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Secure PDF's???

Posted on 2004-03-31
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Last Modified: 2006-11-17
My company wants to put employee policy and procedures manuals on the web in PDF format.  They will be accessible only after a user authentication.  My questions are:

Are these documents truly secure?
Will a web spider be able to locate them and let them show up some where like Google?
Can I prevent anyone who happens to know the path (former employees) to the PDF files from retrieving copies of the file directly from the web server? If so how?

thanks
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Question by:xmstr
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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 125 total points
ID: 10725440
There are two issues here, and only one is PDF related:
You need to make your web server secure, so that somebody who does not have the correct authorization cannot reach those documents. There is nothing you can do with PDFs to avoid these problems. Configure the server so that the user has to log into the server first before anything confidential is returned. Make sure that you authenticate against the same data you use for logins into company PCs. This way, if an employee leaves the company, access to this document will no longer be possible.

On the PDF side, you can add more security, but it's hard to lock out people who no longer work for the company: You assign an "open password" that needs to be entered before the document can be viewed. You could add this password anytime the document is downloaded, so that it's specific for every user, but this requires software on your server that can do this. You cannot use Acrobat for this (it's not licensed for server use).
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