In this era of digitization, documents that used to be filled offline can now be switched online. However, with more reliance on the internet, the possibility of information leak has consequently increased.

There are times when someone needs to send a PDF containing large amounts of sensitive and confidential information, such as an individual’s address, phone number, bank account, or tax information. Definitely, you don’t want to leave this type of information open to hackers for malicious purposes.

However, sometimes things just go wrong and out of control. Fortunately, PDF encryption is available for use. With encryption, your PDF documents are well protected.

What Is PDF Encryption?

Encryption can be defined as the application of a mathematical algorithm to keep information unseen from anyone who doesn’t have authorization to access or use it. Encryption technology employs a private password to protect information within files so that only those with the correct password can get access to the documents.

PDF encryption is useful for locking PDF files to screen out any unwanted access or editing. In most cases, encryption will be realized through two-level passwords: opening password and permission password.

The former one is designed to set restrictions on the opening of a document.  If set, one should enter the correct password upon opening the file. For the latter one, a permission password aims to limit certain operations which could be potentially made on the document, including printing, editing and annotating.

How Do You Encrypt PDFs?

When it comes to encryption and decryption, SwifDoo PDF is a good choice. Here’s how to add an opening password to your PDF documents in SwifDoo:

  1. Open a file in SwifDoo PDF and then click “Advanced”- PDF Encryption;
  2. Choose what kind of password you want to apply to your document: opening password or permission password;
  3. Set your password;
  4. Click “Yes” to save the changes.


When Do You Encrypt PDFs?


Protect Copyright

In the 21st century, the significance of copyright has been accentuated more than ever. The purpose of copyright law is to protect the process of artistic and scientific inventions by ensuring the exclusiveness of authors and inventors to benefit from their works of authorship. Therefore, preventing the data or information from copyright infringement is one practical reason to encrypt a PDF document.

Although copyright law is strictly implemented in the United States, it may not be as strictly adhered to in other nations. Legally, copying or other form of plagiarism violates the law. Ethically, stealing and copying creative works and ideas is offensive and disrespectful to the original authors.

Maintain Content Integrity

Another scenario for locking your PDF is to ensure content integrity. If you spend a lot of time, for example, on modifying your thesis and adding scattered annotations throughout the document, encrypting your PDF document can ensure all changes made on the thesis require a password.

In addition, images are often part of PDF presentations. Sometimes, users will, either accidentally or purposely, alter the position, compress page size or delete the images if this document is not protected by password. This will negatively affect the content integrity for sure.


Why Do You Need to Encrypt PDFs?

Ask yourself this question: why do you need to encrypt a PDF? Apparently, for your information security. Essentially, the core of PDF encryption is to guarantee information security. In summary, there are two primary reasons to lock your PDF: to manage those who are authorized to view the document and to control who is able to make any changes to the PDF.

Without the protection of passwords, your PDF is at risk from everybody. Anyone can read it and the value of your information no longer exists. As a stable format, PDF is famous for its convenience of distribution and sharing. This advantage can sometimes become a disadvantage, for instance, with unauthorized copying and printing.

Panama papers still remains fresh in the memory. In 2016, 11.5 million documents leaked, which put file and data security under the spotlight. Therefore, if we really care about the file security, we’d better learn how to protect our digital PDFs.

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Is PDF Encryption Reliable?

Basically, yes. PDF encryption can effectively prevent unwanted or uninvited access. SwifDoo PDF enables users to encrypt the PDFs and set certain operational limitations. Although a PDF can be encrypted, it is strongly recommended to use a longer and unique password.

Please note that, encryption is not a once-for-all thing and there are many uncertainties. For example, those who get authorization can unlock the file and send it to others.

Hence, when it comes to highly confidential documents, fundamental encryption technology can not meet your needs, the Advanced Encryption Standard (shortened as AES) may be handy. This is a symmetric block cipher widely used among the US governmental departments, which is usually implemented in software and hardware industry to protect sensitive data.



Roche has been an active PDF user for 6 years and tried different types of professional PDF tools (both online and desktop version) since at his bachelor degree. Now, Roche works as a columnist for SwifDoo PDF over the course of the last one year, and provides useful and practical solutions pertaining to various PDF topics for users from different features.


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