Q&A: Digital signatures and use cases for Adobe CDS

Steve Duncan is the Director of Entrust Certificate Services. Entrust Certificates for Adobe CDS enable organizations to use digital signatures to sign Adobe PDF files with confidence. Recipients feel more confident by seeing the visual trust indicators that verify who published the document and whether it has been altered.

With malicious PDF files getting media attention, it’s only a matter of time before attackers devise more sophisticated attacks. In the wake of such potential issues, how important is the validation of PDF authenticity for a large organization?
Organizations are motivated to get processes online. It’s an obvious way to reduce costs, reduce carbon footprints, and provide data faster. The recent news of malicious code in PDF files is worrisome to organizations, but not as worrisome as the opportunities to “phish” emails containing fake PDF documents. It’s relatively easy for a hacker to create false letters, statements, invoices, etc. with the requisite logos, and branding. Once this happens, consumer confidence in Adobe PDF files will drop dramatically. So if companies and consumers had a way to publicly validate the creator of the PDF every time it’s opened, confidence is bound to go up and online efforts will have a faster ROI.

What products does Entrust Certificates for Adobe CDS work with?
Entrust’s Adobe CDS certificates are designed to work with two types of products. An individual would use Adobe Acrobat to digitally sign documents on an ad hoc basis. Typical users would be lawyers signing legal documents, real estate agents signing offers, or architects signing drawings. A group or an enterprise that wishes to sign many documents in bulk would work with Adobe Live Cycle to sign in high volume. Entrust Certificates are offered in differing formats based on the volumes of signatures, the method used to sign, and the type of signer.

In which format are Entrust Certificates for Adobe CDS available?
Adobe CDS certificates are available for individuals on a secure USB token that ensures it cannot be copied. Enterprises may choose to purchase certificates that get installed on secure HSM devices.

What are the benefits of using Entrust Certificates for Adobe CDS?
In short, CDS certificates provide TRUST. When individuals trust the source of information being sent, they are more likely to use and rely on that information. Organizations that want to move processes online depend on recipients having trust to help them realize the ROI of their products.

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