What is a Digital Signature?
Digital signatures provide a proven cryptographic process for software publishers and in-house development teams to protect their end users from cybersecurity dangers, including advanced malware attacks. Digital signatures ensure the integrity and authenticity of software and documents by enabling end users to verify publisher identities while validating that the code or document has not been changed since it was signed.
Digital signatures go beyond electronic versions of traditional signatures by invoking cryptographic techniques to dramatically increase security and transparency, both of which are critical to establishing trust and legal validity. As an application of public key cryptography, digital signatures can be applied in many different settings, from a citizen filing an online tax return, to a procurement officer executing a contract with a vendor, to an electronic invoice, to a software developer publishing updated code.
Digital signing is also useful for organizations seeking to preserve business integrity by protecting copyright and facilitating licensing. For example, a company such as Microsoft can utilize singing to ensure its software cannot be issued by another company unaffiliated with Microsoft. Additionally, it is important for ensuring supply chain integrity and provenance of components. When coupled with public key infrastructure (PKI) it becomes a powerful tool for ensuring that software components are not tampered or tainted before being deployed in products or systems.