Removing password from PDF files

Electronic billing statement is great. Paperless, easier to archive, and you don't need to care if you leave the house for a month or move addresses. But what's the most irritating thing about credit card e-statements? That the banks decide to encrypt the PDF with some easy-to-guess password like YYYYMMDD of your birth date, or FirstNameDDMMYY, or some other variation. But each bank picks a different password, naturally.

So the first thing I do after downloading an e-statement is to run them through my remove-pdf-password script. It's basically a wrapper for "qpdf" and will try a series of passwords, then decrypt the PDF in-place. You put the passwords in ~/.config/remove-pdf-password.conf, e.g.:

passwords = PASS1  ; anz
passwords = PASS2  ; hsbc
passwords = PASS2  ; uob

The script is distributed with the App::PDFUtils distribution. There's the counterpart script in the distribution, add-pdf-password, in case you want to return the favor. The next time some bank staff requests your documents, you can send them in an email encrypted. In the email you write, "the password is the name of the bank followed by the phone number of the bank, but replace every f with f*ckyou …"


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