Meaning of Digital Signature
Digital Signature means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of Section 3; Section 3 provides that any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature. The authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of asymmetric crypto system and hash function which envelop and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record.
The hash function means an algorithm mapping or translation of one sequence of bits into another, generally smaller set known as “hash result” such that an electronic record yields the same hash result every time the algorithm is executed with the same electronic record as its input making it computationally infeasible:
- To derive or re-construct the original electronic record from the hash result produced by the algorithm;
- Those two electronic records can produce the same hash result using the algorithm.
Digital Signature Certificates
Digital Signature Certificates or DSC are being adopted by various government agencies and now is a statutory requirement in various applications.
Validity of the Certificate
You could buy certificates with a validity upto three years. (The validity is controlled by law, and you cannot buy certificates more than three years and less than One year validity)
Meaning of Certifying Authority(CA’s)
Certifying authorities are professional agencies, individuals or corporate bodies, which possess the technical skills to issue digital signature certificates to those who want to send secure electronic records and digital signature. In India, National Information Center (NIC) and Tata consultancy Services (TCS) are among the leading licensed certifying authorities.
With the enactment of Information Technology Act,2000 in India, only licensed Certifying Authorities can issue digital signature certificates.
Functions and Powers of Certifying Authorities
- Issue of digital signature certificate (Section 35).
- Suspension of the Certificate (Section 37).
- Revocation of Digital Signature Certificate(Section 38).
- Notice of Suspension or Revocation.