So, is it possible to sign a protected document?
Yes, there is more than one way to sign a protected document and the method, but due to the restrictions set, you will need to use specialized tools to manage protected PDF documents, and you will also need to know the password that protects the document. Later, I will explain how to carry out these processes, but first, you need to know the different signing methods you can use and their advantages.
The Challenge of Encrypted Signatures
For some years, security systems based on cryptography have become popular.
These security systems are responsible for dividing the original file into small parts; Next, a password is designated to be used as a variable used to generate an algorithm that stipulates the document's current state.
Once this formula is achieved, the original document fragments are rearranged randomly, making them completely unrecognizable. Therefore, the only way to rearrange the document fragments is to use the password with which the algorithm was originally generated.
As I mentioned before. PDF documents store all the resources they contain separately and, thanks to this, it is possible to add multiple levels of cryptographic protection simultaneously. This is the case with electronic signatures.
The reliability of these signatures is superior since, in addition to the traditional signature that everyone knows, it includes encrypted metadata and the certification of a third party that supports the legitimacy of the signature and its metadata, making it an unforgeable signature.
On the other hand, using a common signature is a bit easier, and as long as the document is encrypted, you can rest easy. No one will not modify your signature.
Check PDF is encrypted or password-protected
Before starting, you must keep in mind that there is more than one way to protect a document. It is also important that you know how to differentiate when a password-protected document is encrypted and when it is not.
Many tools can protect a PDF document with a password to restrict the document's opening, but these will not necessarily be encrypted; therefore, the content of this type of file may be visible in the previews of the PDF viewers or even extracted with specialized tools.
An encrypted PDF will also ask you to enter a password. Still, the integrity of all the resources stored inside it will be unrecognizable until the decryption has been done effectively. This means that no app or tool will preview or extract the content.
How to tell if the PDF you’re signing is encrypted or not
Not all password-protected documents are encrypted. Fortunately, many tools can help you find out if your document is encrypted or not. However, one of the easiest methods to find out is using a simple text editor.
Usually, when opening a PDF document with a simple text editor like Notepad, it is possible to read some data regarding the version and length of the document.
On the other hand, there will be no recognizable information in an encrypted document.
How to Sign a Password Protected PDF with PDFelement
As I mentioned at the beginning, signing protected PDFs is possible, but it requires specialized tools that help you manage the security system. One of the best tools that you can use for these cases is PDFelement.
This software is available for Windows and Mac. Now I will show you how to use it.
Sign a Password Protected PDF on Windows
Step 1. Enter the password
The first thing you need to do is open the PDF document with PDFelement. If your document is password protected, a window will appear where you must enter the password. When you have done so, click on "OK."
Step 2: Click on “Sign” option
Now you must go to the “Comment” section and click on the “Sign” button. Now a small box will be displayed where you can create a signature or choose from the signatures you have already created. Click on “Create”.
Step 3: Create your signature
You will now see a pop-up window with three options available to create your signature. You can use an image, text, or even trace your signature by hand. When you're done, click "Ok" and adjust the size of the signature on your document.
Sign a Password Protected PDF on Mac
Step 1. Enter the password
The first thing you need to do is open the PDF document with PDFelement. If your document is password protected, a window will appear where you must enter the password. When you have done so, click on "OK".
Step 2: Display the “Markup” menu
You should go to the "Markup" section to display a toolbar.
Step 3: Click on “Sign” option
You must go to the "Comment" section and click on the "Sign" button. A small box will be displayed where you can create a signature or choose from the signatures you have already created. Click on "Create."
Step 4: Create your signature
You will now see a popup window where you can use your trackpad or mouse to trace your signature. When you're done, click "Ok" and adjust the size of the signature on your document.
How to Sign a Password Protected PDF Online
PDFelement is an ideal tool to sign protected PDFs, but it requires you to have the application installed on your computer. You can use the HiPDF web application if you prefer an online alternative. Next, I will show you how to sign your document with this application.
Step 1: Go to HiPDF website
The first thing you should do is go to the official HiPDF website and the "All Tools" section. Once there, select the "Edit PDF" option.
Step 2: Upload your PDF
Now you will need to upload your file. To do this, you can drag and drop your PDF. Once this is done, wait for your file to upload successfully to continue.
Step 3: Enter the PDF’s password
If your PDF is password protected, the app will ask you to enter the password before continuing. When you have done so, click on "SUBMIT".
Step 4: Go to Sign option
Inside the HiPDF editing tool, you will see a bar with some editing tools. Click on the "Sign" button and create a signature. When you finish, click on "CREATE" and place your signature.
What Types of PDFs Should be encrypted
Working with encrypted documents seems tedious since you have to enter a password every time you want to open or modify the content. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a security measure, and in many cases, it is essential. For example:
A financial document usually contains information related to bank accounts. For this reason, it is imperative that no one who is not expressly authorized can have access to this data.
In some cases, the information contained in a PDF may be sensitive. In many companies, information is distributed to workers via PDF files, and companies must encrypt these documents to prevent data leaks that could have a business impact.
Medical or personal PDFs
Many people underestimate the value of their data, but keeping your data safe is of paramount importance these days. Since the Internet became popular to facilitate daily tasks, identity theft has become a frequent problem. Cybersecurity companies mention that tens of millions of dollars in damage are generated each year due to data leakage. Nowadays, protecting your personal information is crucial, and for this, data encryption is, without a doubt, the best option available.
Document encryption is a security measure that we cannot ignore. For better or worse, our lives have gone digital, and therefore protecting your digital data is the same as protecting yourself. Fortunately, protecting your information is not complicated. As you can see, digital documents share great similarities with physical documents, with the advantage that these can be protected with extremely sophisticated tools and, in addition, there are tools such as PDFelement or HiPDF that will facilitate all these processes.
For all PDF edits, conversions, etc., PDFelement is the best platform and has all facilities to help you deal with PDFs efficiently. Use the video below to learn more about PDFelement.