Properly removing sensitive information
Please forgive any missing images or edits from our blog archives.
Yesterday, another incident occurred where an electronic document was published but its sensitive information was not properly removed. Read more about it and the right way to remove sensitive information from a PDF file after the break…
On TechCrunch yesterday appeared a post about what can happen when a user tries to remove sensitive content from an electronic document but does not use the correct methods or tools. As a result, more information can be revealed than you intend and the consequences can range from embarrassment to something more serious.
As readers of this blog will note, this is not a new topic. We’ve discussed it before as well as provided videos and seminars (see here and here), articles, and documentation regarding the correct way to remove content. Starting in Acrobat 8 (in November 2006) and continuing in our current version, Acrobat 9, the product has provided two tools to directly address this need. Redaction is a tool that can permanently remove any visible information you see on your PDF document (such as text, images or scanned content). Rather than covering the content, the tool completely removes the content from the document. In addition, it gives you the option of showing an indicator (such as a black bar or a label) so the recipient knows that content has been removed.
Another Acrobat tool is Examine Document, which can remove any content that may be hidden yet still present in your document (such as metadata, comments or file attachments). Again, this content is permanently removed.
Our goal in this regard with Acrobat is to give you a set of tools that you can use to confidently and completely remove sensitive content from PDF files. We realize that there can be real business or security consequences when an organization publishes content that reveals more than what is intended.
If you have thoughts, please let us know.
Dave Stromfeld, Acrobat Product Manager