Digital signatures employ the industry-standard technology called PKI or public key infrastructure that ensures data authenticity and integrity. PKI uses an algorithm to generate two keys – one public and another, private.

What are digital signatures?

A digital signature is an electronic signature with the added advantage of digital authentication technology. Put simply, digital signatures provide the evidence of origin, identity, and status of electronic transactions and documents. They provide a layer of validation and security making them more difficult to forge than a handwritten signature.

Digital signatures ensure end-to-end message integrity, prove the identity of the organization that created the digital signature, and confirm that the information originated from the signer and was not altered. If any change was made to the signed documents, it would invalidate the whole transaction.

In many regions, including the U.S., EU, and APAC, digital signatures are considered legally binding and hold the same value as traditionally signed documents.

Based on the technology used, there are three key types of digital signatures:

  • Simple Electronic Signature (SES):Considered the most basic, these do not require strong ID verification or signer authentication. Uploading a scanned image of the signature, or checking a box to indicate consent of agreement or acknowledgment is sufficient to authenticate the transaction. Most common examples include standard e-commerce purchase transactions or any simple form that needs signing
  • Advanced Electronic Signature (AES):These signatures reliably identify the signer and establishes a link between the signer and the signature. In AES signatures, signers are asked to produce a unique access code during and after the signing process and use a valid document to confirm their identity. When the signer sends the signed document, a Certificate Authority (CA) issues a certificate authenticating the electronic signature. AES uses a PKI (public key infrastructure) digital signature technology to satisfy the requirements for an electronic seal approval. A common example is candidates accepting offer letters from companies after receiving a pin or code from HR and sending back the signed document with a scanned copy of their valid ID like a driver’s license

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