Index ¦ Archives ¦ RSS

Better PDF signature verification in Draw

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

Draw now has much better support for detecting unsigned incremental updates between signatures at the end of PDF documents. We now also make sure that incremental updates introduced for adding signatures really just add annotations and don’t change the actual content.


There has been a recent evaluation of PDF signature verification, which included Draw. While we got a checkmark on their Shadow Hide test, their Shadow Replace test found conditional problems and their Shadow Hide-and-Replace test was not happy, either.

So time to look at what are those corner-cases and how the situation can be improved, so people keep trusting that if Draw says a signature is valid, it’s indeed valid.

Results so far

There were 4 incremental improvements in this area:

These were enough so that talking to the authors of that evaluation now confirmed that these problems are all gone.

How is this implemented?

If you would like to know a bit more about how this works, continue reading… :-)

PDF signature verification works by using a custom PDF tokenizer. You can read about that code in the PDF tokenizer section of this post. The bottom line is that we now have both PDFium and this custom tokenizer, somewhat duplicating the functionality.

After talking to the PDFium developers (see the relevant mailing list thread), there were open regarding adding all the high level API to allow PDF signature verification based on PDFium, and not via our own tokenizer. See this header file for the set of relevant APIs added. A combinations of those allowed to adapt the code on our side and use PDFium for signature verification, not the own tokanizer.

Want to start using this?

You can get a snapshot / demo of Collabora Office and try it out yourself right now: try unstable snapshot. Collabora intends to continue supporting and contributing to LibreOffice, the code is merged so we expect all of this work will be available in TDF’s next release too (7.1).

© Miklos Vajna. Built using Pelican. Theme by Giulio Fidente on github.