Adobe and IBM join to boost PDF security

Friday, 11 July 2003, 12:41 PM EST

IBM is expected to announce a partnership with software maker Adobe Systems on Thursday to boost security in documents created with Adobe's Acrobat software.

Forms and other documents created in the portable document format (PDF) used by Acrobat will be able to tap into the security chip included on all recent IBM desktop and notebook PCs. Among other purposes, IBM's "embedded security subsystem" can be used to store the electronic-signature data, providing an extra level of security compared to more typical systems that store signatures on a PC's hard drive.

"The fundamental value of that security chip is that it can be used to create a secure repository on that PC to protect any kind of information... including digital signatures," said Stacy Cannady, product manager for client security at IBM. "If you put that kind of information on the hard drive somewhere, there's a possibility people can find it and steal it. If you use the security chip, it's the same thing as picking up that chip and taking it with you."

Adobe has added a wealth of new interactive features to the latest version of Acrobat, including support for adding digital signatures to forms and other PDF documents.

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