Electronic Seal; using digital signatures to protect your documents
Electronic seals on a daily basis involve the use of digital signatures, especially PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). The digital signatures are used for authenticating any digital information on electronic devices like personal computers and laptops. The digital information that is authenticated is generally emailed messages and documents using computer cryptography. The PKI helps establish authenticity, ensuring that the signer is actually who he or she claims to be, the integrity of the documents ensuring that the content has not been changed or tampered with ever since it was signed and ensures that there is a Non-Repudiation. Repudiation is defined as the act of denial by the signer to recognize the signed content.
Nowadays there are many reliable software and products that are used to put digital signatures on documents, merging the digital technology and graphical electronic signature of hand signatures on paper. The main feature of these signatures is that they are secure and can be easily deployed. The PKI is technically asymmetric cryptography in which the user given a pair of keys, private and public. These keys are then used for either encrypting or decrypting information on the document basically for electronically signing the document and verify the signature of the owner. The private key is used only by the document owner so that the authenticity of the data is maintained.
How it works?
It makes use of a cryptographic function for generating and authentication of the signature, known as “hashing”. The function makes use of an algorithm to generate an encoded message, commonly known as the “digital fingerprint”. This message is unique to the signing party and the document giving the guarantee that the signer actually is the originator of the information on the document. It prevents the document to be re-used in any way once it has been signed, thus making it illegal for anyone to make changes to it and also makes the signature invalid.
To use the electronic seal for documents, the originator of the document signs it using a private key. The process initiation is done by generating a mathematical function that produces a document hash. This is signed digitally using the private key of the owner and is added to the message to be sent. After this the document can be sent along with the public key and with the digital signature sharepoint on the document. The receiver of this document validates whether the document actually belongs to the sender by using this public key. What the public key does is that it establishes the authenticity of the document by verifying the signature. This is done by calculating and comparing the hash value generated by the message to the value of the original document and if it’s a match then the verification process concludes that the signature on the document actually belongs to the sender.
Apart from the benefit of protecting the document and its content, digital signature sharepoint ensures greater legal compliance, not to mention the huge amount of money saved by big businesses by not taking out printouts or buying paper and ink and posting documents either, locally, nationally or internationally.
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