Tag Archives: Nitro PDF Reader

Nitro PDF Software Advises – PDF Security Blunders You Need To Know

imageIf you’re a serious PDF user, then it’s almost a given that you’re familiar with Nitro PDF Software. Nitro PDF Software is a leading PDF software vendor, and the company behind Nitro PDF Professional. And, for those of us who love free software, Nitro PDF offers the award-winning free Nitro PDF Reader – you can read my take on Nitro PDF Reader here.

If you’re looking for a free PDF creator, Nitro PDF Software has you covered here as well, with its free application –  PrimoPDF – which many consider (including me), to be the best free PDF creator available.

This past week, Nitro PDF Software published a list covering three major PDF security blunders, a recent public example of each, and additionally – the best practices computer users can take to ensure their own digital document security.

Security conscious users will find the following information especially useful.

From Nitro PDF Software (with permission):

Protection, Passwords, and Permissions to Safeguard Confidential Information

Problem & Example: In what might be the only example of a lax approach to document security resulting in the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s best seller list and a subsequent film deal, first-time author Adam Mansbach’s self-proclaimed “children’s book for adults”, Go the #### to Sleep, enjoyed unexpectedly positive consequences when a bootlegged PDF became a viral success story, according to Fast Company.

It’s fair to assume Adam is less than upset right now, but – unfortunately for the rest of us – more common outcomes for similar incidents tend to involve phrases like “identity theft” and “job dismissal.”

Solution: There are a number of ways to mitigate against the risks inherent with electronic distribution, the most simple being password protection – an effective way to reduce the chances of someone other than the intended recipient being able to view the document. Always provide the password separately to the document itself – ideally over the phone or in person – and try to think of something more challenging to guess than “password.”

Did you know you can also set permissions with PDF files? This enables you to specify what a user can actually do with your document. File permissions are an effective way to prevent manipulation or unauthorized sharing – allow or deny big-ticket items like printing or editing, and even block individual actions like copying text or images.

Flatten Documents to Maintain Authenticity and Prevent Manipulation

Problem & Example: The decision to release US President Barack Obama’s birth certificate only fanned the flames of debate when the PDF version made public contained a number of so-called “inconsistencies” – most visibly the presence of layered content, giving the impression the document had been digitally altered. A more realistic conclusion would be the use of optical character recognition (if the certificate had indeed been manipulated, it’s difficult to imagine such a rookie mistake would have been committed.) Read a full story at the National Review.

Solution: The majority of us will never be subject to this kind of public scrutiny, but there are best practices to follow when publishing final form documents that are relevant to almost anyone –layered content in PDF files often holds information relating to the text and images it displays, which often remains after the visual component has been deleted. “Live” text (such as form field data or annotations) is also more easily manipulated.

Certain industry bodies standardize and regulate document practices to safeguard against similar incidents – an example being the legal sector and its usage of the TIFF format, to preserve the integrity and authenticity of legally binding documents after publishing. Most desktop PDF solutions enable you to create image-based PDFs, ensuring that vector objects, text, annotations, and everything else that exists as an independent element is baked into the page as an image.

(Not) Deleting Confidential Information

Problem & Example: Whilst an effective way to redact (or permanently delete) information from physical paper, the “black marker” method happens to be rather ineffective with digital documents, as the British Navy discovered recently when they accidentally revealed information about the security of their nuclear submarines. IT security blog NakedSecurity explains it well, but the highly confidential document was “redacted” by applying a black background to the (black) text intended for removal, allowing anyone to simply copy and paste the text obscured by the black background.

Solution: As we mentioned before, PDF files have multiple layers – what looks like flat paper onscreen is three dimensional underneath. Redaction is a complex and powerful tool that (used properly) enables the complete removal of all content, and not just what you see rendered in front of you. You should never assume that simply deleting text or images guarantees complete removal, and anyone working with confidential documents should possess an understanding of their file structure and processes like redaction.

