PDF Security Check

Security Settings were placed on the following PDF File to prevent changes, etc. 9 KB PDF File

Save this file to a temporary location and open it with Adobe Reader and check the security settings and document info. These security settings and document info can be easily removed by Kyler Laird's pdf2ps utility.

The URL for the above PDF file is:

Copy this URL to your clipboard and go to: pdf2ps Utility

And enter the URL for the above pdf file from your clipboard into the second option: "Use this form to have the PDF data retrieved over the Web (via HTTP)". Be careful not to duplicate the HTTP://

This will fetch the file coeperm4e.pdf and then process it through the pdf2ps utility. You can save the resulting postscipt file as pdf2ps.ps which you can then run through Distiller to produce an exact copy of the original "secure" PDF file. The new PDF will have no security settings and no document info. I could change the security settings on this file to preclude printing and the pdf2ps utility would create a new PS file which can be distilled into a printable PDF. I did this.

If this is too much trouble I have posted the resulting pdf file here. 79 KB PDF File
The file got somewhat bigger and behaves strangely but it works.

So, if you can open a PDF, the file can be manipulated to remove the security settings. The above file took some effort (work) to create in Word 6 and I would just as soon keep my label on it. It disappoints me that the label can be removed so easily.

And if you are still interested you might try this one:

A Non-viewable and Non-printable "encrypted" PDF File 18 KB PDF File That is, this file also has a User Password which is required to open it as well as an Owner Password to set the security settings..

The URL to paste in the pdf2ps utility if you are interested is (it will not do you much good, though) as files with User Passwords apparently have to be individually stripped:

The resulting Post Script file produced by the pdf2ps utility will not produce a PDF file when distilled. However, I requested Kyler to strip this file of security settings which he did and posted the results at:

18 KB PDF File and follow the link to PDF Cracks and Hacks.

Obviously, I did not provide him with the owner and user passwords. Also the passwords I am using to set security are not readily breakable as they are similar to the following example:

ן_? &j< -~ qgHynj

which I generate randonly from a population of about 190 characters. This offers about 19032 possibly permutations for each password, making it difficult to attack the password itself unless you have an spare Cray and nothing else to do with it.

With average luck you would have to test one-half of the possible passwords before breaking into the file. You could guess the password correctly on the first try only one time in 19032 tries and (19032) minus 1 tries for a correct guess on the second try.

Additionally, I worked for the US Army and NSA as a cryptanalyst for several years so I know a little about secure communication systems but I am completely ignorant of Post Scrip. So I do not know what Kyler is doing - nor do I care..

Updated: 15 October 2000 by
Rusty Mase