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How digital signature work?

May 19, 2022 posted by Admin

What exactly is digital signature?

A digital signature is a PKI-based digital certificate that verifies the signer's identity and assures that electronically transmitted documents and digital communications are not tampered with or faked. Digital signatures are comparable to physical signatures in that they are both unique to the signer, but a digital signature provides significantly greater security and assurance of the document's origin, identity, and integrity in the case of digitally signed documents. Digital signatures are enforceable by law in the United States and many other nations because they meet the highest security standards.

Digital signatures aid in the protection of data transmissions. They're in charge of establishing authentication, data integrity, and non-repudiation, among other things.

What is the difference between electronic signature and digital signature?

Electronic signatures, often known as e-signatures are a collection of solutions that employ an electronic procedure to accept a document or transaction that requires a signature. Businesses and consumers throughout the world have embraced the speed and convenience of these forms of signatures as papers and communication become increasingly paperless. However, there are a variety of electronic signatures available, each of which allows users to sign documents digitally while also providing some level of identity identification.

One of these electronic signature methods is digital signatures, which are the most secure form accessible. By encrypting the signature to the document, digital signatures employ PKI certificates from a Certificate Authority (CA), a form of Trust Service Provider, to assure identity authentication and document integrity. Other, less secure e-signature kinds may rely on popular electronic authentication mechanisms like an email address, a corporate username/ID, or a contact number or PIN number to validate the signer's identity.

Electronic signatures vary in industry, regional acceptability, and legal acceptance due to varying technological and security needs. Digital signatures meet the most stringent legal standards, such as the Federal ESIGN Act of the United States and other applicable international legislation.

How do digital signatures work?

Asymmetric encryption keys, i.e. public keys and their matching private keys, are used in cryptographic digital signatures (a.k.a. secret keys). The private encryption key is used to establish a digital signature (or "sign"), whereas the public encryption key is used to validate the digital signature. The fact that a pair of public and private keys are so intimately allied that it would be nearly difficult for a public key to authenticate a signature created by a private key with which it is not related is what makes this work.

So, how do you go about making a digital signature?

Take the message or file you want to sign and run it through a hash function to establish a digital signature. After that, you combine the message digest or hash with your private key and run them through a signature method such as RSA or DSA. The digital signature of the communication is the end outcome. These activities, of course, happen behind the scenes in programmes like a secure file transfer server.

You could theoretically bypass the hash function and just run the file and private key through some "signing algorithm" to get a "digital signature." However, if the file is really huge, this will take a long time. Furthermore, the generated "signature" would take up an absurdly large amount of space.

What about the verification of digital signatures? The public key pair for the secret key is now involved in this operation. While the secret key is used to sign documents, the public key that corresponds to it is used to validate their validity. Remember how I said the public key is inextricably tied to the private key?

If you have a public key and it fails to authenticate a document you recently got, that means the secret key used to sign the document wasn't this public key's pair. As a result, it's possible that the document's source isn't who you thought it was. Digital signatures are used in this manner for authentication.
The public key is also used to retrieve the message digest that was initially coupled with the private key to form the digital signature during the same verification procedure. The recovered message digest is then compared to the recipient's own locally produced message hash value. The receiver must be aware of the sender's hash function. The integrity of the message has been preserved if the locally computed hash value and the extracted message digest are same.

Let me go through those stages again:

  • The document is processed through a hash function (e.g. the SHA2 hashing algorithm) at the source (in this example, a server) to create a hash, also known as a message digest. To create the document's digital signature, the message digest is merged with the source's private key.
  • The document is attached with the digital signature, and both are forwarded to the receiver (in this case, a client application).
  • The message digest is retrieved from the digital signature at the client using a copy of the server's public key that the client has. Note that if the client's public key does not match the private key used to construct the message digest, the client will be unable to extract it.
  • The client generates its own locally-generated hash by running the document via the same hash algorithm as the sender.
  • The hashes of the two are compared.
  • It would prove two things if the two hashes were equal: 1. that the document was not tampered with (achieving integrity), and 2. that the sender is who the receiver anticipated (thereby achieving authentication).
  • If both are accomplished, the sender will be unable to later reject sending the document. That's because if the incorrect private key was used in step 1, none of these would be possible. Only the source could (theoretically) have initiated this transaction since only the source has access to the private key.