If you think the encryption of a document is a complex task to achieve, think again. There are easy ways to protect yourself against companies and individuals that would like to invade your privacy, in order to gain a competitive advantage over you, or simply to cause harm. In this article, we will explain how encryption works and why you need to use it to protect yourself online.
What is Encryption?
We all did it at school. When we wanted to pass on a message to our best friend, we used a secret code, so that other people, who would have the text in their hands, could not decipher it. This is what encryption does to your confidential documents.
It either creates a code that only the sender and whoever else has the key, enabling the file to be opened and read. That is called symmetric encryption. Or, the other method (asymmetric encryption), creates a key pair; one that will be used by the sender of the document and the other by the receiver.
Which Tool Can You Use to Protect Your Documents?
As we mentioned in the introduction, encrypting a document is not that hard, today. You can actually do so online, by using a tool like pdfsmart.com. All you have to do is to upload your PDF document directly onto their platform and choose “Protect a PDF” from the menu, on their homepage. When you do so, the first step of the process that you will go through will be to choose a password that will be used to lock and unlock it. Like any other password, the more complex it is, the better the protection level will be.
You do have to write it down somewhere, though, because it does not keep a record of them, for protection purposes, obviously. If you do have an issue opening the encrypted document, later on, you can get in touch with their experts, by email, 24/7.
Once you have taken care of the password, the software will encrypt the PDF document you have uploaded, using two different encryption protocols, in order to raise the level of security on your document. In fact, anyone that doesn’t have the password will never be able to view and/or read your document properly. It is your responsibility to store the encrypted document, as the company does not keep a copy of it. Again, this is to provide a greater level of security to their customers.
If you have reasons to believe that your documents could be in danger, or if you simply prefer to be zealous regarding your confidential documents, you can decide to go a step further through this process still. Before you actually choose a password and proceed to the encryption of your file, you will then choose to pixelate the document, first. What it does is convert them into an image format, which will add another layer of protection.
Encryption should Not Stop at Documents Only
Online security has always been important, since the moment the internet came to life. However, there are still individuals that don’t protect themselves and their data, when they go online. This is a major risk that could turn into a disaster for anyone who assumes that they are not in danger.
Especially for those that haven’t taken the time to encrypt their documents on pdfsmart.com and that are still to be found in the storage of their computer. A hacker can actually get into the system and take a look at everything that can be found on the device.
Therefore, the first protection that anyone should use when going online, is a VPN. Virtual Private Networks actually use encryption, in order to protect the data of the person that is roaming online.
It is used to block attempts of intruders to get into the content that is shared by the computer and the network that is used. It hides all the data that is shared between the computer and the web servers that it visits from hackers and other potential intruders that you may find online.
A VPN is particularly important for a company that needs to protect the data that is found on their servers. There are usually many connections that are made to it, from all employees, inside the office as well as from the road, on a daily basis. Each of these connections implies an exchange of information. Without the VPN, it can be caught in between by a third party, which can then use them at free will.
Be Prudent to avoid a Computer Intrusion
There are many ways that hackers and other criminals can get to your personal documents. Which is why the first protection element should be their encryption. That way, even if someone gets into your computer, that person won’t be able to read and/or view the documents that he finds. Still, it would be better for you that no one actually finds a backdoor entrance to your electronic device, as problems can be others than just having someone looking at your files.
In fact, if an individual can find a way into your computer, he will be able to do a lot of damage. The most dangerous of them is probably the use of ransomware. The hacker comes in and blocks your access from all the files inside your computer. If you do not pay a ransom, you will forever lose the use of them.
A criminal can also delete everything that is sitting inside your electronic device. He can either do it manually, from wherever he is located, by controlling your PC, tablet or mobile and erasing all the data that he finds, while going through it.
Finally, a third party that finds its way in, will be able to leave viruses inside some of your files, which you will then spread to other documents, when you transfer them to friends, family or colleagues. Depending on the virus that is implanted, it could slowly destroy your device, or spy on everything you and the others that receive the file in question, will do on your computer, in the future.