Many a time you receive a document that could be dangerous. It may carry a malicious code that could execute on your computer. While Windows Defender or any other security software warns about external documents, at times, you may need to open it. If that is the case, you can use the Dangerzone software to convert potentially dangerous PDFs, documents, and images to Safe PDF.
Note: Hardware-assisted virtualization and data execution protection must be enabled in the BIOS for it to work. Check if your computer supports virtualization.
Convert potentially dangerous PDFs, documents & images to Safe PDF
If you are wondering why you would even want to do it? Let’s say you have received a document from a trusted source, but you are being warned about its authenticity. However, the document you know has information and is essential. That’s where you use it. We are not recommending you download documents from SPAM emails or from anywhere you don’t trust, and use it.
Dangerzone software opens these types of documents in a Sandbox using Windows Docker Desktop. Sandboxing makes sure that even if a code is executed, it does not get access to system files and other core areas of Windows OS. Once it is open, Dangerzone will convert the document into a PDF file. It then further convert the PDF into raw pixel data: a massive list of RGB color values for each page. Then, in a separate sandbox, Dangerzone takes this pixel data and converts it back into a PDF.
If read through clearly, there are two sandboxes. The first opens the data, and convert into PDF into raw pixel data. Then the second box takes the RAW pixel data and converts it into PDF again. The method makes sure any malware or code is removed, and only the text or image part is rendered.
Since the Docker software only works in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you cannot use it on the Windows Home version. That’s one drawback. Those who do not know about the Docker, then it uses OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers. The containers are isolated and have their own set of software.
How to use DangerZone to create Safe PDF
Download and install the software from the official GitHub Page. During the installation, you will be prompted to download Docker. Once you download it, install it, and resume back the software installation. Once you are through it, launch DangerZone, and follow the steps as below:
- Select the file using the file picker, and then check each of the boxes available as per your requirement.
- Enter the file name with which you want to save the Safe PDF file. You can use the save as button to select the destination path.
- Choose how you want to open the PDF document.
- If you want to use OCR, then select the language
- Click on Convert to Safe Document, and the anything unsafe in the document will be removed.
- There is no network access in Sandbox. So there is no way for the software to connect to the external network.
- Dangerzone can OCR the Safe PDF, and also compress the file.
- You can open the PDF file in the viewer of your choice.
- Type of documents that Dangerzone can convert into safe PDFs
- PDF (
- Microsoft Word (
.doc), Microsoft Excel (
.xls), and Microsoft PowerPoint (
- ODF Text (
.odt), ODF Spreadsheet (
.ods), ODF Presentation (
.odp) and ODF Graphics (
- Jpeg (
.jpeg), GIF (
.gif), PNG (
.png) and TIFF (
- PDF (
DangerZone is beneficial security software. It makes sure that potentially dangerous PDFs, documents, and images are converted into Safe PDF and do not infect your computer. Since Windows offers you to run these files, with consent, it is dangerous. Opening these files in Docker makes sure you are safe. You can download it from Github.