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Practical Uses of Digital Signatures

Posted In Technology Reviews - By Techtiplib on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 With No Comments »

1. Defining digital signatures

Like normal handwritten signatures, the purpose of the digital signatures is the same .Digital signatures are a numerical technique of exhibiting the authenticity of a personal or secret digital message or any document. Acceptable digital signatures give the receiver of the document or any digital message the reason to make sure that the message or document was written or made by a known sender.

2. Use of digital signatures

Digital signatures are used for the security minded organizations and usually for the distribution of software and companies financial transactions and many other situations where there it is important to have a check on tampering. Countries like India, United States and including the members of European Union digital signatures are having a legal significance. Digital signatures are used when you need to prove that the document, message or the bill came from you and no has tampered it since you sent it.


Whereas sometimes you need to prove that a document came from someone else and has not been altered along the way from sender. In legal matters, for examples you may need to prove that a contract has not been altered as someone had sent it as an email. Because the computer tenaciously pairs the signature to one saved version of the document, it is almost impossible to repudiate a digitally signed document. Or if you are a developer distributing your software online, you may need to reassure your customers that your executables are really from you. In large well reputed universities these types of signatures are used to make the documents secret as in security basis; for example in exam papers for security reasons.

Due to huge cost of paper in companies, they are implementing digital signature solutions to:

  • Automate and expedite business processes
  • Less operational cost
  • Improve efficiency and collaboration
  • Address legal compliance and limit liability
  • Go green

1. Signing a digital signature

In order to digitally sign a document, one need to obtain a private and public key, this is a one-time process. The private key, as the name implies, is not shared and is used only available to the signer. Public key is normally used for authentication purposes, but still you should be careful about handing it over to other parties.

2. Does it really work

The question that arises in your mind that “does it really works?”

The answer is “Yes”; standard digital signature really works and seals the document, including other benefits like:

  • Provision of user identity evidence
  • Guaranteeing data integrity
  • Ensuring the non-repudiation of signed electronic documents 
  • Complying with regulations

1. One should know

The only main difference between digital signatures and hand written signatures is that the user cannot even have “look” at what he signs. The application used by the user, shows a hash code that is to be encrypted by the digital signing algorithm using the private key. One should only use these signatures with trusted applications.

An attacker that gets to the control of user’s PC can possibly make a replacement of the user’s application with a foreign  substitute application, that can allow a malignant application to trap the user into signing any document by displaying the user’s original on screen, but presenting the attacker’s own documents to the signing applications.

Other than these tiny bits of caution, every single user of digital signatures sings praises of this technological advancement.               

Author Bio:

Anna Stacy has in-depth knowledge and experience of digital signature solutions. Her basic forte lies within process optimization and process re-engineering, and has a long-term obsession with e-sign. She is a leading source of what’s hot and what’s not in the online signature space.

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