Digital Signatures A Complete Overview
Learn about digital signatures and their architecture, functionalities & advantages.
What are digital signatures?
Digital signatures are the modern day alternatives to physical signatures and seals. They make the signing process secure and documents unforgeable. Digital signatures attach a digital fingerprint onto your document and checks for alterations throughout the document's life-cycle. In this process, any unauthorized alterations made to the documents are detected and the recipients are notified. Digital signatures have proven to make the process of signing documents extremely secure, authentic, and non-repudiable. They are also legally binding and accepted globally.
Digital signatures ensure active participation by the signatories by securely storing their private keys while sharing the public key with other recipients. Some digital signature services, such as Zoho Sign, store their private keys in a highly secure hardware security module (HSM box) to ensure authenticity.
The cryptographic hash functions added on top of each document depend on that document's content. Any small change to the document will affect the hash, indicating that the document has been tampered with. In this way, it is impossible to modify the contents of a document without being detected.
Documents signed using digital signatures leave a digital fingerprint. Once an user signs a document, they cannot claim its illegitimacy. Zoho Sign provides a complete audit trail of all signatories and their activities along with timestamps and IP addresses.