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A primer on Digital Signatures

By Enterprise Technology Review | Friday, April 26, 2019

In an era of digitalization, most of the companies are carrying out their business activities digitally. A handwritten signature is usually used to validate authenticity of physical documents like invoices. Just in the same way, digital documents will also need authentication to secure their contents in some authentic way. A company can secure digital records with digital signatures.

A complex mathematic process used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a digital document. It also ensures the original content of the document that has been sent without any alterations. Whenever a document is digitally signed, it can act as a tamper-proof.

The process behind the generation of Digital Signature

Generation of digital signature includes the first step to convert the transmitted message into hash. There are different algorithms to generate hash such as SHA-1, SHA-2, SHA-3, MD, MD2, MD4, MD5, and MD6. Among them, SHA-1, MD5, and MD6 are extensively used which can offer better security. The efficacy of the generated hash is distinctive to a particular message which will give awareness to the users about the occurrence of small changes also.

Typically, a digital signature has a private key that is unique to the sender at the time of encryption, and a public key is used by the receiver to identify the private key at the time of decryption. The public key will read the signature that has been created by the private key, and it determines whether the produced hash along with the document is authentic or not. Generation of these public key and private key will be done by RSA (Rivest Shamir Adleman) algorithm.

In many countries, digital signatures are considered legally binding in the same way as traditional signatures. Due to the level of security offered by the digital signatures, they are globally accepted to safeguard online documents from getting tampered.

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