Password Protection

Probably one of the most controversial security features in AutoCAD 2006 is Password Protection (originally introduced in AutoCAD 2004). Basically, this feature allows a user to lock a drawing file with a password to prevent unwanted people from opening and viewing or modifying it. It's an all-or-nothing feature in that the drawing is either completely locked or completely unlocked; no intermediate locking capability exists (such as locking layers or permitting viewing but not modifying or printing, as is possible with products such as Adobe Acrobat). This quotes Autodesk:

When you password-protect a drawing, you encrypt the drawing, altering it with a secret code. A password-protected or encrypted drawing can only be opened by someone who knows the correct password.

Additionally, Autodesk says this:

Warning! If you lose the password, it is not recoverable. Before you add a password, you should create a backup that is not protected with a password.

You can disable Password Protection during installation, which is how most sites with large numbers of users handle this.

If you decide to employ this feature, you should know that it is indeed secure. In addition to setting a unique password, you can configure other options for the encryption method. From the GUI interface, you must enter a default password in the password entry box in order to access the Advanced Options button, which opens the Advanced Options dialog box shown in Figure 17-2. Quite a few options are available.

ilfi- Advanced Options

■Jote: Encryption providers vary depending on operating system and country. Before changing rie ¡ncryption provider you should confirm that the intended recipient of this drawing has a computer *vith the encryption provider you choose

Choose an encryption provider:


Infineon SICRYPT Base Smart Card CSP


Microsoft Base Cryptographie Provider vl.O


Microsoft Base DSS and Diffie-Hellman Cryptographic Provider

Choose a key length ; jqij ,


Choose a key length ; jqij ,


Figure 17-2. The Advanced Options dialog box

From a programmatic aspect, the same object model applies to password locking (aka encryption) as to digital certificates. In fact, it uses the same SecurityParams object to provide the interface for saving an encrypted drawing.

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