- digital signaturesearch for term
1. An electronic -- rather than a written -- signature that someone can use to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or the signer of a document. It can also be used to ensure that the original content of the message or document that has been conveyed is unchanged. A digital signature can be used with any kind of message, whether it is encrypted or not, simply so the receiver can be sure that the sender is who he says he is and that the message arrived intact. A digital certificate contains the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority so that anyone can verify that the certificate is real. 2. Information added to digital data to authenticate the identity of the author and to make data tamper-proof. "Signing" the data entails defining a hash value for the data and encrypting with a public key. (Note that publishing a key for decryption and concealing a key for encryption is different than using the public key infrastructure data concealment method.)Also called electronic signature.