Distinction between Electronic and Digital Signatures
1 Answer

In an electronic record/document, the paper medium is absent; consequently, physical signature needs to be replaced with an electronic one. 'Electronic signature' means any letters, characters, numbers or other symbols in digital form attached to or logically associated with an electronic record, and executed or adopted with the intention of authenticating or approving the electronic record.

The distinction between an electronic and digital signature is an important one. The terms frequently are used almost synonymously. For purposes of consistent analysis here, 'electronic signature' means any identif‌iers such as letters, characters, or symbols, manifested by electronic or similar means, executed or adopted by a party to a transaction with an intent to authenticate a writing. A writing, therefore, is deemed to be electronically signed if an electronic signature is logically associated with such writing.

In contrast to an electronic signature, a ‘digital signature‘ is an electronic identif‌ier that utilises an information security measure, most commonly cryptography, to ensure the integrity, authenticity, and non repudiation of the information to which it corresponds. Digital signature is an electronic signature which involves/consists of a transformation of an electronic record using an encryption methodology and the asymmetric cryptosystem. The most popular encryption methodology is the hash function. As far as a digital signature enabled document is concerned, the person having the initial unencrypted electronic record and the signer‘s Public Key can accurately determine-

  1. whether the transformation was created using the Private Key that corresponds to the signer's Public Key; and

  2. whether the initial electronic record has been altered since the transformation was made.

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