We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Digital Signatures?

By Derek Schauland
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Digital signatures are electronic stamps that can be used to identify the sender or the signer of a digital document. Think of digital signatures as the digital equivalent of the signature placed on a contract or a check. Digital signatures use public and private key pairs to ensure the authenticity of an electronic document. The creator of the document will have the private portion of a digital signature scheme which is encoded onto the document when it is signed. Then the recipient of the document would receive the public key of the digital signature scheme. This would allow the recipient of the document to know that the document was authentic and really did come from the sender.

Keeping with a paper document analogy, the purpose of a signature is to verify that the signer is the originator of the document. Sometimes documents require signatures in person to have a witness to the signature. The public key/private key pair allows electronic documents to be verified in much the same way.

A digital signature scheme generates a key pair, and the public key will only match the corresponding private key and vice versa. This ensures that the document which contains the private key is authentic and has not been changed since signing.

One thing to note is that a digital signature is altogether different from a digital certificate, which verifies content on a website with a third party. A digital signature is also very different from an email signature. While an email signature is a digital representation of the senders name and contact information, it does nothing to guarantee the origin of the message or document.

E-mail messages can be signed with digital signatures to verify their origin just like other electronic documents. Using digital signatures will allow recipients of these documents to feel comfortable in trusting that the document really came from the listed sender. This process can also help guarantee that the document has not been modified since being sent.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Jan 26, 2015

@Markerrag -- I do believe courts and businesses have wrestled with that problem for years. The short answer to your question is that I do believe that a lot of it depends on where the contract is enforced. If it is in a state that recognizes the legitimacy of digital signatures, then the contract is valid. If not, the contract will not be valid.

Expect all of that to change. There are a number of courts, for example, that don't even deal with paper filings anymore. They deal with digital documents exclusively and digital signatures are naturally viewed as legitimate in those courts. That is the way things have been heading for years, for better or worse.

By Markerrag — On Jan 25, 2015

One thing about digital signatures is that those are legally binding in some states. People have been wrestling with the authenticity of digital signatures for years and there are some states that recognize them as authentic and some that do not.

That is a big deal. In those states that allow digital signatures, contracts can be signed electronically and they bind all people who signed them to the terms of those contracts. That has created a lot of legal problems. What if there is a digital contract, for example, and it is signed by people in states that recognize the legality of those signatures and people in states that do not recognize the legality of those signatures? Is the contract binding and legal or not?

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.