Digital signatures are used to validate and authenticate users before allowing them to perform certain actions on a digital document. This process involves storing the digital signatures of various users on a given document. Digital signatures are essentially a way of applying a digital signature to a document to ensure that it was created by the person whose ID is being used to sign it.
They are commonly used in business transactions to ensure that the person signing a document has full authority to do so. Many different types of security can be used to ensure the security of a given document. Each has specific benefits, drawbacks, and requirements that should be carefully considered before choosing the right type of security for the specific application. This article lists the different types of protection that can be used for digital signature storage and how each one applies to the particular requirements of the application.
What technology protects digital signatures?
As mentioned in the section on encryption, hashes are one-way mathematical functions that take input data (such as a password or file) and produce an output (the hash value), which has these features:
- The hash is computed with an algorithm
- The same input always produces the same hash
- Hashes are non-reversible – you can’t use a hash value to go back and figure out what data produced the hash. This makes hashes ideal for verifying the integrity of stored data. If you compute a hash value for some piece of data, and later you compute that value again, you know that somebody hasn’t been tampering with your data in storage.
The security of digital signatures is heavily reliant on the strength of the encryption used for their storage. Poorly designed or implemented encryption can result in a breach. It may even lead to a loss of public trust in electronic signatures altogether, so it’s essential to use robust encryption methods. There are many different kinds of key-based encryption that are most commonly used by businesses and a few more specialized methods that we’ll touch on at the end. Here’s how to choose and implement an appropriate encryption method for your business:
Transport Layer Security (TLs)
You probably know of TLS from its usage in HTTPS, the protocol that establishes a secure connection between your browser and the website you’re looking at. You may also know it by its former name, SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer.
TLS is used in a variety of other ways as well, such as encrypting VPN connections and emails sent over SMTP and IMAP. This protocol uses asymmetric public-key cryptography to encrypt data transferred across a network securely. For this to work, it uses certificates issued by certificate authorities (CAs). A certificate authority has been vetted by an existing CA—it’s like one person vouching for another to gain entry into an event. CAS sell these certificates to the servers that need them. If one needs to be revoked, they’re put on what’s called a certificate revocation list (CRL).
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
Public key infrastructure (PKI) stores and manages public-key encryption. It’s a set of roles, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption. To use digital signatures in your PDF files, you need some form of security used for digital signature storage.
Digital Signature Storage Security
Digital signing is a complex field. Although, as an end-user, you might not understand the technical jargon involved, it’s important to know some of the different types of security used for digital signing in case you encounter any issues with your signature certificate. The most widely used digital signature storage formats are:
For instance, cryptographic tokens are a physical device that has an embedded encryption key used to protect digital signatures. Beyond the standard username and password combination, these tokens can generate what is known as a one-time password (OTP). The OTP is a string of numbers and letters that is only valid for a short period of time. For example, imagine having to enter “8F39” into your system within 60 seconds. In fact, it’s highly likely that after 60 seconds, the code will change to something else entirely. This prevents hackers from using stolen passwords since they also need access to the user’s token to gain entry into their account.
Kerberos Framework—What Is It?
The Kerberos framework is an authentication protocol that provides authentication for client/server applications through the use of secret-key cryptography. In other words, it ensures that a trusted agent initiated data being sent between a client and server. The Kerberos framework uses tickets to authenticate users to different services within an environment. These tickets are encrypted and can only be read by the service or host they were intended for, so they can’t be read if intercepted in transit.
How Does Kerberos Work?
The Kerberos framework follows a three-step handshake between the client and server: The Kerberos Authentication Server (AS) authenticates the user’s identity by issuing a Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT). The client sends their TGT back to AS, which then issues them a Service Ticket (ST). This ST is what allows the user access to services within an environment based on permissions given by their administrator (more on this later).
Message Security Protocol (MSP)
Message Security Protocol (MSP), is a standards-based mechanism to secure SOAP messages, which is the XML-based protocol used by web services. It uses XML Signature and XML Encryption standards to sign and encrypt message data. Using MSP, two parties can have secure communications by exchanging signed and encrypted messages. The following diagram shows how each party signs and encrypts data using the sender’s private key, recipient’s public key, and other shared credentials, such as certificates.
Client-Authenticated TLS Handshake
In a client-authenticated TLS handshake, the server authenticates the client using public-key cryptography. This is useful in cases where you want to authenticate another computer or service that is requesting your API. The security provided by this type of handshake is equivalent to that provided by the TLS handshake, except that your application also shows the client in addition to authenticating the server.
Secure shell (SSH)
An SSH client is a program that uses the secure shell protocol to access remote computers. Using this client, you can connect to a remote computer running an SSH server and use it just like a local computer. For example, you can transfer files from your local machine to a remote computer or run commands on the remote computer’s command-line interface.
SSH supports several authentication methods, including username/password combinations and private keys. If you’re using an SSH client such as PuTTY on Windows, you’ll likely be prompted for credentials when connecting to an SSH server for the first time. If you’re using Linux, MacOS X, or a similar operating system with an integrated terminal emulator application (for example, Bash), simply run `ssh username@hostname` at the command line and enter your password when prompted.
SSH authentication is usually achieved through symmetric cryptography (also known as symmetric key encryption). Symmetric cryptography uses one secret key (the private key) to encrypt data and another secret key (the public key) to decrypt data. The keys are interchangeable; in other words, the same key is used both to encrypt data into ciphertext and then decrypt it back into plaintext again. Because anyone can generate their own private/public pair of keys without having to exchange any information with anyone else, this type of authentication is considered very secure by many experts in cybersecurity today.
Digital signatures are used to validate and authenticate users before allowing them to perform certain actions on a digital document. This process involves storing the digital signatures of various users on a given document. Digital signatures are essentially a way of applying a digital signature to a document to ensure that it was actually created by the person whose ID is being used to sign it. Many different types of security can be used to ensure the security of a given document. Each has specific benefits, drawbacks, and requirements that should be carefully considered before choosing the right type of security for the specific application. This article lists the different types of security that can be used for digital signature storage and how each one applies to the application’s specific requirements.