The digital signature secures the non-repudiable authorship and the integrity (unchangedness) of a message. The digital signature is an asymmetric cryptosystem. Unlike electronic signature (legal term), digital signature is a technical definition. Alternative terms are electronic signature and digital signature procedure.
How does the digital signature procedure work?
The sender of a message uses a signature key to create a digital signature. The signature key, also known as a private key, is secret. A certain value is determined from the signature key and the content of the message, which can consist of any data. This value is called the digital signature.
The calculated technical signature can only be verified with a public key (verification key, public key). This means that only the owner of the verification key can check the authorship and integrity of the message. This public key must be able to be assigned to the corresponding person without any doubt.
Which laws regulate digital signatures?
Digital signatures can be used to create secure electronic signatures. The two terms are not identical in content, because an electronic signature does not always have to be based on a digital signature. Electronic signatures are regulated in Article 3 No. 10 to 12 of the eIDAS Regulation. The Federal Network Agency annually reviews the minimum requirements for algorithms used to generate qualified electronic signatures. For each procedure, for example, the minimum key length and other parameters are published.
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