Digital Signature - What is a digital signature?

Digital Signature – What is a digital signature?

Digital signature refers to a method of replacing the handwritten signature on a document. The Digital signature allows the invoice recipient to identify the sender with certainty.

Managing your billing online saves time, energy and money. Another advantage is that your data is secure, permanently.

A digital signature takes the form of an encrypted alphanumeric series, affixed by the sender of an invoice for example, and allowing the recipient to verify their provenance, without ambiguity possible.

The digital signature can thus replace the manual signature or the electronic signature, which are both much more easily falsifiable.

The benefits of digital signing

It is of particular interest for the public administration, since it makes it possible to authenticate the automated forms sent online by the authorities.

There are many advantages of digital signing for the recipient:

Time savings through more efficient processing of electronic data,

Cost savings due to the digitization of processes (simplified sorting and archiving),

More security through sender authentication.

The issuer of the document also benefits from the advantages of the digital signature:

Save time by submitting forms online rather than by post

Cost savings on printing and postage,

Security gain thanks to unfalsifiable signatures.

How does the digital signature work?

In order to be effective and valid, a digital signature:

To authenticate irrevocably its signatory,

To be tamper-proof,

Be disposable, without re-use,

Make the document signed unalterable (no modification allowed after signature).

It is almost impossible to forge an electronic signature. In addition, the digital signature provides the recipient with assurance that the sender’s signature is legally and indisputably valid.

Digital Signature: The Principle of Asymmetric Cryptography

To ensure the security of the digital signature, a special method is applied: asymmetric cryptography.

Here are the operating principles of asymmetric cryptography.

Two keys are usually needed to encrypt messages: one for encryption and one for decryption. An encrypted message is made illegible to everyone, and can only become readable by decryption.

This principle of key generation means that the recipient unveils his public encryption key.

The sender can then prepare a message and encrypt it with the recipient’s encryption key. This means that only this recipient will be able to open, decrypt and read the document, thanks to its decryption key.

What is the legal value of an electronic signature?

The European Union (EU) has issued a regulation called eIDAS (Electronic Identification and Trust Services) to standardize and extend the use of digital signatures in Europe.

EIDAS provides a common reference framework for the 28 EU states in the field of electronic identification.

It lays down the procedures for obtaining the status of Trust Service Provider (PSCE), awarded to organizations or companies offering electronic authentication services, to administrators and companies.

The objective is to facilitate trade within the EU by harmonizing security and authentication rules.

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