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Digital signatures

Digital Signature Certificate:

A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital document.

The digital equivalent of a handwritten signature or stamped seal, but offering far more inherent security, a digital signature is intended to solve the problem of tampering and impersonation in digital communications. Digital signatures can provide the added assurances of evidence to origin, identity and status of an electronic document, transaction or message, as well as acknowledging informed consent by the signer.

How digital signatures work

Digital signatures are based on public key cryptography, also known as asymmetric cryptography. Using a public key algorithm such as RSA, one can generate two keys that are mathematically linked: one private and one public. To create a digital signature, signing software creates a one-way hash of the electronic data to be signed. The private key is then used to encrypt the hash. The encrypted hash -- along with other information, such as the hashing algorithm -- is the digital signature. The reason for encrypting the hash instead of the entire message or document is that a hash function can convert an arbitrary input into a fixed length value, which is usually much shorter. This saves time since hashing is much faster than signing.

Digital Signatures are classified into two types.

1) Class 2 Digital Signature

2) Class 3 Digital Signature

Class 2 and class 3 Digital Signature Certificates comes in two categories.

1) Signing Only Certificate

2) Signing & Encryption Certificate.

Class 2 Digital Signature:

Class 2 Signing certificate is widely used for Income Tax Returns (ITR) filing, GST, PF, ESI, Banking etc.

Class 2 Signing & Encryption certificate is extremely by Govt. Departments officials (principal of a Tender) to float tenders.

Class 3 Digital Signature:

A Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate is highly secured than class 2 Digital Signature and is used to participate in tenders by the Companies/Organizations/Firms/Individuals who are willing to participate in a tender.

Requirement of Signing only or Signing & Encryption Digital Signature Certificate depends on the portal used by the vendor to participate in tenders.