Skip to main content

IBM and Adobe Put a Padlock on Digital Documents

Collaborative Technology Secures Documents in a Paperless World

Select a topic or year


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - 10 Jul 2003: IBM and Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that new cryptography capabilities in the Adobe® Acrobat® 6.0 software family take advantage of the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem on select models of ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops, creating some of the most secure digital documents available.

Combining IBM PC-based encryption with new Acrobat 6.0 capabilities will help businesses maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of documents in an increasingly paperless environment. Leveraging the IBM security chip for personal computers, Adobe's recently announced Acrobat 6.0 enables users of Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files to add digital signatures and document control using a cryptography system known as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The IBM Embedded Security Subsystem uses a hardware-based security chip and downloadable security software to take this PKI capability to another level. This combination of software and hardware provides some of the most secure protection available, authentication that the document originated from the actual person who sent it, and that the content of the document has not been altered, manipulated, or shared inappropriately.

For instance, an insurance claims adjuster investigating an automobile accident can fill out a report in the field using Acrobat 6.0 and an IBM ThinkPad notebook, digitally sign the form with credentials in a digital certificate, and send the form to headquarters. Because of the new solution enabled by Acrobat, the headquarters office can trust that the document came from that particular adjuster, that content in the document is unaltered, and that all information is protected in transit to ensure customer privacy. Furthermore, if the adjuster's notebook is lost or stolen, the client's information is still encrypted and protected on the hard disk.

Because the digital certificates used with PKI can be accessible and vulnerable on an unprotected hard drive or floppy disk, customers can use IBM's Embedded Security Subsystem to further protect digital documents created, accessed or sent using Acrobat 6.0 by securely storing digital certificates with the hardware-based security chip -- hiding the private security credentials of the digital certificate from hackers.

Additionally, IBM's Embedded Security Subsystem can be configured to require that the author of an Adobe PDF document meet certain predetermined criteria before it will allow the user to digitally sign or open a document. This authentication criteria could include requirements such as a fingerprint, passphrase or smart card. Authentication criteria help protect electronic documents even if the PC they reside on is stolen.

"Acrobat 6.0 is a major milestone to enable PC users to create documents that can be trusted," said Harry Vitelli, vice president of Business Development, Adobe. ""By working with IBM to integrate Acrobat 6.0 with IBM's Embedded Security Subsystem, our companies are enabling a higher level of security for business professionals whether they're in the office or on the road."

Security Solutions at a Variety of Levels

While IBM has pioneered the design of an on-board security chip to provide hardware protection for keys and encryption functions, other manufacturers have announced "security patches" consisting of Windows 2000 user settings preconfigured to guard against common intrusion attempts. Most IT departments already include these settings in standard software images. Security experts agree that a combined hardware and software solution as offered by IBM is far better protection than software configurations alone.

Because organizations and users require varying levels of security, IBM helps customers identify what risks they face in order to find a solution that matches their needs. IBM offers customers an extremely broad array of PC and network security solutions. This wide range of security solutions includes password software, such as IBM's Password Manager, which replaces multiple passwords with a single passphrase; a removable Gemplus GemPC400 Compact Smart Card Read/Writer from IBM, enabling smart card authentication; and biometric devices, such as a PC card fingerprint reader.

Adobe Continues Momentum for IBM Security Alliances

Today's announcement with Adobe builds on a long list of successful security relationships that IBM's Personal Computing Division has formed with industry-leading technology companies, including Cisco, Check Point and Entrust. These relationships have created solutions that protect information on a PC, authenticate users, and help ensure secure wired and wireless communications and transactions.

For example, IBM enhanced Cisco's wireless protocol, LEAP, by protecting log-in information. In partnership with Entrust, IBM uses the Embedded Security Subsystem to help secure encryption and decryption keys used with Entrust's PKI-enabled applications. With Check Point, the IBM security subsystem has strengthened VPN and firewall technologies, helping to maintain the integrity of the corporate network.

Industry Leadership and Expertise

IBM is a founding member of the Trusted Computing Group, which is committed to industry-wide security initiatives that create additional privacy, trust and confidence in computing. IBM was the first in the industry to ship PCs compliant with TCG's standards-based security architecture. Since IBM began shipping personal computers equipped with embedded security almost four years ago, IBM has received numerous patents for security technologies, listened to thousands of customers and been involved in the creation of industry standards organizations for security. IBM has determined that the network infrastructure is at risk if end-user PCs are not protected. The PC is the first point of entry to the network infrastructure. If those machines are not secure, the network is easily accessible and data and intellectual capital is at risk.

The IBM Embedded Security Subsystem is an example of the ThinkVantage

Technologies, a set of tools designed to help customers reduce their IT costs. ThinkVantage Technologies help customers manage their networks, secure their information assets, and simplify wireless deployment.

###

IBM, ThinkPad, and ThinkVantage Technologies are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corp.

Adobe and Acrobat are trademarks or registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Related XML feeds
Topics XML feeds
Business partners
Business partner information including strategic alliances
Software
Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source