Are watermarks really effective in PDF documents?

It’s a good question, but the truth is that no one can prevent his or her work from being copied by an unauthorized party. The best way to avoid these incidents is to make sure that your work doesn’t become public, or should you ever find yourself the victim of this kind of crime, to seek the help of a professional who can help you fix the problem.

As you may already know, watermarks are not a new technology, but the most recent evidence that they are useful in protecting your document comes from security researchers. Researchers from a security firm showed that they could disable PDF watermarks in Adobe Acrobat with a batch of zero-day vulnerabilities.

As a result, researchers said they managed to create a mechanism that disables key features of the PDF’s watermark by changing the shape of the watermark. The technique doesn’t require any code, therefore even sophisticated programs are not susceptible to it, and it can even be used in multiple PDFs, without using more than one vulnerability.

The vulnerability was successfully applied to document’s not only version 3.0.1832, but also to its beta 3.0.1839 and later versions. The fact that a weakness is in the PDF’s font was not overlooked either.

What are the benefits of using watermarks to help protect your documents?

For the most part, watermarks are considered a useful protection for documents, to deter others from copying or modifying them, but on their own, they are not an  effective option. There are many, and the fact that they cannot be easily circumvented has led to their use in the fields of graphic design, law, marketing, public relations, and publishing.

Whether you decide to incorporate watermarks in your files is not a good idea. Digital media is composed of many layers, some of which could be easily cropped, while others more difficult to scan. Many documents require watermarks because they are rich in text content, and the small watermark above the text provides a clue that the author had a point to make.

Moreover, watermarks can be used for design purposes, for example to mark the left margins of a document. The watermark may be animated, for example, when scanning it. There are many additional uses that can be explored.

The good news is that even if watermarks can be disabled, it does not mean that the author is finished. If there are a lot of documents or a lot of text, using only a small watermark becomes quite difficult, and there is a possibility that watermarks are simply not visible.

One of the most famous use of a tiny watermark seems to be of no use, and an even smaller watermark, in comparison, can reduce the impact of your document. Watermarks can also help prevent the spread of your document on public networks.

The element of the watermark could be considered both a security device and a warning sign. A person who is curious about the content of the document could treat it as an invitation, but the watermark makes it unlikely that this person will have the required skills to read the document without an advance.

The practice of encoding code to protect documents dates back to the days of coding typewriters and paper-based documents, which in a time when the news would spread without a trace was much more practical than the current system.

Another benefit of using a watermark in documents is that you can simply insert the code, say a question mark, or use an envelope-shaped code, and then remove the code before the presentation of the document, so there is no chance of it being altered or intercepted by a person without access to the password.

Dynamic Watermarks: Robust Security

This technology could be the solution that you have been waiting for.

Ways in which you can use dynamic watermarks include:

Once the document is created, the creator can choose the watermark parameters. There are hundreds of customizable options to choose from, including color, text, opacity, typeface, and frame rate, which makes it easy to get the best result.

The most popular use of dynamic watermarks seems to be in the digital imaging industry. Even the price for their use is relatively low, such as two dollars, but the results are usually very good, especially in the photographic field.

There are many industries that could benefit from this new technology, and many document managers have already begun to use them in their workplaces.

They have the added benefit of being different from other watermarks, but the digital format has brought another feature to the table. While the purpose of the older forms of watermarks was to be able to edit or change the content of a document, the watermark that you have to scan it to is one that can be modified or disappeared at any time without actually altering the content. This is an advantage in various circumstances.

Proper watermarks should secure both the document creator and the recipient. The more secure, the better. You can increase the protection of the document by adding more than one, and the idea that there are new and more secure watermarks is slowly becoming more common.

Of course, there will always be some people who are not careful with what they are printing, so the document provider needs to consider creating a watermark that will make it impossible to alter the content.

While the watermark can be more than that, one of the reasons that people can use it to defend their ideas is because it can do things like:

  • Remove text
  • Change color
  • The transition from one color to another
  • Transitions in time

This watermark technology can improve the security of the document and it will make it difficult for people to forge the content of the document in the first place, but it can also alert users that the document may contain sensitive information.

Authenticating the source and owner

Dynamic watermarks are just one of many solutions that are available to keep a document safe. Using these new technologies, document owners can create a proof of ownership for their documents, ensuring that no one else can alter the content.

The most popular use of authentication for a watermark today is to make sure that it has not been altered or forged and to authenticate it.

This can be done by displaying the watermark on top of the document in an easily identifiable way and it is easy to ensure that the document is authentic.

What to do when the document contains sensitive information?

Of course, this technology has many other uses as well. The information is stored in one specific place and can be accessed by a user at any time.

If the watermark is invisible, you will have to display the security code to the user.

The document creator can customize the security code and then add or remove it in response to questions or concerns, as well as access them from different devices.

Of course, the important thing is that the person with access to the document has to have an authenticated identity to be able to view the document.

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