- Advantages of Digital Signature
- Types of Digital Signature
- Validity of Digital Signature
Give your customers peace of mind, authenticating the resources of your message as 100% reliable.
Signatures are commonly used to authenticate documents. When you sign a physical document, you are authenticating its contents. Similarly, digital signatures are used to authenticate the contents of electronic documents. They can be used with PDF, e-mail messages, and word processing documents.
To digitally sign a document, you must have a digital ID. This unique identifier can obtained from various certification authorities on the Web, such as VeriSign and EchoSign. Once you have a digital ID, you can add register it with programs that support digital signatures, such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Outlook. Then you can use the program's "Sign" feature to add your digital signature to documents.
The digital signature is simply a small block of data that is attached to documents you sign. It is generated from your digital ID, which includes both a private and public key. The private key is used to apply the signature to the document, while the public key is sent with the file. The public key contains encrypted code, also called a "hash," that verifies your identity.
Digital signatures can be used to certify or approve documents. Certifying signatures verify the document's creator and show that the document has not been altered since it was signed. Therefore, only the original creator of a document can add a certifying signature. Approval signatures can be added by anyone with a digital ID and are used to approve documents, track changes, and accept terms stated with a document.
How a Digital Signature Works
If you are sending a sensitive document, you would want the recipient of the document to know that it was from you and you would also want to ensure that the document gets to the recipient in the very same state you sent it in, without any alterations. The process of digitally signing your document would go something like this:
- First, you should copy the document and paste it into an e-mail note.
- Second, you use a special software to obtain a mathematical summary (commonly known as a message hash) of the contract.
- Thirdly, you will use a private key that you purchased from a trusted public-private key authority for encrypting the message hash.
- Lastly, you send your document with the message hash as your digital signature. The digital signature can be used for signing any form of electronic document whether or not the message is encrypted. The digital signature is protected with a digital certificate that authenticates it. Your digital certificate will contain the certification-issuing authority's digital signature which makes it possible for anyone to verify that your certificate is real.
Advantages of Digital Signatures
- Speed: Businesses no longer have to wait for paper documents to be sent by courier. Contracts are easily written, completed, and signed by all concerned parties in a little amount of time no matter how far the parties are geographically.
- Costs: Using postal or courier services for paper documents is much more expensive compared to using digital signatures on electronic documents.
- Security:The use of digital signatures and electronic documents reduces risks of documents being intercepted, read, destroyed, or altered while in transit.
- Authenticity: An electronic document signed with a digital signature can stand up in court just as well as any other signed paper document.
- Non-Repudiation: Signing an electronic document digitally identifies you as the signatory and that cannot be later denied.
- Imposter prevention: No one else can forge your digital signature or submit an electronic document falsely claiming it was signed by you.
- • Time-Stamp: By time-stamping your digital signatures, you will clearly know when the document was signed.
The digital signature will be useful not only for ROC e-filing but can be used for varied e-commerce transaction like online e-TDS, ITReturne-filing , e-Tendering, etc.
Types of Digital Signature
Class 1 Certificate :
Class 1 certificates shall be issued to individuals/private subscribers. These certificates will confirm that user's name (or alias) and E-mail address form an unambiguous subject within the Certifying Authorities database.
Class 2 Certificate :
Class-2 Certificates are issued as Managed Digital Certificates to employees/ partners/ affiliates/ customers of business and government organizations that are ready to assume the responsibility of verifying the accuracy of the information submitted by their employees/ partners/ affiliates/ customers.
Class 3 Certificate :
Class-3 Certificates are issued to individuals, companies and government organizations. They can be used both for personal and commercial purposes. They are typically used for electronic commerce applications such as electronic banking, electronic data interchange (EDI), and membership-based on-line services, where security is a major concern.
The level of trust created by the Digital Certificate is based on the authentication procedures used by the CA to verify your identity and the service guarantees offered by the CA to back up that authentication.
Validity of Digital Signatures:
"The DSCs are typically issued with one year validity and two year validity. These are renewable on expiry of the period of initial issue."