What is a Digital Signature?

As per common people, a digital signature is a code attached to a message or a document. Verifying the code confirms that the message was unchanged or it was not tampered with. It should not be confused with a digital signature certificate, which is equal to paper certificates to validate the identity of the holder.  

Digital signatures are an application of cryptography and find vast utility in network security.

They are easy to use and particularly involve the convenient click of a button. However, there is a complex workflow involving multiple instances of encryption and decryption behind this simple process of clicking and selecting a signature source. 

How are digital signatures created? 

Hash algorithms or a scheme of algorithms like DSA and RSA that use public key and private key encryptions are used to create a digital signature. The private key is used by senders to sign the message digest (not the data), and after it is done, it creates a digital thumbprint to send the data.

It is essential to know that all the tools used to digitally sign a document are in numerical format. Digital signature solutions use crypto-algorithms to convert both the document to be signed and the private key (which is already in character form), into a new set of encrypted characters. 

When a signed document is authenticated using the public key, the person who signs is aware of who created it and if the document has been modified as it is digitally signed. The decryption process receives the original hashed document, and it can be likened to the encrypted hash, to find out the authenticity of the document and the digital signature. 

To verify the signer’s identity and the digital signature, Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is issued. DSC is a secure digital public key that does all the decrypting & certifies the identity of the holder. 

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