A digital signature (not to be confused with a digital certificate) is an electronic signature that is used to authenticate the identity of a message sender or document signer, and usually to ensure that the original message/document content is unchanged (document integrity).

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

35
votes
3answers
7k views

Why should one not use the same asymmetric key for encryption as they do for signing?

In an answer to a question about RSA and PGP, PulpSpy noted this: It is possible to generate an RSA key pair using GPG (for both encryption and signing -- you should not use the same key for ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are hand-written signatures still so commonly used?

I apologize, that this is not an IT security question (at least not directly), but I couldn't find a more suitable StackExchange site to ask this question. Why are hand-written signatures still so ...
24
votes
10answers
823 views

Does hashing a file from an unsigned website give a false sense of security?

Consider this. Many websites with software downloads also make available MD5 or SHA1 hashes, for users to verify the integrity of the downloaded files. However, few of these sites actually use HTTPS ...
24
votes
4answers
10k views

How to achieve non-repudiation?

If I have a message that I need to send to another person, how do I achieve non repudiation ? Is digitally signing the message sufficient ?
16
votes
8answers
9k views

Why do people still use/recommend MD5 if it is cracked since 1996?

It's still commonly recommended way of hashing passwords, even if it's insecurity had been proven in 1996 Therefore we suggest that in the future MD5 should no longer be implemented in ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Digital Certificate deployment: using two certs for each user?

At a large enterprise environment I have come across a deployment approach for Digital Certificates where each user is issued two (2) key pairs: One for signing documents, emails, etc. that is ...
15
votes
3answers
466 views

What is gained by hashing the last block on-device?

Recently I encountered the notion of "hashing the last block on-device". It means that when computing a digital signature, the hash that serves as input for the actual signature computation is not to ...
14
votes
4answers
9k views

how digital signature verification process works

I am not able to understand that how the digital signature is verified. I know that digital signature will be attached to the message and sent by sender to receiver. then receiver uses the public key ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Why not RSA-encrypt the entire document?

I have recently learned of a way for person B to verify that a document sent from person A is indeed from person A. Person A gives Person B his public RSA key. This must be done reliably. Person A ...
14
votes
2answers
388 views

Which factors should I consider for devices that accept handwritten digital signatures?

These days many locations ask you to give your signature on a digital signature pad/device. As I am situated in Europe, the EU directive 1999/93/EC seems to regulate it. From what I have found out ...
12
votes
1answer
321 views

What are the problems with encrypted but unsigned data?

In another question's answer, D.W. wrote: Make sure there is authenticity protection for the encrypted data (e.g., encrypt and then sign/MAC): you will need both confidentiality and authenticity ...
11
votes
3answers
320 views

How are private keys handled in an enterprise?

We would like to start using digital signatures and possibly encryption for e-mails in our company. My knowledge of public-key cryptography is entirely theoretical with no practical experience. In ...
10
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the actual value of a certificate fingerprint?

In a x509 digital certificate there is a "certificate fingerprint" section. It contains md5, sha1 and sha256. How are these obtained, and during the SSL connection, how are these values checked for?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Does my PGP key really need to match the e-mail address for which I'll be using it?

In considering whether or not I want to join the big web o' trust and put my keys on a key server, I got to thinking about how it would affect my e-mail address' exposure. I generally try to keep my ...
9
votes
7answers
426 views

Authencity of information displayed on an untrusted device

Suppose I have a (bluetooth/usb) device which needs to displays information on an external pc/phone. Is there a simple and effective method to garantuee that the information displayed hasn't been ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

What does “key with length of x bits” mean?

I'd like to know what it means to say "the cryptosystem C uses keys with a length of x bits". I do not understand what the bits length means... doesn't it depend on the encoding? The same word encodes ...
9
votes
3answers
429 views

Can signing too much compromise a private key?

Can a collection of many messages signed with the same private key be abused to either forge signatures so some (but not all possible) messages, or even worse to reconstruct that private key with less ...
9
votes
3answers
561 views

API message verification without storing private key?

I'm in the process of implementing a public API for my web service. Security is a key concern as money is involved. It seems the current common practice for "authenticating" users in API requests is ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

License key / Serial number generator and checker

I need a serial number generator and accompanying checker. I would like to be able to set a salt (and maybe a length). The generator should only produce serial numbers that pass the test of the ...
8
votes
3answers
577 views

Most widespread use of PGP after 20 years

Phil Zimmerman released PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) on June 5, 1991. As we examine the legacy of that far-sighted and brave act 20 years later, what are the most widespread and helpful uses of PGP ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

How do the processes for digital certificates, signatures and ssl work?

I have been trying to understand how ssl works. Instead of Alice and Bob, lets consider client and server communication. Server has a digital certificate acquired from a CA. It also has public and ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

when people say a file has a checked md5 hash, what exactly does that mean?

ok I was just reading this site: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/stay-safe-online-5-secrets-every-pc-and-mac-owner-should-know/3542?pg=4&tag=mantle_skin;content and thought of something I always ...
7
votes
2answers
346 views

What asymetric scheme provides the shortest signature, while being secure?

I've had a look at several signature schemes (DSA, ECDSA for the most common ones), and am wondering about whether there exist a scheme that would have the following properties : Be asymmetric (one ...
7
votes
4answers
574 views

What good, standard digital signature verification clients are widely or easily deployed?

I'm looking for a good way to publish data along with a digital signature (and ideally a timestamp) which is as easy as possible to verify. For example, imagine an election administrator who wants to ...
7
votes
7answers
237 views

Proving running code on a website is unchanged

Can it be proved to the user that the running code behind a website with security related code is the same as published? I'm currently looking at a few new project ideas and one involves secure ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

A standard way to manually add a digital signature to a pdf file?

