A digital signature is a secure way of signing electronic documents such as an email, Microsoft Office document or PDF. These signatures can be legally binding, just as a written signature is. Instead of seeing a written signature on an email, the recipient will see a series of numbers and letters that can only be generated by the publisher.
When a user creates a document, he or she signs it with a unique digital signature and sends it to the recipient. If the publisher's signature is managed by a certificate authority (CA), such as those listed above, the recipient will trust the CA to confirm the identity of the publisher. This authenticates the message and provides nonrepudiation.
Any person, firm, company, agency, etc. can get a digital signature. There are several companies, known as certificate authorities (CA) that manage digital signatures, such as EMC Corp.'s RSA security division and Digi-Sign Ltd.
Dig deeper on PKI and Digital Certificates
Related Q&A from David Griffeth, featured expert
Are users at your enterprise creating weak passwords that could potentially lead to serious data breaches? In this identity and access management ...continue reading
Virtualization is a technology that's taking off, but how can information security professionals know how it will interact with their existing ...continue reading
Periodic access reviews for enterprise identity and access management (IAM) can help ensure the necessary personnel have access to essential systems ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.