How to enable FIPS mode in Acrobat and Reader 8.1

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The FIPS 140 standard is applicable to all U.S. Federal agencies that use cryptographic-based security systems to protect sensitive information in computer and telecommunication systems as defined in Section 5131 of the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-106.

Version 8.1 of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader on Windows provide a FIPS mode to restrict data protection to FIPS 140-2 approved algorithms (RSA/AES/SHA) using the embedded RSA BSAFE Crypto-C 2.1 encryption module.

Note the following restrictions in FIPS mode:

* You can use public key certificates or Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management to secure the document, but you cannot use password encryption to protect the document. You can still open and view documents that are protected with non-FIPS compliant algorithms, but you cannot save any changes to the document using password security.

* In FIPS mode, you cannot create self-signed certificates as local PKCS#12 files.

To Configure FIPS mode on your Windows PC

Create a new DWORD Value called bFIPSMode in the registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/SOFTWARE/Adobe/Adobe Acrobat/8.0/AVGeneral
With DWORD value set to 1 to enable FIPS mode

For information on deploying customized versions of Acrobat and Reader in your organization, read Solutions for IT professionals

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Posted on 06-05-2007