Posts in Category "Digital Signatures and PKI"

“Sign here…” Getting started with electronic signatures in Adobe products

This is the latest entry in our “What is an Electronic Signature, Anyway?” series.  You can find previous entries here.

Recently, I’ve received a number of emails from our users asking questions about electronic signatures, so I thought it would be useful to briefly answer some of these frequently asked questions and also direct you, dear reader, to a variety of resources here at Adobe that can help.

First, I recommend you read the other blog entries in our “What is an Electronic Signature, Anyway? “ series to better understand the terminology and issues surrounding electronic signatures.

Now onto the questions…

I want to electronically sign a PDF—what do I need to do?

There are lots of different ways to electronically ‘sign’ documents, but they vary in terms of reliability, longer-term validity, and application.

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“Click on this…” Adobe’s eSubmissions Solution Accelerator Shows Off Click-thru Approvals & Signatures

Electronic signatures come in many shapes and sizes, and for a long time, Adobe has been primarily associated with three of those sub-types—digital signatures, certification signatures, and handwritten eSignatures based on solutions from our Security Partner Community—due to our comprehensive coverage of, and capability for, those technologies.  However, customers and partners do not often associate us with click-thru approvals and electronic signatures, where a user authenticates to a website, reviews a document, and then is allowed to approve or reject said document with a simple click of a button.

Actually, Adobe has supported this capability for some time within our LiveCycle ES product line, but the capability was spread across components that can prepare documents for review (PDF Generator, Output, Reader Extensions, Forms), move documents along a workflow (Process Management), present documents for review, comment, and approval (Workspace), and then sign (Digital Signatures) and archive (Content Services) or further process those documents for storage, submission, etc. 

The challenge of piecing together these components was not lost on Adobe, and last year we started working on Solution Accelerators–sample code and tooling that brings together task-oriented building blocks composed of LiveCycle components.  More than a proof-of-concept, but less than complete production code, Solution Accelerators can be used by a customer or systems integrator to bring projects to fruition in a much shorter timeframe, while providing for flexibility in the final implementation. 

The eSubmissions Solution Accelerator, released this Spring, shows how LiveCycle can be used to present documents for review, commenting, & approval in parallel or serial workflows, and incorporates the capability to not only sign with traditional digital signatures or handwritten electronic signatures, but also via authenticated click-thru approvals and server-side signing and certification functions.  Download the demonstration video here.  Unlike other click-thru solutions on the market, this Solution Accelerator shows the breadth and depth of Adobe’s offering, providing for compliance with electronic signature regulations around the world.

 

While this Solution Accelerator was designed for the biopharmaceutical market, it can easily be repurposed for contract approvals, financial services transactions, and the like—this is one of the benefits of the Solution Accelerator approach. Moreover, eSubmissions demonstrates Adobe’s intent to provide users with a best-in-class experience when it comes to electronic documents and workflows.  There’s no longer any reason to print an electronic document just for review and signature…Adobe provides a one-stop shop for a full range of electronic signature and approval capabilities.

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Seven Technology Habits of Highly Effective CFOs

Recently, Adobe executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer Mark Garrett presented a keynote at the CFO Rising conference, sponsored by CFO Magazine. Speaking to a ballroom full of senior finance executives, Mark outlined the “Seven Technology Habits of Highly Effective CFOs” and utilized several case study examples to illustrate his points.

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DoD Certification of Acrobat and Reader 9

The United States Department of Defense Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) has certified both Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader version 9…

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Acrobat and Reader 9.1 Now Available with Information Assurance Updates

Version 9.1 of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader are now available with critical security updates and other product improvements. Adobe strongly recommends all users update using the built-in software update system or manual download from adobe.com. Here are some additional details on this release:

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Please Sign Here…” and Help Us Develop the Best Electronic Signature Features in the Industry

If you have (and use) an electronic signature credential, and are interested in helping Adobe craft the next generation of Adobe Acrobat, Reader, and LiveCycle products and signature features, we are offering you the ability to participate in an Electronic Signature Survey.

