Digital Signatures: Why They are Important


The use of digital signatures is a way to make communications online more transparent and secure. A digital signature is a unique virtual algorithm that is specifically linked to a certain person. This algorithm, allows a person to have a unique digital signature that verifies it is them. This digital signature is used to let others you are communicating with know that messages, documents, or emails sent by you have not been tampered with upon signing. Also, it lets the recipient know that the message is coming from you specifically.

An important aspect of digital signatures is the fact that the user creating it obtains what is known as a public key and a private key. The private key is the digital signature that is specifically linked to the user and only they have access to it. The public key is the digital signature that is publicly available to anyone who wants to encrypt a message for the private key owner to specifically open.

An example would be if you want to send a message to a friend. You will encrypt the message with the public key of your friend’s digital signature. This will cause the message to become encrypted and only allow the private key holder to access that message. Since your friend is the holder of the private key, they will be able to decrypt the message and read its contents. If your friend wants to securely send you a message they will conduct the exact opposite but with your public key. You would then decrypt the message with your private key. If you want to send a certified document to a user, you would private key sign the document to let the recipient know that it is from you. Then you would follow the former steps to securely send the message.



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