Signing the digital wayIntroduction
Why is Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) required?
Like physical documents are signed manually, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate. The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic form in order to ensure the security and authenticity of the documents filed electronically. This is the only secure and authentic way that a document can be submitted electronically. Moreover a Digital Signature is the only way one can authenticate electronic or online transactions "legally". The potential for Digital Signatures is huge in services like e-procurement, filing of returns, filing of export-import licenses, financial transactions, digitization of land records, while using e-commerce web-sites and other transactional portals and other online transactions like internet banking. You can even encrypt information in your e-mail using a private key of a Digital Signature.Types of Digital Signature Certificates:
How does it work!!TECHNICAL ASPECTS: Digital signatures are an application of asymmetric key cryptography. Cryptography is primarily used as a tool to protect national secrets and strategies. It is extensively used by the military, the diplomatic services and the banking sector.
As part of the application process he would submit identification documents as discussed earlier. He would also send his public key to the CA. The CA would then "certify" the public key as belonging to Mr. CHETAN and issue a digital signature certificate that contains Mr. CHETAN's public key along with information identifying him.Now CHETAN wants to enter into a transaction with Pankaj. He composes an electronic document containing the words:
CHETAN now sends the original message and the signed message digest (hash result) to Pankaj. Pankaj has the same hash function software on his computer. He also has his (CHETAN's) public key. When Pankaj receives CHETAN's email, he runs the original document through the hash function software and generates a hash result. The computer compares this hash result with the one that was sent to him by CHETAN. If the two hash results are the same, it means that the message is unaltered.Pankaj also verifies whether CHETAN's private key was actually used to sign the hash result. For this Pankaj's computer uses CHETAN's public key. Only a message signed by CHETAN's private key can be verified using CHETAN's public key.
The Digital Signature Certificates come with a validity period of one-two years, implying there is a cost attached. We are not used to paying for our own signature.While Digital Signatures are estimated to cost CAs Rs 175-225, individuals typically end up paying anyway between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000 —and sometimes even up to Rs 7,000 for the high-level Class-3 security certificates. The prices include a one-time payment for a crypto (USB) e-token, which contains the software. Typically, if you want to use a digital signature for sensitive transactions like e-filing of returns or internet banking & broking then the costs are between Rs. 2,200 (without token) to 3,200 (with token). Much depends on the bundling schemes & packages offered by the distributors.--
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