The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is starting a project to improve detection of invalid or maliciously crafted data in electronic documents.
It may safely be assumed that PDF, while already meeting many of the project's objectives, will also be one of the program's key targets.
The "SafeDocs" program is intended to facilitate safety checks in documents, images or messages, and provide a means for untrustworthy files to be converted into safer formats without loss of functionality.
There are three basic avenues for development. To paraphrase the DARPA project description:
DARPA's background information further states:
The parser construction kits developed by the program will be usable by industry programmers who understand the syntax of electronic data formats but lack the theoretical background in verified programming. These tools will enable developers to construct verifiable parsers for new electronic data formats, as well as extant ones.
As the PDF Association has already developed technologies at least partially aligned with these objectives in the form of veraPDF
The PDF Association will be represented at the project's "proposer's day" by Executive Director Duff Johnson, who will report back to members on his impressions.