Can I unmask the data if using the password option in text field properties?

Community Beginner ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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I am using Adobe Pro DC and noticed that the properties box for a text field has the option of "Password".  I tried it and really appreciate that the masking is done automatically.  My question is how do you go about unmasking it?  It seems like a useless feature to be able to hide data but have no recourse to unhide or view that data later.  Is this something that can be resolved by inserting a button with JavaScript to mask/unmask? 

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Acrobat SDK and JavaScript, Windows

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Most Valuable Participant , Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018
You need to be very very careful. You could be legally responsible if someone's SSN leaks out and is used for identity theft.Basically, I would say you shouldn't include it at all in a PDF file, as there's no fool-proof way of protecting it from a third-party who is willing enough to extract it.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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If you uncheck that box the value will return to its original state.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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Thanks!

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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Be aware that this setting is by no means a secure way of hiding information. One could easily extract it from the PDF...

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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Yes. I've seen that warning on several threads.  However, I'm being asked to hide (preferably) encrypt SSN and I really don't have any ideas on how to do that via PDF. Hiding them with an asterisk is a short term solution, but for the security of the data, I'd like to identify a better option.  Are you aware of any encryption methods I can check out?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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You need to be very very careful. You could be legally responsible if someone's SSN leaks out and is used for identity theft.

Basically, I would say you shouldn't include it at all in a PDF file, as there's no fool-proof way of protecting it from a third-party who is willing enough to extract it.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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That was my thought as well.  Thank you for confirming!

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 22, 2018 Aug 22, 2018

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Hiding is not encrypting. Encrypting safely inside a PDF is not exactly impossible,  but it’s impossible in practical terms for most people. So you need to focus on the security of the file as a whole. (In many countries ALL the personal info must be protected or you can face unlimited fines). So be sure that what you plan to do with the file is secure. For instance, do not even think of emailing it. Really, using a PDF form adds needless complexity and could add weaknesses an auditor might point out. Use a secure web form with a secure back end.

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