How do I share a newsletter online securely in PDF?
April 18, 2006 10:56 PM   Subscribe

What is any easy way to securely share a newsletter online to my fellow club members?This would entail 100 members downloading 20-30 mb newsletters quarterly.

I just became editor for my caving club and for a couple of reasons I want to start making the PDF available online to the members. The newsletter will still be sent out in a print version but if the PDF downloads are well received, I may be able to convert to that method fully.

Can I run a FTP on my own system and is that secure if viable? Would I have to make a webpage to use a FTP? At the very least I only need the download url and the club logo. The newsletters have information on cave locations so we DO NOT want the general public accessing them.I was going to try to use one of the online free services but I was concerned about security.

Thank for any replies

posted by plumberonkarst to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Zip up the PDFs with a password that changes each quarter. Then send out the password in your quarterly mailing. This way you can put up the newsletter publicly and you don't have to teach anyone how to negotiate a FTP server.

Of course, if your quarterly mailing is double super secret, you'll probably want to stick with something more secure like FTP. But this should be sufficient to keep the casual visitor out of your files.
posted by junesix at 11:12 PM on April 18, 2006

Best answer: Can I run a FTP on my own system and is that secure if viable?
Yes, but SFTP is probably a more secure way to go.

Would I have to make a webpage to use a FTP?
Not if you have some other way of letting people know where the ftp site is and what login/pass to use.
posted by juv3nal at 11:16 PM on April 18, 2006

Yahoo groups?
posted by oxonium at 11:41 PM on April 18, 2006

You could encrypt the files using GPG and simply mail them or put them up on a website somewhere. An added bonus of this is that you can sign the files so your recipients can be sure that you really are the sender.

The downside is that your recipients need to install GPG and most likely some graphical front-end as well.

FTP and passworded ZIP files should not be considered secure against any but the most undetermined attacker.
posted by rycee at 11:45 PM on April 18, 2006

Nevermind, sorry.
posted by oxonium at 11:47 PM on April 18, 2006

Best answer: My suggestion would be to try to get the file sizes down; the Adobe Distiller settings (assuming that's what you're using) give you a lot of options for compressing things to reduce the file sizes. If you can get them under 10MB, I'd suggest just e-mailing them to everybody. I e-mail a quarterly newsletter to a few hundred people (and mail it to a few thousand), and the version sent by e-mail is typically one-quarter the size of the version I send to the printers.

No matter how secure your method of delivery is, there's nothing preventing a rogue member of the group from releasing in the information. Also, chances are that if you put a lot of security into the access of the file(s), you're going to eliminate a large number of people from accessing the newsletter. Most computer users wouldn't have a clue how to use FTP or encryption software, but they'll be able to double-click on a PDF in an e-mail.
posted by gwenzel at 5:37 AM on April 19, 2006

Best answer: Actually you can set a user-level password on the PDF itself. The user-level security requires a password to open & view the document. You can set the password during production through Adobe Distiller or set it after you've the PDF through Adobe Acrobat. Beginning with Acrobat 5.0-compatibility, it's a 128-bit RC4 cipher and gets stronger in Acrobat 7.0-compatibility with a 128-bit AES cipher. I've Googled around the password cracker programs and none have the ability to get past the 128-bit user-level password or its implementation.

In Acrobat, you set the password by going through File > Document Properties and setting Security Method to "Password Security".
posted by junesix at 7:32 AM on April 19, 2006

Response by poster: I am new to this (PDF making) and I think if I can figure out the distiller you mention ,emailing would be by far the easist!Thank you very much

BTW Our members are very vigilant and have had a lot of pre scrutiny so cave locations rarely get compromised..fortunately!
posted by plumberonkarst at 7:35 PM on April 19, 2006

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