The authenticity of many legal, financial, and other documents is determined by the presence or absence of an authorized handwritten signature. The recipient of the signed document can verify the claimed identity of the sender using the signature. Also, if the sender later repudiates the contents of the document, then recipient can use the signature to prove the validity of the document.
With the computerized message systems replacing the physical transport of paper and ink documents, an effective solution for authentication of the electronic data is necessary. Various methods have been devised to solve this problem, but the use of Ëœdigital signatureâ„¢ is definitely the best solution amongst them.
A digital signature is nothing but an attachment to any piece of electronic information, which represents the content of the document and the identity of the originator of that document uniquely. The digital signature is intended for use in electronic mail, electronic funds transfer, electronic data interchange, software distribution, data storage, and other applications which require data integrity assurance and data origin authentication.
When a message is received, the recipient may desire to verify that the message has not been altered in transit. Furthermore, the recipient may wish to be certain of the originator's identity. Both of these services can be provided by the digital signature. A digital signature is an electronic analogue of a written signature in that the digital signature can be used in proving to the recipient or a third party that the message was, in fact, signed by the originator. Digital signatures may also be generated for stored data and programs so that the integrity of the data and programs may be verified at any later time.
Although there are various approaches to implement the digital signature, this report discusses the ËœDigital Signature Standardâ„¢. It specifies the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) which is appropriate for applications requiring a digital rather than written signature. The DSA is considered as the standard procedure to generate and verify digital signatures. A DSA digital signature is a pair of large numbers represented in a computer as strings of binary digits.
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