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Digital Signature

What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

Digital signature certificates (DSC) are the digital equivalent (that is electronic format) of physical or paper certificates. Examples of physical certificates are drivers' licenses, passports or membership cards. Certificates serve as proof of identity of an individual for a certain purpose; for example, a driver's license identifies someone who can legally drive in a particular country. Likewise, a digital certificate can be presented electronically to prove your identity, to access information or services on the Internet or to sign certain documents digitally.


Are Public Keys and Digital Certificates related?

A certificate is an electronic document that binds a public key to a particular individual or organization. A trusted third party, called a Certifying Authority (CA), issues certificates. Before issuing a certificate, a CA will go through a series of authentication procedures to make sure that you are what you claim to be, and that the public key in the certificate really belongs to you.


The certificate is then encrypted (signed) with the CA's private key. Thus, if the end users trust the CA, and have the CAs public key, he can be sure of the certificate's legitimacy.


What is the use of Digital Signature Certificate?

Like physical documents are signed manually, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate.


Where can Digital Certificates be used?

You can use Digital Certificate for secure email and web-based transactions, or to identify other participants of web-based transactions. You can use Digital Certificate to prove ownership of a domain name and establish SSL / TLS encrypted secured sessions between your website and the user for web based transaction. As a developer you can use Digital Certificate for proving authorship of a code and retain integrity of the distributed software programs. You can use Digital Certificates for signing web forms, e-tendering documents, filing income tax returns etc.


How does a Digital Certificate function ?

Certificates use the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI technology, which is a sophisticated, mathematically proven method of encrypting and decrypting information).


Information can be decrypted only when both a private key and a public key match each other.


The certificate contains information about a user's identity (for example, their name, email address, the date the certificate was issued and the name of the Certifying Authority that issued it.) The certificate also contains the public key.


The private key is stored on the user's computer hard disk or on an external device such as a smart card. The user retains control of the private key; it can only be used with the issued password.

Applying / Registering for a Digital Certificate:

Class

Category

Supported Applications

I

Individual

Secure E-mail

IIa

Individual

Web form signing
Client Authentication
Secure E-Mail
Other low Risk Transactions

IIb

Enterprises / Government Organizations or Agencies

Web form signing
Client Authentication
Secure E-Mail
Other low Risk Transactions

IIIa

Individual

VPN User
Code Signing
Web Form Signing
Client Authentication
Secure E-Mail

IIIb

Enterprises / Government Organizations or Agencies

VPN User
Code Signing
Web Form Signing
Client Authentication
Secured E- mail

IIIc

Individual / Enterprises / Government Organizations or Agencies

SSL Server Authentication

IIId

Individual / Enterprises / Government Organizations or Agencies

VPN Device Authentication