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What Is An E-Signature?

An e-signature or electronic signature refers to the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature or a stamped seal. It comes with a guarantee of greater security than can be found in handwritten signatures. Electronic signatures were introduced to help resolve the challenge of impersonation, forgery, and tampering in digital communications. In countries like the United States, digital signatures are considered legally binding in much the same way as the regular handwritten signatures appended on documents.

Deeper Definition

Digital signatures are used in cases where the identity and status of digital messages, electronic documents, and transactions are in doubt and need to be verified, especially in e-commerce, software distribution, financial transactions, and other dealings that have openings that can be exploited for fraudulent activities. This is done by using encryption techniques that can be used to attest to the originality and correctness of the documents in question. Electronic signatures are done based on public-key cryptography, also known as asymmetric cryptography, which is usually done by using a public key algorithm, which could be RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), for example, by which two keys are generated that is a mutually authenticating and linked pair, with one being private and the other being public. They work such that the individual who creates the signature uses the private key to encrypt the data while the signer’s public key is the means employed for the decryption of the data. Usually, it is essential in digital signature technology for the signer to keep the private key secret as if it is compromised; any other individual can create fraudulent digital signatures using the identity of the private key holder.

Digital signatures usually use security measures to protect the integrity of documents to ensure that documents are not falsified or altered and that the signatures stay legitimate. These measures are passwords, codes, authentications, personal identification numbers (PINs), checksums (which act as data fingerprints), and cyclic redundancy checks.

E-Signature Example

In a case where a document has to be verified and sent over the internet, a business owner might use an e-signature that is time-stamped, eco-friendly, and cost-efficient to close deals.

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