Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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    Digital Signature Vs. Electronic Signature

    Difference between Digital Signature and Electronic Signature

    A signature conventionally is used to identify the owner of any message, or to signify the Identity of a particular message. Since eras some sort of identification mark tends to be used by dynasties and kings. They used to put a stamped mark below the message for identification. This is also a form of signature. Seal, wax imprint, handwritten signature, etc, are some traditional approaches. But these can easily be forged. With the advent of technology there comes the need for electronic methods of signing the digital documents. Every signature via an electronic medium can be called as Electronic Signature. And the digital signature is a subset of Electronic Signature.

    Digital Signature is a more specialized version of electronic signature which is tamper-evident. That means, it permanently embeds the document data and information with it; due to this reason the document signed digitally becomes more secure. Because it can’t be changed after signing digitally. If one tries to make any change in the document; then that digital signature will be invalidated.

    But on the other hand an electronic signature is a simple Electronic ID, image, code, pin, etc, like an E-mail ID, image form of Signature on PDF, code on the certificate for validation, etc. Though these codes and IDs can be checked for validity; they can easily be tempered. The information on documents can easily be changed there too.

    Major key differences between Electronic Signature and Digital Signature are:- 

    Digital SignatureElectronic Signature
    Basic It can also be called as Electronic fingerprint as it encrypts and identifies the person’s identity who actually signed it.Any mark, symbol, image, etc. attached with message or document; that simply signifies the signer’s Identity. Also signifies the consent of the signer on it.
    Authentication mechanismIt is a certificate based digital ID.It verifies identity through E-mail ID, domain, phone number, code, pin, etc.
    UsageFor securing a documentFor verifying a document
    ValidationValidation to be performed by trusted certificate authorities or trust service providers.Do it can be verified by code validator online but otherwise it has no specific validation process.
    SecurityAs it is embedded in document that’s why it is highly secure.It is highly vulnerable to tampering.

    Definition of the Digital Signature

    A digital signature is a kind of electronic signature it has specific standards. It confers independent verification. And also tamper evidence. Trusted third-party agents generally involved in the verification process of a digital signature. These trusted third-party agents commonly called a certificate authority.

    Certificate authorities do the identification by embedding the user’s identity to a PKI-based digital certificate. It permits the user to apply it to the document and also on web-based platforms. A cryptographic operation joins the Digital Certificate with the information into one unique fingerprint. 

    One private key of the sender signs the document. This key remains confidential and in the security of the signer only. This guarantees verification and authentication of the message. Both the information on the document and the sign on it can’t be changed. If the signature founds valid then the sender of the message/ document can’t be rejected. As no in-between transition can be done in the message; while transferring the message/ document between the sender and the beneficiary.

    Digital Signature maintains the authentication and integrity of the message.

    Types of Key:- 

    1. Private Key: it is used by the sender. The key that remains with the signer for ensuring authentication. It is used for signing the document.

    2. Public Key: It is used by the receiver to verify the document received. It is used for verification of the digital signature by others.

    Digital Signature can be used so many times without separating it from the former document. This sort of signature relies on the document as well on the signer. Because there are different types of certificates like filing GST return, etc.

    Definition of Electronic Signature:- 

    Electronic Signatures use a technology that binds the signature to the signer’s identity and also the time it had been signed. An electronic signature might be a process attached, electronic symbol, or sound to a message; a contract or document can be used to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms. Electronic signatures are a substitute for handwritten signatures in practically each personal or business process.

    It uses general electronic authentication techniques to justify signer identity, like email, corporate ID, etc. When security needed to be enhanced multi-factor authentication can also be used. The efficient e-signature solutions indicate proof of signing by utilizing a secure process of audit trail together with the ultimate document. It doesn’t use encryption and isn’t secure enough to search out the tampering like a digital signature.

    Key Differences Between Digital Signature and Electronic Signature:- 

    • Digital signatures are consistently time-stamped while in an Electronic signature date and time can be associated with it but placed separately.
    • Digital Signatures comply with the standards and enhance security by using cryptographic encryption methods. As against, electronic signatures doesn’t rely upon standards and have a tendency to be less secure comparatively.
    • The authentication mechanism employed in the electronic signature isn’t defined and uses the signer’s email, phone PIN, etc. In contrast, a digital signature involves a certificate-based digital ID authentication method.
    • The digital signature ensures the protection of the digital document whereas the electronic signature is employed for verifying the digital document.
    • In the digital signature, the signature validation is performed by the trusted certificate authorities while it’s not the case in an electronic signature.
    • Electronic signatures are prone to tampering. On the contrary, digital signatures are highly secured and offer tamper evidence


    The terms digital signature and electronic signature are occasionally used interchangeably, but there exists a great difference between them. Although, their purposes would overlap, i.e., authenticating a digital document. Digital signatures are widely used and more secure than electronic signatures.

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