Free, online PDF editors are attractive for many different reasons especially for new users or people unfamiliar with the file type. But are they safe? There are many different answers to that question. While online PDF editors offer users the ease of use and comfort of a versatile, all-in-one tool, they may also be susceptible to online attacks that may compromise their sensitive, private information. Many online PDF editors, however, can be downloaded and installed onto a device for offline use, which is much safer than using it in a browser format.
How to Check If An Online PDF Editor Is Safe?
The best way to check if an online PDF editor is safe is to make sure that:
- It is a reputable site that has a reputation for quality and safety
- It is a trusted partner of several well-known brands
- It has a clear safety and security policy posted on its website
- It does not use third-party servers that sell-off user data
Another way to ensure that an online PDF editor is safe is by making sure they have a clear and strict policy about deleting documents from their servers. Conversely, they should also have their own servers and not rely on third-party hosting, where your documents and data may be viewed by unauthorized persons.
Any worthwhile PDF editor should be upfront about its commitment to its users' privacy and security. But even if an online PDF text editor is upfront with its security policy and checks all the other boxes on the important safety considerations checklist, there are still risks associated with using a PDF editor app or website.
What are the Risks of Using an Online PDF Editor?
The most obvious risks of using an online PDF editor are:
- The vulnerability of your documents and, if applicable, your private data and confidential information
- Your private and confidential data being seen and stolen by unauthorized users
- Exposing your computer and local drive to malware and other viruses by using an online program
How Can I Protect Myself When Using an Online PDF Editor?
The best ways to protect your documents and private information when using an easy PDF editor online are:
- Use them only when editing or viewing documents that do not contain any sensitive or private information (invitations, diplomas, college papers, etc.)
- Make sure they have a clear policy of deleting all documents within a certain timeframe, at minimum two hours
- Download the program, if applicable, to your computer or device and use it offline, when not connected to the Internet in any way
A program like Lumin PDF is a good choice for the casual user to create new PDFs, while also offering a level of security to its users. Lumin is available for online use, but it is downloadable as well, so users can use it offline, away from prying eyes. Lumin lets users password-protect their documents so they remain secure even when uploaded to an external server.
Should I Use an Online PDF Editor?
Whether you should edit PDF files online depends on what kind of files you are uploading and editing. If you are an occasional user of PDF files and use them only for specific purposes like viewing or sending documents that do not contain any private or sensitive information, then online PDF editors are a good choice.
But if you and your organization rely on PDFs to send different, highly sensitive documents that contain important data, it would be best to buy desktop PDF editing software that comes with several layers of security to protect your important information. PDF editing software like Adobe Acrobat is ideal for financial, legal, and governmental bodies to create and send information both offline and online.