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Encrypted PDFs are great for sending sensitive contracts online, but do you know how to sign a password-protected PDF? It isn’t as easy as you might think.
Signeasy is the first – and, currently, the only – mobile eSignature solution that allows users to sign password-protected PDF documents. All your important documents, such as W-9 forms, real estate contracts, and confidential loan documents, can be signed and sent within a few minutes, from your cell phone.
We’ll walk you through the importance of encrypted PDFs, how they differ from password-protected documents, and how to work with and sign a PDF document that is effectively locked down. We’ll also point you toward the software that can help you electronically sign encrypted PDFs on any platform you happen to be using, including those on mobile devices.
A password-protected PDF and an encrypted PDF are not the same things. You need to know the difference to ensure your sensitive document or contract has the right level of protection.
Opening a password-protected PDF file requires a password, but the PDF and the content within are not encrypted. The passwords on these documents are easily bypassed or even removed, leaving the content viewable and alterable by a malicious actor. These PDFs are less secure than encrypted PDFs.
All the content within an encrypted PDF is scrambled (encrypted), meaning that even bypassing the password won’t make your data accessible.
In essence, the encryption and the password are two separate things in the case of encrypted PDFs, both of which would need to be cracked to access the data within. Using common hacker methods of stripping out the password would still make the PDF unintelligible without a way to decrypt it. Considering that it would take a supercomputer more time than the current age of the universe to crack 128-bit encryption (which is one of the weaker encryptions used in SSL), that kind of breach is unlikely.
These PDFs, when encrypted properly, are extremely secure.
Not every PDF contract you send or receive needs a high level of protection, but most should probably be encrypted to protect you and any parties involved.
We’ve compiled some of the most common encrypted PDFs you might need to sign, and the kinds of PDFs you need encrypted.
Does the PDF contain financial data about any involved party, including bank information, account numbers, tax data, or any other information that could risk the assets of anyone involved? Encrypt it.
Does the PDF contain anything that could be considered “trade secrets”? Encrypt it.
Legal documents, mergers, acquisitions, patents, copyright documents, manuscripts, screenplays, and any form of sensitive intellectual property should all be sent and signed as encrypted PDFs.
Does the PDF contain any sensitive medical or personal information? Encrypt it.
Medical consent forms, medical diagnoses, guardianship forms, and adoption forms are great examples of paperwork and contracts that might need to be signed and should be encrypted.
Does your PDF contain a contract or legal documentation that is to be used in courts of law? Encrypt it.Retention agreements, Power of attorney agreements, engagement letters, shareholder agreements, asset purchase agreements, board consents, confidentiality agreements, class action communications, M&A agreements, and employment contracts that have to be signed should be encrypted.
Once you’ve been given the password by whoever sent you the PDF, you can usually check the level of encryption in a standard PDF viewer by checking out the security details. This kind of information is mostly found in the File or Properties menu.
For most software, you can even search in the help bar for “security,” and then follow the directions to find out how encrypted your PDF is.
Signing an encrypted PDF is tricky without help, and not always native to basic PDF viewers. Instead, you’ll need the help of software to sign it (and to ensure the signature itself is protected once you do).
While most basic PDF software includes a signing feature, the signature and the PDF are rarely encrypted—this means they don’t have security or accountability. To help encrypt and track all signatures for your PDF, you’ll want to use an eSignature suite like Signeasy.
The Signeasy app can be downloaded to your computer or mobile device. On mobile devices, there is both an Android version and an Apple version. Once downloaded and installed, you simply run the app, open the encrypted PDF, and sign the PDF. All of the hard work is done for you.
Every signature will be digitally audited (making them trackable) and encrypted with SSL encryption.
Adding biometric gates may also be wise, especially for contracts signed on multiple devices. It adds another layer of security, which is never a bad idea.
Yes, you can edit a password-protected PDF by removing its encryption.
People are adopting new habits and workflows, and modern encryption and eSignatures can facilitate these changes.
Signeasy provides a way for you to sign confidential, encrypted documents and a user-friendly interface to keep those documents organized. Your contracts will be encrypted, your eSignatures will be tracked and secured, and you’ll be able to easily find all those contracts in the future.
Use software like Signeasy to contribute to a more efficient, secure, and paperless world.