Digital Signature

Various Types of Digital Signatures and Its Uses

Requisites to apply for a DSC

A Digital Signature Certificate can be issued by any licensed Certifying Authority (CA) conforming to the rules and regulations as set by the Indian IT Act - 2000. Registering and obtaining a DSC from a CA is very easy. Here are three processes through which you can acquire a DSC:

  • The applicant with their original documents can approach the CA directly. These documents may be needed for verification purposes.
  • Company Secretary
  • Whether the applicant or the CA belong to different locations or they are working at a different time zone altogether, you can easily apply for a digital signature certificate online This virtual application is possible through Aadhar e-KYC where no supporting documents are required.
  • An applicant can also produce a certificate issued by the Bank mentioning the requirement of a DSC. In such a case, the bank official needs to verify the digital signature and the certificate must be certified by the bank manager.

What are Digital Signatures?

A digital signature is the electronic form of physical ink signatures. It uses a cryptographic algorithm in order to authenticate the identity of a sender or the receiver, and ensures that the content of the document is not tampered in the process of transmission. With most of our exchanges, ways of communication, and ways of purchasing having shifted its course to digital platforms, people have also adapted to the use of digital signatures for signing documents as it is the easy, convenient and secure way to share private data through the digital medium.

Digital Signatures are authenticated by a Certifying Authority (CA) who verifies the original documents of the applicant and provides a digital signature certificate bound with cryptographic algorithm called the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Features of a Digital Signature

Digital Signatures have come to great use because of the incorporation of three main features.

1. Security : Digital signatures are legally enforceable and are highly secured because of its cryptographic algorithm. Documents signed using a digital signature can never be forged because the sender’s identity is authenticated and verified before attaching it to the document.

2. Time efficient : Anyone can easily sign a document in minutes without any fear of tampering. The extra time can be utilized in improving the workflow.

3. Cost efficient : Digital signatures cut off the additional costs like paper printing, mailing, traveling etc. thus making it favorable for people to exchange documents from anywhere and at any time without spending a single penny.

Importance of Digital Signatures

With the increasing consumption of digital products and services, the cases of fraudulent activities are also increasing. Given that, when it comes to keeping your private data secured, people always choose the best. Of the three types of digital signatures - the advanced and qualified digital signature makes the best choice for you in signing any kind of digital document. In today’s time, various businesses and organizations, big and small have adapted to the use of Digital Signatures. It has immensely helped them in running their operations smoothly, enabling huge volumes of documentation without any fear of leakage. Digitally signing documents have also proved to be time and cost effective thus helping them to focus more on the quality of their service. Grasp an elaborate understanding of this topic by reading the Importance of Digital Signatures in e-commerce Business blog.

Types of Digital Signatures

Primarily, there are three types of Digital Signatures. They include :

1. Simple Digital Signature

A digital signature without encryption is called a simple digital signature. This type of digital signature is not legally advised. It is not secure because the source of the signer cannot be traced. Hence, leaving way to the occurrence of fraudulent activities.

2. Basic Digital Signature

A basic digital signature is more-or-less similar to a simple digital signature. They do not have any authority or legal enforcement. The identity of a sender is not verified correctly in this type of digital signature. The content of the digital document might be altered even after it has been digitally signed. There is no security bound by a cryptographic algorithm or any kind of verification process that could attach a sense of security to this type of digital signature.

3. Advanced and Qualified Digital Signature

The advanced and qualified digital signature is the modified digital age signature with legal enforceability. It follows a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and ensures security to keep the data private with the use of cryptography. The cryptographic algorithm creates two asymmetric keys - the public key and the private key to encrypt and decrypt the document. This ensures that the data is kept private only between the sender and the end recipient without any fear of tampering. The identity of the sender is attached with the digital signature with the help of a digital signature certificate. This ensures that the content of the document cannot be modified at a later stage, and that the sender cannot deny signing it. In the advanced and qualified type of digital signature, it is possible to trace the origin of the document or a message sent using the digital medium, hence preventing the advent of any fraudulence.

Categories of Digital Signatures

There are three categories of digital signatures or Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) :

1. Class 1

Class 1 DSCs are not used for official or business documents. They are used for simple authentication of entities like an email or user IDs where there is little risk of data compromise.

2. Class 2

Class 2 DSCs are used for e-filing government documents like Income Tax returns, Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns, where there is minimal risk of data compromise. It confirms the identity of the signer against the original data that has already been saved in a database.

3. Class 3

Class 3 DSCs require the signer to physically present themselves before the Certifying Authority (CA) in order to verify their identity. This class of DSCs provide the highest level of security and are widely used in the process of e-auctions, e-tendering, e-ticketing, court filings etc.

How to create Digital Signatures online?

There are numerous e-Signing portals which enables you to generate a digital signature certificate. XtraTrust is one of the most trusted websites where you can create your own digital signature and also buy digital signature certificates. The creation or issuance of a digital signature certificate is subject to fulfillment of any of these three requirements:

1. The applicant must physically appear in front of a Certifying Authority (CA) with their original documents that may be needed for identification and verification purposes.

2. The applicant can apply for a DSC online which is possible through Aadhar e-KYC. In this, the applicant does not need to produce any other documents.

3. A letter or certificate issued by the applicant’s bank mentioning the requirement of a DSC can also help in getting a digital signature. Care must be taken to ensure that the letter or certificate is verified and certified by the bank officials.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital Signatures are of three types - Simple Digital Signature, Basic Digital Signature, and Advanced and Qualified Digital Signature.
  • Advanced and Qualified Digital Signatures are the most widely used type of digital signature which protects the personal information from unauthorized handling.
  • Digital signatures can be divided into three different categories - Class 1 DSC, Class 2 DSC and Class 3 DSC.
  • Anyone can create their own digital signature if they have the valid original documents ready with them.

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