect their PDF documents to restrict changes, for copyright protection, or to limit the ability to copy and print.

While the security of PDF files slightly increases when you protect them with passwords, there are drawbacks to this. Some of them are discussed below.

  • Inconvenient during project collaboration

If there are too many PDF files to be shared between team members, it becomes an inconvenience if all the documents are password-protected. Collaboration takes a hit as team members find it difficult to remember so many different passwords.

In such situations, it is best to learn how to remove password from PDF on Mac. Passwords can be disabled using Adobe Acrobat, Preview, or Nitro PDF Pro. These tools come in handy when you don’t want to re-enter passwords several times when working with PDF documents.

  • Passwords are hackable

Passwords are a blend of different characters, letters, symbols, and numbers. Most passwords are six to eight characters long, and they are usually identifiable. In the quest for making it easy to remember passwords, people end up using their birth date, anniversary date, or other personal information.

This makes passwords easily hackable. You will get better protection encrypting your PDF document.

  • Remembering and maintaining passwords is an added headache

If you are working with multiple PDF documents, maintaining a long list of passwords can become a nightmare. It is essential to create a safe environment for each document if you are protecting them using passwords.

Using a password manager might help, but it is easy to misplace or forget passwords and then be stuck with a document you cannot open.

  • Passwords fail to identify the person opening the file

Once the PDF documents are shared or passed along, and you have provided the password, there is no way of knowing who is accessing the document. If the password has fallen into the wrong hands, they can view and steal confidential data without your knowledge.

Password theft is a very common issue in modern businesses. Some may make the mistake of keeping a written copy of the password so anybody may get access to sensitive information.

In summation, let us look at the pros and cons of password-protected PDF documents.

The pros:

  • Protecting PDFs using passwords is one of the cheapest ways to protect your sensitive information. You will easily find password generators and managers to help.
  • They are easy to use, and the process is straightforward. All you have to do is create a strong, unique password that hopefully nobody can guess.
  • Most PDF editors allow users to password-protect their documents before sharing them.

The cons:

  • It is not easy to set up strong passwords. Most people make the mistake of creating passwords that relate to them. This makes passwords easily hackable. If people have your personal information, they will be able to hack the password and steal valuable information.
  • It can be shared around easily. So, when you send password-protected PDFs, you are also sharing the password. The recipient may share the password with someone else, and then you’ll have no control over who is accessing the document.
  • Once the documents are downloaded and used offline, there is no way of knowing how many people are using the document. They may steal company information or create multiple copies. They might even create unsecured copies of your document and share it with others.
  • Since passwords are created by humans, they can be stolen easily. Hackers are getting smarter with each passing day, and they also have access to cutting-edge tech. Hence, passwords are not the most secure option.
  • If you have changed the permission for the PDF document, then the password doesn’t offer the protection you thought it would. Passwords become useless, and the person with permission can access the document. The end user may even choose to share the document with others without your knowledge.

So, password-protected PDFs may not be as secure as you previously thought. In most cases, it might not offer you any protection at all and expose confidential information about your company. It is essential to explore other ways to protect your PDF if it contains important information that you cannot afford to fall into the wrong hands.