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Digital Signature Certificate

Digital Signature Certificate

The full form of DSC is the Digital Signature Certificate. DSC is a protected digital key provided by the certifying authorities to verify and confirm the identity of the individual keeping such certificate. Digital signatures use the authentication of the public key to build the signature. DSC contains information on the user’s profile, pin code, nation, email address, certificate issuance date and the certifying authority’s name.

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What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

  • Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) are essentially the electronic versions of physical certificates, such as driver’s licenses, passports, or membership cards.
  • These certificates function as evidence of an individual’s identity for specific purposes. For instance, a driver’s license confirms someone’s legal authorization to drive in a particular country.
  • Similarly, individuals can electronically present a digital certificate to validate their identity, gain access to online information or services, or digitally sign various documents.
  • A licensed Certifying Authority (CA) is responsible for issuing digital signatures.
  • A Certifying Authority (CA) is a trusted organization that the Indian IT Act 2000 allows to issue digital signature certificates.

Types of DSC

The type of client and the purpose for which the DSC is acquired determines the Class of DSC to be applied. The three types of DSC are:

  1. Type 1 Certificates:
    • These certificates are provided to individuals or private users for verifying their name and contact details against a specified subject area in the certifying agency’s database.
  2. Type 2 Certificates:
    • Directors or signatory authorities of organizations receive Type 2 certificates for electronic filing with the Registrar of Companies (ROC). This certification is obligatory for individuals who traditionally sign manual documents when submitting ROC returns.
  3. Type 3 Certificates:
    • Type 3 certificates are for participating or bidding in online tenders and e-auctions across India. Sellers who want to engage in online bidding must have a Type 3 digital signature certificate.

How do digital signatures work?

When you digitally sign a document using services like DocuSign, they employ a specific protocol known as PKI. PKI involves generating two long numbers, or keys, through a mathematical algorithm. One key is made public, while the other remains private and securely held by you, the signer.

When you electronically sign a document, you use your private key to create the signature. This process essentially encrypts data that matches the signed document, which we call a hash. The resulting encrypted data forms your digital signature. Moreover, the signature includes the timestamp of when you signed the document. If any changes occur to the document after signing, the digital signature becomes invalid.

Advantages of DSC

  • When you’re doing business online, you can use it to confirm someone’s personal information and check their knowledge.
  • Instead of printing out a document, signing it, and then scanning it to send, you can sign a digital version of a PDF file and send it directly.
  • In real life, the owner of the digital certificate doesn’t have to physically be there for approval.
  • In India, these digital certificates are widely used for participating in online auctions and tenders. If vendors want to bid online, they need to have a Class 3 digital certificate.

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