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What encourages StarForce to protect XML files

Artur Khodjaev
Artur Khodjaev
Partnership Manager
12 Oct 2018

Since 2000 StarForce has been specializing in protection audio/video files and text information in various formats such as TXT, RTF, DOC, DOCX, HTML, PDF and much more. However, none of companies has offered to protect XML documentation. Let's consider in details what XML files are, why they need to be protected and how protection was first created for a such format.

What xml documents are and why they need

XML is an extensible textual markup language based on a convenient and easy to read syntax consisting of tags and attributes. XML is similar to HTML. One of the main differences is that XML was designed to carry data - with focus on what data is. XML is commonly used for storing databases. XML documents are formed as element trees. The main feature of XML document is readability. Even without additional tools, XML files can be simply opened. If you skim over their content, you easily figure out what instructions are inside. Today XML format is widely used in many information systems as the main format for exchanging data. Confidential information such as crucial information about transactions, technical documentation, trade secrets and so on can be easily transmitted through XML documents. Therefore, it is necessary to provide reliable protection for such sort of files.

What encouraged StarForce to protect XML files

Once a customer that is manufacturer of equipment (unfortunately, the name of this company cannot be disclosed since it is a commercial secret) requested StarForce to protect a package of documents intended for a major sale of equipment. Standard file formats were not suitable for storing and transferring customer’s technical documentation while XML format was the only suitable one.

By the way, not only this customer but other companies often need to transfer valuable XML information outside the organization and to keep XML content available only to a certain number of people, at the same time. 

Our client further exports the equipment. It turned out that manufacturers of unique equipment often provide the client with technical documentation according to which the equipment is produced. Therefore, the information in XML files along with the other file formats contains commercial secrets. If such information reaches third parties, it can lead to significant financial losses.

What is a technical documentation

Special attention should be paid to the information that is stored in technical documents and is very crucial for both the buyer and the manufacturer. Technical documentation refers to any type of documentation that describes handling, functionality and architecture of a technical product or a product under development or use. Drawings that contain detailed description of such object characteristics as size and scale, as well as detailed calculations are the examples of technical documentation.

All these text documents are objects of intellectual property that need to be protected. Otherwise, the critical information will be stolen and used by competitors. It follows that there is a need to protect the information that the manufacturer transfers to the customer.

             Drawings of fleet objects are related to technical documentation

There are many cases of how competitors stole scientific research, important ideas or orders from each other and then earned a lot of money. For example, among such stories is a recent case that occurred in St. Petersburg in Russia, where, a manufacturer of equipment for fleet stole unique schemes, besides instruments worth 8 million rubles from its rival. After some time, the organization was ready to produce similar equipment for new ships, as it turned out later, according to just the same drawings and schemes that had been stolen earlier. Therefore, to avoid such cases, it is better to take measures to protect valuable information in advance.

The existing product of StarForce – SFContent has been successfully modified to meet requirements of the customer. StarForce has protected the information in XML files from unauthorized users. The protection was developed in conjunction with a program designed to view this format. Perhaps, other types of files will be protected by StarForce again, but this is a completely different story.

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