Get access to detailed technical information about Acrobat and Reader's security functionality here. The information is intended to help developers, administrators, and end users in enterprise environments. Learn to deploy, configure, and use the Acrobat family of products in digital signatures, encryptions, and other security-related workflows.
Acrobat and Reader also provide a variety of features for integrating 3rd party security products, custom plugins, and customized business processes. These integration points include security handlers for LiveCycle policies and password security, digital ID and certificate, and APIs for digital signatures PKCS#11, MSCAPI, JavaScript, as well as others.
Administrator and technical user guides
To view a list of security-related documentation, click one of the links below or go to the Security Documentation Library. While these guides may be of interest to developers, they are primarily intended for enterprise users in need of configuring and using clients in an enterprise environment.
Available guides by version
Security Administration Guide
Document Security User Guide
Digital Signature User Guide
Sharing Settings & Data Guide (+FDF)
N/A                  8.X                  9.X
N/A                  8.X                  9.X
N/A                  8.X                  9.X
N/A                  8.X                  9.X
Client deployment, configuration, and management
Choosing and using one of the three default security methods
Authoring signable PDFs, signing, and validating signatures
Importing and exporting security settings and data and using FDF files
Signature and Security Quick Starts
N/A                  N/A                9.X
One page guides and keys describing security-related features
Specifications and developer documentation
Explore the structure of cross-domain policy files, used by a growing number of Adobe products (including Flash, Acrobat, and Adobe Reader), to permit the sharing of data by client-side applications across domains—providing administrators with the ability to fine-tune client access and communications at the server level.
Adobe (Jan 22, 2010)
Know the guidelines for programmatic generation of standardized appearances for signatures in PDF documents. Check out earlier versions.
Adobe (May 05, 2008)
Use Forms Data Format (FDF) files to send and share various types of data among users, system administrators, and servers.
Adobe (Feb 12, 2007)
Get access to build properties dictionary of the signature dictionary that third-party software applications use to create signatures.
Adobe (Dec 07, 2006)
Adobe Acrobat Digital Signature Path Validation for NIST Compliance Test Outline (updated for Acrobat 9)
Adobe Acrobat validates a digital signature in accordance with the X.509 standard and RFC 3280. This document is intended for anyone interested in evaluating Acrobat compliance with those features. The document includes test files for those interested in repeating the tests.
Adobe (Apr 20, 2009)
Windows (ZIP, 18.79M)
Mac OS (SITX, 12.71M)
Linux (TGZ, 18.79M)
Technical white papers
Get an overview of the security model for Flash Player compatible content playing inside Acrobat and Adobe Reader.
Get the description of digital signature features supported by PDF, how digital signatures are represented in a PDF document, and how they solve the need for trusted documents and signatures.
Get the description of Acrobat's implementation of PDF language features and how Acrobat validates digital signatures.
Get guidelines, as developers, to develop a Cryptographic Service Provider (CSP) for use with Acrobat on the Windows® platform. The CSP makes it possible for MSCAPI-compliant applications to access digital IDs through an API.
More about security