There are three parts to this Survey.  The first part asks you to sign a signature field with your signature credential.  The second asks you a series of questions about your use of electronic signatures, and the third concerns technical details about your signature credential. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  All information you provide as part of the Electronic Signature Survey will only be used to test the compatibility of Adobe’s LiveCycle ES, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader products with the signatures collected by way of this Electronic Signature Survey and to understand the ways in which signatures are used in our products, helping guide Adobe’s electronic signature product strategy.   Adobe will retain the information you submit as part of the Electronic Signature Survey as long as reasonably necessary but solely for testing and product development purposes as noted above.  The information you provide as part of the Electronic Signature Survey will not be publicly disclosed.  If at any time you wish to have the information you submit via the Electronic Signature Survey removed from Adobe’s database, please send an email to signaturesurvey@adobe.com

All information submitted by you is subject to Adobe’s Online Privacy Policy located at:  http://www.adobe.com/misc/privacy.html.

Download the Survey here.  Thank you for participating! 

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Packaging options for encrypted PDFs

Since Acrobat 2.0 in 1994, encryption has been available to protect a PDF document – restricting who can open it and what they can subsequently do with it. Today, there are a number of packaging options for distributing one or more protected PDF files.

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Digital Certificate Veteran Entrust Joins Certified Document Services (CDS) Program

Following on the heels of a number of successful customer deployments, Adobe is proud to welcome another respected organization to the CDS Program.  Entrust announced today they have joined the CDS Program and will begin offering certificates under its auspices in early 2009.  This will bring to five the number of CAs in the program, along with ChosenSecurity, GlobalSign, Keynectis, and VeriSign.

CDS makes creating and receiving authentic documents easier by not requiring a recipient to explicitly trust the author of the document.  CDS signatures automatically validate in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader 6.0 and above, providing integrity and long-term assurance to electronic documents of record.  Providers involved in the CDS Program are required to meet stringent requirements for identity vetting, security, and operations.

According to Entrust’s President and CEO Bill Conner:

While electronic documents are an efficient method to do business, until recently they lacked the security necessary to be accepted for official enterprise use.  With the advent of this standard and the specialized certificates, organizations can be confident that electronic documents are authentic and have not been tampered with or altered.

Read more about CDS here.


To learn more about Adobe’s security partner ecosystem, visit the Adobe Security Partner Community!

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News from Adobe’s Security Partner Community: Significant GlobalSign Customer Announcements Buoy CDS Program

Since its induction into the Adobe Certified Document Services (CDS) Program, GlobalSign has been very busy working to build a customer base eager to leverage the native trust and assurance that CDS brings to any recipient opening a CDS digitally signed PDF document in Adobe Acrobat or Reader 6.0 and above.  That work has paid off in three separate customer announcements this year, including one just released today:

  • December 8, 2008: In partnership with Adobe and SafeNet, GlobalSign today announced the success of the Antwerp Port Authority project.  This port is the second largest in Europe and the fourth largest in the world.  Looking to save time and money by eliminating paper invoices, and required by law to provide for the integrity and authenticity of the resulting electronic invoices for value-added taxes (VAT), the Port of Antwerp deployed a solution combining:
    • LiveCycle ES document generation and digital signature servers;
    • DocumentSign CDS digital certificates from GlobalSign; and
    • SafeNet hardware security modules (HSMs) to protect the signing keys themselves.

    “We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of projects across the whole of Europe in recent months as the worldwide economic climate causes enterprises both large and small to re-evaluate their invoicing processes to drive down costs and remain competitive.  DocumentSign is not only a cost effective and easy solution for businesses to use, but is also compliant with European e-VAT legislation.”  -Steve Roylance, Business Development Director, GlobalSign.

  • May 2008: At the annual National Notary Association conference, GlobalSign announced the positive results of a pilot undertaken with the UK Notaries Society in which the cost efficiency and legal admissibility of eNotarization performed with GlobalSign CDS credentials was well-documented.
  • May 2008: Bodycote, a leading provider of testing and thermal processing services, announced  that it had selected GlobalSign’s DocumentSign program, based on CDS credentials, to certify its test data and reports.  With this solution Bodycote can provide results to its clients in PDF form, confident in the both the accuracy and integrity of the data contained within. 

    “DocumentSign services our security requirements but is also instantly deployable and very scalable – essential factors for rolling out a solution that can be easily understood by every person in the reliance chain.  For our clients’ customers, they simply open the test results in [R]eader.”
    Alan Slater, Head of IS & IT Architecture, Bodycote

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Acrobat 9 and password encryption

Based on some recent online discussion of Acrobat 9 and password encryption, we’re posting to provide a quick summary on what has changed, how it impacts the overall security of PDF documents, and Adobe’s commitment to providing high-assurance document security implementations.

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