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Overview of Digital Signatures

Digital certificates and digital signatures are an important method to promote online security and trust.

The digital signature is a procedure that can reliably identify who created the signed data, such as an e-mail or a document (authenticity). It also reveals any subsequent changes to the data (integrity).

The sender can thus prove their identity and the recipient can be certain that the data has not been tampered with.

The following terms are associated with the use of digital signatures:  

Authentication (Authentizität)

Authenticity refers to the source or origin of a document or message. Who created or signed the document? Who sent the message? Is it genuine or a forgery?

Authorisation (Autorisierung)

Authorisation reliably confirms that the party is entitled to do something.

Integrity (Integrität)

Integrity refers to the accuracy and completeness of the communication. Is the received document or message the same as when it was sent, or has it been altered either in transmission or storage?

Confidentiality (Vertraulichkeit)

Confidentiality refers to the need to control the disclosure of sensitive information so that unauthorised persons cannot have access to it.

Non-Repudiation  (Nicht Anfechtbarkeit / Unleugbarkeit)

Nonrepudiation is the ultimate goal when we seek to prove authenticity or to pro-tect integrity. Simply put, non-repudiation is the capability to hold the sender to their electronic communication in the event of a dispute. Can the message hold up in court?