Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature
When we hear the word “signature” most know that this does not entail “ink on paper signature” only, but also includes any form of digital signatures that are possible today. When reading about digital signatures or electronic signatures one often wonders: Is there any difference?
What is a digital signature?
A digital signature is a way of verifying the authenticity of signatures on digital documents to prevent fraud during the sending and receiving process. Digital signatures are a special type of electronic signature that can be used to prove to the receiver that the document was signed by the person who claimed to sign it. The signing process in digital signature is based on PKI technology and what is called a private key to calculate a fingerprint of the information in the document and include that fingerprint into the signature data. The signature data is embedded into the document along with a public key linked to the private key. Anyone who receives the document will be able to consult the embedded signature data and the public key to verify that the information and the signatures are authentic. If the signatures are not readable or the information has been changed, then the signature is not valid.
Digital signatures can prove that no one has modified the original document, and that the document is not a forgery. It is like a fingerprint that is unique to that document, and it is impossible for any other document to have that same digital signature.
What is an electronic signature?
An electronic signature is a type of signing that is done electronically and adopted with the intent to sign a document. It typically replaces the “signing by hand” process and digitalizes the signing process. Electronic signatures include printed copies of typical signatures, typed signatures, and automatic signatures added to the bottom of an email or letter. It is a kind of approval of the contents within a document. It is often represented using a visual mark, but can also be captured through a checkbox, typed name, or uploaded signature image. An electronic signature can be considered as easier, faster, and more efficient when compared to using pen and paper, saving more time and money by avoiding the need to print, sign, scan, or mail your documents.
What is the difference between a digital signature and an electronic signature?
An electronic signature is a generic term to represent a consent or approval. It can be a signature image, drawn, clicked to enter, or symbol to verify a document. It does not always come with a proof of identity: Anyone could upload an image of a signature and it does not have the necessary authority to validate the authentication of the signers. Digital signatures on the other hand are an electronic fingerprint supported by PKI technology via digital certificates containing verified identity details of the signer. Digital signatures in essence are considered more secure than electronic signatures because they provide better guarantees about the identity of the signer and the authenticity and integrity of signed documents.
Is a PDF signature an electronic signature?
A PDF signature can be an electronic signature or a digital signature. Creating an electronic signature in a PDF file is easy and fast and can usually be implemented with a simple click. Digital signatures can also be used to sign a PDF, but they require a digital certificate, also called digital ID. Adobe’s Acrobat Reader software offers both electronic and digital signing solutions to make it easy for businesses and is compatible with Entrust’s digital certificates called Document Signing Certificates. Using digital signatures would be the most secure signing option for PDFs.
What qualifies as a digital signature?
Digital signatures are a special class of electronic signatures that are embedded into documents, which can be visualized if the use case requires it. Digital signatures are based on digital certificates, which are issued by trusted certificate authorities or trust service providers.
What are examples of digital signatures?
A digital signature is based on public key infrastructure (PKI) and can be used in many use cases. Perhaps the most well-known use case is document signatures, but digital signatures can also be used as part of online (server-to-server or client-to-server) authentication, for web traffic authentication, for email encryption, and even for software authenticity and integrity.
What are examples of electronic signatures?
An electronic signature is used to represent a consent or an approval. That can be as simple as a name at the end of an email or document. Other forms include uploading an image of a drawn signature, draw signatures with a pad such as signing for a purchase at a store.
What is an advanced electronic signature?
An advanced electronic signature is a type of digital signature based on a digital certificate identifying the signatory of the document. The advanced electronic signature uniquely identifies and links its signatory to the private key that is being used to create the electronic signature. In some cases and regulations, advanced electronic signatures can be generated without digital certificates.
What is the difference between an advanced electronic signature and a digital signature?
In most cases, an advanced electronic signature is the same as a digital signature, because they both rely on a digital certificate issued by a trusted authority and containing verified identity details of a signatory.
What are document signing services?
A document signing service is a solution to help you get a digital document signed. A document signing service is in charge of orchestrating the signing process, including document upload/selection, multi-signature management, reminders, audit trail, etc. In the market you can find document signing services for every business use case. Document signing services can either entail the business that offers the signing software, or it could be an implementation partner to manage all types of signatures for your business.
Adobe digital signatures vs. electronic signatures
Within Adobe Acrobat Sign or Adobe Acrobat Reader, you have the option to use both electronic and digital signatures depending on your needs. Digital signatures provide stronger guarantees of the signer’s identity, but they require a digital certificate from a trusted authority such as Entrust.
Digital signatures vs. digital certificates
A digital certificate is an electronic document that contains identity details. A digital signature is the process of applying a signature using a digital certificate. In other words, a digital signature requires a digital certificate.