IBM PCs add extra security to Adobe Acrobat 6.0

Adobe Systems has tweaked the cryptography features in its Acrobat 6.0 software to let users take advantage of a security chip included with IBM's newer notebook and desktop computers, the companies said Thursday.

Documents created with Adobe's PDF (portable document format) can already make use of PKI (public key infrastructure) technologies that allow users to add a digital signature to a form or control who can open it. Adding support for IBM's hardware-based Embedded Security Subsystem is supposed to boost that level of security further.

Businesses who use the technologies together can be more certain that the sender of a document is who he or she claims to be, and that the contents of the document haven't been altered during delivery, the companies said. These are important requirements as more and more businesses turn to digital documents in place of paper forms, they said.

Digital certificates are buried inside IBM's security hardware, making them harder for a hacker to get at than if they were stored on an unprotected hard drive. The IBM system can be bolstered further by requiring authentication from a fingerprint scan or a smart card, for example, the companies said.

Acrobat 6.0 began shipping in May in its professional and standard editions, priced at US$449 and $299, respectively, or $149 and $99 for upgrades.

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