I've created a few certificates to use myself, but I find myself stumped when it comes to creating a certificate which contains a digital signature. First, how would I go about creating a standard ...
6
votes
1answer
408 views

OpenPGP Encryption / Decryption Process Using GnuPG

I want to know if my method of encryption can ensure the security of my data if my database was hacked as well as the authenticity of the data I am decrypting. I am using GnuPG's implementation of the ...
6
votes
1answer
209 views

How to Get and Set Digital Signatures with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Standards

How do I get and set digital signatures with the 21 CFR part 11 standards as defined by the Food&Drug Administration of the USA?
6
votes
1answer
721 views

Public key length

I was wondering if there was (and I hope there is) a standard for public key size for ECDH (Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman) and ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) for every curve type ...
6
votes
1answer
10k views

PKCS7 encoding in Java without external libs like BouncyCastle etc

I am working on signing and encoding of CMS/PKCS#7 messages (something similar to C# SignedCms). I have x509certificate from the keystore, rsa private key, ContentInfo. ContentType is "oidPkcs7Data". ...
6
votes
1answer
85 views

Reading older mails signed with a certificate that has meanwhile expired

A few years ago I have used S/MIME certs to sign (and encrypt) my mails. The reason for which I stopped signing was the following: My (class 2) cert was issued on Jan. 1st 2008 (just a sample). It ...
5
votes
3answers
791 views

Is there a way to accept signed requests without storing client's password in plaintext?

We are developing REST Web service. We will give Identifier and Secret string to each of our REST clients. When doing requests, clients will authenticate themselves using HMAC algorithm (they will ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I use a private key as a public key and vice versa?

I have code to encrypt data using a public key and decrypt it using a private key. This is useful when a client wants to send data to a server and know that only the server can decrypt it. But say I ...
5
votes
3answers
617 views

How can I prove that I wrote a certain blog post?

I would like to be able to prove that I wrote the article that resides at a given URL on someone else's blog. Is there a way that I can do this with public key cryptography? I know a bit about the ...
5
votes
3answers
323 views

DHE exchange and client authentication

If a server has a known public key and a Diffie-Helman exchange is performed and signed by that key, is there any benefit to authenticating the client before establishing a secure channel instead of ...
5
votes
3answers
495 views

Digital Signature and Verification?

AFAIK , When Alice wants to write a message to Bob -- she uses Bob's public key and encrypt the message - and then Bob - using his private key - use to decrypt it. So public key is used to decrypt ...
5
votes
1answer
270 views

Most efficient key algorithm for a TLS server key?

Let's assume I want to setup a HTTPS service on a modern-but-no-so-speedy x86 server without any form of hardware cryptographic accelerator. Which key algorithm should I choose for the server key in ...
5
votes
2answers
544 views

Enforce Code/Script Signing

I have both a couple of X.509 Code Signing certificates and a GPG keypair that I can use to sign against code I run on my VPS. Every now and again I write code for iOS, OS X and Windows and always ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Dealing with expired or revoked signing certificates with Infopath documents

Suppose I have an Infopath form that is digitally signed today by a valid, and active user. When that user leaves the company, we disable the account and revoke the certificate. This causes a problem ...
4
votes
5answers
206 views

Is there any security value of creatively naming folders containing sensitive files?

A friend of mine asked me if he could sign his tax returns without printing them out. While helping him, he insisted on naming the folder containing images of his signature and initials a completely ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is a 512 bit RSA key secure when used temporary?

Is a 512 bit RSA key secure when a new key gets generated and used approximately once a week? The key is only used for signing messages, not for encrypting sensitive data. This is for a system where ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature

From Wikipedia: An electronic signature, or e-signature, is any electronic means that indicates either that a person adopts the contents of an electronic message, or more broadly that the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

When using symmetric key encryption, do we need to sign?

Say we're using a shared key between two parties, that has been distributed using public key encryption, is it still necessary to sign any data that's encrypted using the shared key? Or is it enough ...
4
votes
2answers
141 views

Can the client certificate authentication process treated as a user digitally signed the content(and then get verified on the server)?

The authentication was triggered by certain event (like approving button) on the form. In the process of client certificate authentication (in IIS), user was asked to use their PIN (private key) and ...
4
votes
1answer
392 views

Does Authenticode still work offline and with a “fake” certificate

Here's our story: We're developing some software (written in C#/.NET) and we're already signing the assemblies with strong names, I do this in Visual Studio with a pfx file that is protected by a ...
4
votes
1answer
116 views

Are the SSL Digital Security Certifiactes based on Kerberos Network Security Protocol

I just want to know if digital certificates use the kerberos session key algorithm.
4
votes
2answers
461 views

What are the real-time applications of long term digital signature with timestamp

I want to know the real time applications that uses digital signatures with timestamps. Specially I am interested to know the applications where we can trust an old signed document which is now ...
4
votes
1answer
14k views

How to use OpenSSL generated keys in Java?

I have my pair of Public and Private keys and my certificate. Those where created in OpenSSL (why? because I was asked to do it in OpenSSL). Now I want to use those things to make a Java app that ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

How do I build a secure signing mechanism on top of HMAC

Say we have a system with strong shared keys (not passphrases), and we're trying to sign messages sent by the server that will be visible to an attacker. E.g. storing session state in a signed cookie. ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Standards for CA cert revocation and time-constrained cryptographic algorithm parameters

I'm working on software that will be in use for foreseeable future (15 years+) that will need to validate XAdES-A signatures (long term archival, similar to PAdES-A, but for XML). That means, it will ...