Are An Electronic Signature And a Digital Signature Similar?

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Are an electronic signature and a digital signature similar?

The terms electronic signature and digital signature are often used incorrectly or mixed up. Below are the main differences. Electronic signatures. In line with the US Federal ESIGN Act, electronic signatures are defined as. "Electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached or logically linked to a contract or other record, by execution or approval of a person who wanted to sign that record." Basically, an electronic signature is the equivalent of a digitized handwritten signature. This electronic signature is used to confirm content in a document or provisions in a document. Digital signatures. In contrast, digital signatures are somewhat different. To illustrate this, it is helpful to take a step back and take a look at the security issues surrounding paper-based documents and workflows. The most common problems people and companies face when dealing with paper documents are. Is the person who signed the document the one who pretends to be? How can I check that the signature is valid and not forged? How do I validate that the document has not been tampered with? Notaries today play an important role in assuring the parties involved in a transaction that the document is authentic and can be trusted. As you may suspect, the same problems occur with electronic document workflows. In contrast to electronic signatures, digital signatures help to solve the problem. T are essentially the virtual equivalent of a notarized signature. With digital signatures, a trustworthy third party, a certification authority (CA), takes over the role of the notary and confirms the authenticity. Certification bodies bind this identity to a PKI-based digital certificate, so that digital signatures can be used for documents and cloud-based signing platforms. When someone digitally signs a document, a cryptographic algorithm combines the digital certificate with the digitally signed data into a unique digital fingerprint. The uniqueness of the two signature components makes digital signatures a viable replacement for handwritten signatures.

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The uniqueness of the digitally signed data ensures that no two digital signatures could be determined to be exactly alike, and allows the CA to authenticate the integrity of the digital signature. Using the certification authority, you can secure documents on public and private cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydive, or Microsoft OneDrive. Digital signatures and paper-based signatures do have some differences. For example, digital signatures use SHA-1 for their cryptographic algorithm. SHA-1 uses a 128-bit key which is much slower at breaking digital signatures. An SHA-1 certificate is only valid for 30 days, while a certificate of the same type that contains an SHA-1 hash algorithm is valid for 1 year.  However, the SHA-1 certificate is also relatively time-consuming. There are other differences in digital signature and signatures as well. For example, there is the use of elliptic-curve cryptography as opposed to the more secure curve.

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