About Nitro PDF Software

Headquartered in San Francisco, Nitro PDF Software has operations spanning North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Competitively priced, Nitro PDF Professional provides users full control over PDF documents, including commenting, form-filling and authoring, digital signatures, text editing, one-click creation from Microsoft Office and more. Nitro PDF Software products have won multiple “Editors’ Choice” and “Product of the Year” awards and are used by millions of people worldwide, including a significant number of Fortune 500 organizations.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Cyber Crime, Digital Media, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free PDF Software, Freeware, Multimedia Tools, Software, Software Trial Versions, Windows Tips and Tools

FOUR Free Alternatives To Adobe Reader Malware Magnet

image

FLASH – A critical vulnerability (March 14, 2011), exists in Adobe Reader, as well as Flash Player and Acrobat. But don’t worry, Adobe will address this issue during the week of March 21, 2011. (OK, enough sarcasm).

If you’re shaking your head and wondering if you’ve heard this before – you can stop wondering. The date might be different; the vulnerability might be different, but you have heard this before – unfortunately, not once before, but often.

The graphics below (courtesy of Secunia – the developers of Secunia PSI), convincingly illustrate why Adobe Reader is considered one of the most hacked pieces of  software.

Month by Month (so far) in 2011
The “Month by Month” graph below shows the number of issued Secunia advisories affecting Adobe Reader 9.x on a month-by-month basis.

Month by Month in 2010
The “Month by Month” graph below shows the number of issued Secunia advisories affecting Adobe Reader 9.x on a month-by-month basis.

While it’s true that Adobe releases patches and updates to close security holes, they generally appear long after the vulnerabilities have been discovered and used to maximum advantage, by cyber crooks.

If you continue to use Adobe Reader, make sure you install the latest version. Users who continue running older versions of Adobe software (not uncommon), is a major element in cyber crooks successful manipulation of this  application.

Better yet – don’t even consider running Adobe Reader. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free applications.

Nitro PDF Reader

image

View, review, and create PDF files without compromise with the free solution PCWorld deemed “the most powerful free PDF reading and creation tool you can find…”

Fast facts:

Create PDF from 300+ file types

Comment, review, and collaborate on PDF files

100% compatibility with Adobe Acrobat and other common solutions

Fill, save, and submit PDF forms

Enable/disable JavaScript and control Web-based interactivity from PDF files

System requirements: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Win 7 (x86 and x64)

Download at: Nitro PDF

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer and printer. Small and fast, with a rich feature set.

image

Fast facts:

Incredibly small: The download size of Foxit Reader is only 2.1 M which is a fraction of Acrobat Reader’s 20 M size.

Fast: When you run Foxit Reader, it launches instantly. You are not forced to view an annoying splash window displaying company logo, author names and so on.

Annotation tool: Have you ever wanted to annotate, or comment on, a PDF document. Foxit Reader allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document.

Text converter: You can convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file.

Security and privacy: Foxit Reader doesn’t connect to the Internet without your permission. Other PDF readers often connect to the Internet in the background.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000

Download at: Download.com

Cool PDF Reader

This viewer has many the features of Adobe Reader, but unlike Adobe Reader, Cool PDF Reader loads PDF files extremely fast. Conversion from PDF to text and graphics formats is included.

image

Fast facts:

View and Print PDF

Convert PDF to BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, EPS

Extract PDF to TXT

Support PDF files of all versions

Work with 68+ different languages

Zoom in/out and Rotate page displays

Slide show PDF document with full screen

Small in size, only 650KB

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000. (32-bit and 64-bit support)

Download at: Download.com

Sumatra PDF Viewer

Sumatra has a minimalistic design, with its simplicity attained at the expense of extensive features. Sumatra takes up little disk space with an installed size of only 1.2MB, whereas Adobe Reader requires 335 MB of available disk space.

image

Fast facts:

Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, and open-source.

Portable out of the box. Doesn’t write to registry.

Sumatra has a minimalistic design – simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features.

It’s small and starts up very fast.

Hyperlinks embedded in PDF documents are supported.

Sumatra is multilingual, with 20 community-contributed translations.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista

Download at: Download.com

Additional free PDF applications recommended by readers include:

Nuance PDF Reader

PDF-XChange Viewer

Both Foxit and Sumatra, are also available as portable versions from portableapps.com.

If PDF conversion is one of your considerations, then take a look at the free online conversion services offered by Nitro PDF Software – including Word to PDF, PDF to Word, HTML to PDF, and PDF to Excel.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

23 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Adobe, Application Vulnerabilities, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free PDF Software, Freeware, Internet Security Alerts, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools