Remember carbon paper for documents? For that matter, remember typewriters?
But the paper documents they produced helped American business, and life, move forward for generations.
Now it’s all digital. An email. A document file attached, notes
But is it trustworthy?
Can you really believe a digital document?
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is trying to make sure you can.
It has launched what it calls Safe Documents, a plan to make software good enough so that people can “detect and reject invalid or maliciously crafted input data, without impacting the key functionality of new and existing electronic data formats.”
The federal research agency explains.
“Today, the expeditious delivery of electronic documents, messages, and other data is relied on for everything from communications to navigation. As the near instantaneous exchange of information has increased in volume, so has the variety of electronic data formats – from images and videos to text and maps,” the agency says.
“Verifying the trustworthiness and provenance of this mountain of electronic information is an exceedingly difficult task as individuals and organizations routinely engage with data shared by unauthenticated and potentially compromised sources. Further, the software used to process electronic data is error-prone and vulnerable to exploitation through maliciously crafted data inputs, opening the technology and its underlying systems to compromise.”
The warning: “An attacker’s ability to deliver novel cyberattacks via electronic documents, messages, and streaming data formats appears unbounded, creating an unsustainable situation for software security.”
The result is SafeDocs.
“Allowing software to interact with untrusted electronic documents and messages is akin to downloading and running untrusted programs on your computer,” said Sergey Bratus, the program manager for SafeDocs.