On 10th May 2023, WhizComms (a Home Fibre Broadband Provider in Singapore) reported that it has informed its customers about a breach in its web server which had resulted in a 3rd party stealing its customers’ information. Information like the customers’ personal information like Personal IDs, work permits as well as tenancy agreements was downloaded by the attacker.

 

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Therefore, the question will be how well protected are the stored documents in the event that one’s web server’s security has been breached. The first answer would be “We can always set password protection on the document” but is it enough? Are there any other methods of document security protection that we can implement? The answer would be YES, THERE IS. It is called Document Encryption. So what is Document Encryption? How is it compared to password Protection?

This article is to discuss Password Protection and Document Encryption

FeaturePassword ProtectionDocument Encryption
Mechanism of ProtectionPassword protection involves setting a unique password to restrict access to a document. The password acts as a virtual lock, requiring the correct combination to gain entry. It provides a layer of defense against unauthorized access, relying on the secrecy and complexity of the password.Document encryption converts the contents of a document into an unreadable format using complex algorithms. Encryption ensures that the data remains secure by rendering it indecipherable without the appropriate decryption key. It provides a higher level of protection, as the encrypted data cannot be accessed even if unauthorized parties gain access to the file.
Level of SecurityWhile password protection can add an extra layer of security, it may be susceptible to password-cracking techniques such as brute-force attacks or social engineering. The strength of the password plays a crucial role in determining the level of security. Weak passwords or poor password management practices can undermine the effectiveness of password protection.Document encryption offers a higher level of security compared to password protection. Encrypted documents are significantly more challenging to decrypt without the correct decryption key. Encryption provides robust data confidentiality, protecting against unauthorized access and data breaches. It is particularly effective in securing highly sensitive information.
Data Accessibility and UsabilityPassword protection is relatively convenient and straightforward to implement. Authorized individuals can access the document by entering the correct password. However, if the password is forgotten or lost, access to the document may be permanently restricted. Password-protected documents can be accessed and used without additional decryption steps once the password is provided.Document encryption adds an additional step to the process of accessing and using the document. The encrypted file must be decrypted using the appropriate decryption key before it can be accessed. This extra layer of security ensures that only authorized individuals with the decryption key can view and utilize the document. However, this additional step may introduce some inconvenience, especially when sharing or collaborating on encrypted documents.
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