QUESTION 4 : Explain the process of creation and verification of digital Signature. (DU SOL ONLINE EXAM CYBER CRIME & LAWS)

Answer: Digital signatures are already very secure the use of the public and private key during the creation of the signature makes this security all too real. But Digital signatures need to be verified to not only ensure their authenticity but also to ensure that the information contained in the digital signature is correct and authentic. The whole process of verifying a digital signature is not very difficult as we shall see shortly. But before we look at how to verify a digital signature, let's begin with the rules of digital signature verification.

The Principle of Digital Signature Verification

digital signature verification

To begin with, a digital signature algorithm consists of a signature verification and signature creation process. A user will generate the digital signature and another user will verify the signature using the verification process. Both the signer and the verifier have a public and private key that they use to complete each process.

The private key us used in the signature generation process and must remain secret to prevent other non-identifiable entities from using it to generate fraudulent signatures. There are also algorithms that are in place to prevent the Private key falling into another's hands or another person who is aware of the private key from using it to sign a different message. As such these digital signatures cannot be forged.

On the other hand, the public key is used in the verification process. While it need not remain a secret, the integrity of the public key must be maintained. In this sense, anyone with the public key can verify the signed message using the public key. An approved hash function is used to convert the signed message to a fixed-length representation of the message. The verifier requires assurances that the public key to be used belongs to the signer and that the originator of the document also owns the private key.

How to Verify Digital Signature

Armed with the private key and the public key, the following is a simple step by step guide to help you verify a digital signature.

Step 1

You send a document to Person B with both the Public and Private key. Remember that the verifier needs the Public key to verify the signature and also assurances that the private key is actually owned by the originator of the document.

Step 2:

The next step is to verify the public key. The verifier can use the Certifying Authority to ensure the validity and the public key. The CA will also help the verifier authenticate the identity of the sender, ensure that they are who they say they are.

Step 3:

If the authenticity of the public key is confirmed, you can then enter the secret private key to decrypt the document and the document is signed. If the private key is incorrect the signature of the document cannot be verified. This is why it is essential to verify the identity of the sender with the Certificate Authority.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 includes provisions for the use of Digital Signatures on documents which are submitted in electronic form with the objective of maintaining security and authenticity of the documents filed online. A digital signature certificate (DSC) which is issued by a certifying authority is a digital key that authenticates identity of individuals and businesses holding the certificate.

It is possible to create the digital signature certificate online and apply it to online documents. The DSC has successfully replaced physical signature. It can be created and obtained from digital signature certificate providers. Verasys Technologies, a subsidiary company of Alankit Limited is a leading service provider for digital signatures. The company facilitates the digital signature application & related procedures and issues digital signatures based on Aadhaar e-KYC in an extremely convenient manner.

Creating Digital Signature

The digital signature certificate contains user’s name, country, email-id, date of issuance of certificate and name of the certifying authority. A digital signature certificate is required for various purposes that include carrying out secure web-based transactions, signing documents like MS Word, MS Excel and PDFs, eTendering, eProcurement and filing of Income tax returns.

If an individual or entity is asked to digitally sign a document, they can do so with utmost ease by following simple steps. Upon receiving an e-mail containing a link to the document which needs to be digitally signed, here’s what one should do:

Step 1: On clicking the link, the document should open in an electronic signature tool.

Step 2: The user will be asked to agree to electronic signing. After the user confirms agreement, he or she would be required to follow certain instructions to start or sign.

Step 3: On clicking each tag and adhering to the instructions, the user can add the digital signature.

Step 4: The final and important step is to verify one’s identity and follow the instructions to add the digital signature.

DSC registration

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) sets down a step-by-step process for registration of digital signature certificate. Applicants must follow a set of detailed registration instructions to register online. There are different set of instructions for director, manager, secretary and practicing professionals who require registration of DSC.

The role check is performed only after the signatories have registered their DSCs with Ministry of Corporate Affairs. When role check is completed, the system will conduct verification to authenticate if the dsc signature on the e-form filed, is of signatory of the company.

Through its subsidiary, Alankit Limited delivers cost-effective and prompt services, catering to numerous organizations in government and corporate sector. It offers services for online electronic signature which can be linked conveniently with service delivery applications, through an API, to enable a user to digitally sign documents for various authentication and approval purposes. Submitting a duly-filled DSC Application form along with identity proofs are the essential requirements when applying for DSC.

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