Digital Signature

A digital signature guarantees that an electronic document is authentic. It is an encrypted digital code appended to an electronic document to verify that it was created by a known source and has not been altered.

What is a Digital Signature

A digital signature is the technology that proves the authenticity of a document. Digital signatures require a digital certificate from a certificate authority to vet a user's identity. The certificate is bound by cryptography to the signed document, creating a unique digital fingerprint. 

what is a digital signature

Digital signatures also embed a public key infrastructure (PKI) into the signing process. PKIs generate two keys— one public and one private — to identify the signer and the entity requesting the signature. Both the digital certificate and PKI provide stringent identification and security for sensitive legal documents.

Electronic Signature Vs. Digital Signature

Electronic signatures are digital symbols that a signer applies to a contract while digital signatures use encryption methods to authenticate digital documents. While both signatures are legally binding, electronic signatures replace traditional signatures.

Digital Signatures:

  • Use sophisticated certificate-based identification methods
  • Secure document integrity
  • Are not equivalent to a handwritten signature
  • Use encryption to verify the validity of signed documents
  • Require third-party verification

Electronic Signatures:

  • Use standard methods (employee ID, email, or multi-factor authentication) to authenticate a signer’s identity
  • Verify document authenticity
  • Are equivalent to a handwritten signature
  • Use audit trails to validate signed documents
  • Are easy to apply via electronic signature apps

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