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PDF Security: Is Your PDF Download Safe?

Over the recent past, PDF readers, PDF file conversion software and other related programs have been under deep scrutiny by technology journals and security agencies. Due to this, the PDF standard has undergone many changes since its origin. Nowadays, PDF readers can be found on almost all computers and smart phones, and this has put the reach of PDF across global workflow. Suppose a person has lost the user manual of his/her camera, he/she will certainly ask for the PDF copy of the manual from the manufacturer. If someone wants to fill out some government form, again he/she will download the form in PDF. This is not the story of one or two people… millions of people around the world are using PDF files.

Now, the question is – Is your PDF file or form safe on the web? The viruses on the web and in PDF files can exploit the files in the following ways…

  • Steal data (like SSN) which the people submit in their forms over the net.

  • Steal user names as well as passwords which are saved in Windows Protected Storage.

  • Steal email account details and access the files available in the email accounts.

  • Modify web pages of targeted websites in order to steal submitted information, like credit card details of people which they have submitted for online shopping.

  • Delete Flash and HTTP cookies after an individual has logged onto the online banking. The hackers can use that individual’s session freely.

Thus, to have secured PDF files, follow these basic & reliable practices.

  • Make sure to install antivirus programs & desktop firewall systems on your computers. Keep those programs updated.

  • Do not download any information or material from websites that are not trustworthy.

  • At the time of opening a PDF file which is obtained from an unreliable source, disable JavaScript actions so as to avoid executing malicious codes inside the file.

  • If the PDF forms contain sensitive information, submit them only to trusted government sites.

  • Use password manager for storing sensitive information. Do not save credit card information and passwords in the text files.

  • Develop a habit of taking backup of the important files to external media like USB hard drives, DVDs etc.

Taking care of this security checklist while dealing with PDF files can save you from most of the unwanted situations and security threats. There are many PDF software products available which come up with security settings. These settings can be used to make PDF files safe and secure by applying passwords and encryption techniques.

Written By

Ethan Ava is an marketing expert and consultant and is currently associated with PDF-File Conversion Software. He loves blogging around technology news, updates, security issues, various aspects of dealing with PDF documents etc.



  1. Frank

    March 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    I always thought the PDF files were not active, and display only. I never knew they could contain something like this.

  2. Ethan Ava

    March 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Thanks for sharing your views Frank. There are a lot of users who haven’t thought of this perspective. Hope you would keep yourself safe now and share this with your contacts as well.

  3. Donatus

    June 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I always install antivirus program on my devices. I never take back up for more than 4 months. thanks for sharing, will go and take back up now

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