Digitally signed PDFs are used in contracts and invoices to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of their content. A user opening a signed PDF expects to see a warning in case of *any* modification. In 2019, Mladenov et al. revealed various parsing vulnerabilities in PDF viewer implementations. They showed attacks that could modify PDF documents without invalidating the signature. As a consequence, affected vendors of PDF viewers implemented countermeasures preventing *all* attacks.

This paper introduces a novel class of attacks, which we call *shadow* attacks. The *shadow* attacks circumvent all existing countermeasures and break the integrity protection of digitally signed PDFs. Compared to previous attacks, the *shadow* attacks do not abuse implementation issues in a PDF viewer. In contrast, *shadow* attacks use the enormous flexibility provided by the PDF specification so that *shadow* documents remain standard-compliant. Since *shadow* attacks abuse only legitimate features, they are hard to mitigate.

Our results reveal that 16 (including Adobe Acrobat and Foxit Reader) of the 29 PDF viewers tested were vulnerable to *shadow* attacks. We introduce our tool *PDF-Attacker* which can automatically generate *shadow* attacks. In addition, we implemented *PDF-Detector* to prevent *shadow* documents from being signed or forensically detect exploits after being applied to signed PDFs.

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