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Naughty! | 41 comments | Create New Account
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Naughty!
Authored by: b00le on Dec 29, '05 06:53:45AM

My company often uses password protection on pdf docs to prevent others from changing them (eg: a price list) or easily copying proprietary information, prersentations etc. I've even seen documents which forbid printing, which seems to be going a bit far, but the point is there are legitimate uses for password protection. I'd like to know what this does to a pdf that's been electronically signed... Better watch out, or the lawyers will getcha.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: pepi on Dec 29, '05 08:24:41AM

As always it can be seen from two angles...

What about recovery of a locked document where the legitimate owner has lost the password? Is it illegal (whereever in the world, not everybody lives in the US by the way) to open my own documents? Am I to be held liable for using software that doesn't even tell me there was password protection? How would I know it was protected, or meant to be protected in the first place?

Adobe themselves state that not every PDF capeable software will respect password settings on .pdf files so one should not trust the so called "protection".

And to add some valuable info to this thread as well:

A digital signature will break if the password is removed from a PDF document.

It's still in the hand of your document's users to check for a valid signature and know what to do if it doesn't work out correctly. Do your users know?
Regards Pepi



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: bjmorgan on Dec 29, '05 08:49:59AM

This hint doesn't seem to work in all cases. I have my tax returns saved as encrypted PDFs that cannot be viewed unless you have a password. ColorSync Utility opens them up as blank pages and saves them as blank pages in Mac OS X 10.4.3.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: surf on Dec 31, '05 06:11:42AM

No, this is not a possible recovery method.

There are two different things possible with PDFs.

1. Encrypt the whole file and require a password to even view it.

The hint is not about this, it does not do anything with PDF encryption.

2. You can set some flag in the file which disables printing, saving a copy or copying of text from the file in PDF viewers which respect this flag.

This is what the hint is about. ColorSync is a PDF Viewer, which simply does not look into the "restriction" flags.

The later is really just an annoyance (often company policy). What you can see can be retyped or you can make a screen shot. But if you want to read it as a printout in the bus, copy some bibliography information to send in a mail or copy some text for a citation (things I often do for my research), these restrictions get on your nerves.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: Cerberus on Nov 23, '06 06:48:02AM
This is the Major issue with DMCA. Unfortunately, it is 'illegal to circumvent any copyright protection' and I am sure that this is true even for the original copyright holder as the law, as currently written, speaks to the action of breaking down the 'lock' that is in front of any data. It is at this point in the law that it gets ugly.

So, for example, you are allowed under Fair Use rights to copy any DVD for backup, but since you have to crack the DSS encryption to do that, you have broken the law even if the underlying data is your to protect.

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Possible recovery method
Authored by: UberFu on Sep 30, '09 07:09:47AM

Yeah - but if it's your own original work - are you going to bring charges against and prosecute yourself?



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