Understanding the concept of Digital signature certificate (DSC)

Digital signature certificate is meant to electronically authenticate your identity. It offers high level of security during online transactions by safeguarding the privacy of the information you exchange. Digital signature certificates can be used to encrypt information meant exclusively for the intended recipient. Digital signatures can let the recipient know that the document is not changed during transit and also it can help the recipient verify your identity as the sender of the message.  In other words, all electronic documents need digital signature. Digital signatures are issued by authorities licensed under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.

Identity theft wherein someone else is pretending to be you by using your identity to get the credit and other benefits in your name is a great threat to online transactions. Under this process, the persons committing identity theft, fraud or crimes might use your id and credit card number without your permission. While identity theft can damage your finance and reputation, Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) can serve as the most reliable tools to enhance Cyber Security. DSC employs complex algorithms and generates two asymmetric keys namely public and private key. The public key is made available publicly. While the private key is used to sign the documents or online transactions, the public key is used to verify the signature.

There are three kinds of Digital Signature Certificates including Class 3, Class 2, DGFT. Class 3 DSC can be used for e-Tendering, e-Procurement, e-Ticketing, and filing of trademark or patent application. Class 2 DSC can be used for filing ROC/MCA Forms and IT returns filing, and for signing Form 16/16A. DGFT DSC is useful for importers and exporters. Individuals can get DSC after an identity verification process that is implemented by the Information Technology Act in India. DSC is used as an authenticating tool in India during statutory e-filings and electronic banking. Since they carry a legal sanctity, DSCs can serve as evidence under the law.

The ultimate benefits of digital signature can be summed up under two heads as follows:

  1. Authentication:

Usually, all messages contain the information about the sender. However, this information cannot always be deemed precise. Under this circumstance, digital signature can offer a fool proof authentication regarding the source of the message. At times when the proprietor of a secret key for a digital signature is connected to a particular user, a valid signature attests the fact that the message was sent by that particular user only. Especially in the context of financial transactions, the high confidence pertaining to the authenticity of the sender of the message is clearly reinforced by digital signature.

  1. Integrity

Digital signature’s role is crucially evident under circumstances when both the sender and the recipient of a message need to ensure that the communication has not been altered during delivery. Though encryption can be used to hide the contents in a message, it is not impossible to change the encryption even without understanding it. However if a message is digitally signed, any alteration of the same will turn the signature invalid and could therefore revel the fraud.

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