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I have some PDFs I want convert all to .exe files and put them into folder on my CD and my customers run .exe files instead of PDF and for security reasons.

so I have tried "pdf2exe" tools but I need something totally free. pdf2exe is evaluation version and there are some limitations.

Please tell me something free, I don't need complicated one, I just need encapsulating into .exe files.

In fact I don't want someone be able to save PDF document and I want to have Independent viewer on my CD.

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9  
OSX and Linux computers have a pdf viewer already installed and don't run .exe's Are all your customers Windows users and what security issue makes you use .exe rather than .pdf? –  Mark Feb 20 '11 at 22:25
    
I just googled for pdf2exe freeware there are some hits. But i really don't know if they are working because of the above comment. I'm running linux g If he feels the need for security through obscurity he is welcome to use it. @Mark At a first glance his idea seems for me a bit queer, too. But i guess he has a good reason for this. –  Darokthar Feb 20 '11 at 22:33
2  
Why not simply protect the PDFs to start with? What are your security concerns? –  user3463 Feb 21 '11 at 0:46
17  
So security got redefined? –  Manish Sinha Feb 21 '11 at 6:44

2 Answers 2

Making the point

Once the PDF (or anything for that matter) is displayed on the screen, there's no way to "secure" its data and avoid someone from saving / copying it in one way or another.

That being said, there are ways to make it (little) more difficult. While converting them to EXE is one of the options, it also brings way too many issues with it. One is security in another sense - EXE files are a target for virus developers because it's much much easier to code malware for them.

The problem people have with using the word security is because it's mostly associated with secure software. And Adobe Reader even brings some security holes from time to time. But it's a proper word to use, tho protection is more convenient.

There are many ways to "protect" the PDF files, below there are 3 popular options:

  • Passwords - but that won't help if you want to let people just look and not save / copy. Adobe Acrobat does it on Reader itself, and there are free options too.
  • Saving them as images - which will make it more difficult to copy and paste the text as text. That's dropping the OCR when you scan, converting PDF to image and back, stuff like that.
  • Using some "codec" (encoder / decoder) - Adobe even offers ways to add DRM, but they're all quite easily breakable. And third party softwares, such as LockLizard don't care too much about making software for mac and linux, so you lose one big advantage of PDFs which is on its name: Portability.

Now, get serious

The best way to safeguard your so important data from copying is just applying a copyright. Make your life simpler, leave it all in PDF, make a good copyright document and just let costumers know through a footnote all that is copyrighted. There, you're truly safe.

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5  
And end users could just as easily copy an EXE. –  Mechanical snail Aug 16 '12 at 1:39

.exe is less secure than just about anything because since it's executable, it's more easily infected. Malware, assuming it has the permission necessary to modify the file, can very simply just insert it's own code in the .exe, allowing it's code to execute before jumping to the code it replaced. Infecting data files requires the knowledge of a preexisting vulnerablility.

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I don't think because there are a few people who knows inserting or editing in .exe file in fact insert in .exe file is not important I need something to prevent save operation for pdf and if you said .exe is less secure is for professional people who knows inverse engineering –  kamiar3001 Feb 21 '11 at 17:37
    
@kamiar3001, to me, as an average programmer, opening a PDF file with the software which I can control (in particular, the source code of which I can audit) VS running an untrusted third-party executable code are heavenly different actions, security-wise. –  ulidtko Apr 29 at 13:58

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