Digital signature standards (DSS): Types and definitions.
Learn about the standards that ensure the security of digital signatures and the different types of digital signatures supported by DSS.
What are Digital Signature Standards?
From entering into business contracts to buying a house, you can do a lot with your signature. Because it’s so powerful, it’s important to make sure your signature is as secure as possible.
Digital Signature Standards (DSS) are specific algorithms used by applications that require a digital signature. They’re a set of rules and parameters that allow tracking of the signature to verify the identity of the signer. For a digital signature to be authentic, it must adhere to all DSS regulations.
Three types of digital signature.
Although all electronic signatures must follow DSS rules, they’re not all created equal. There are three different types of digital signature you can use to sign documents:
- Simple electronic signature (SES) — The most basic form of electronic signature. SESs are quick and easy to add to documents, but they’re not protected by encryption methods. In other words, they’re not as secure. Your email signature is a good example of an SES.
- Advanced electronic signature (AES) — Although still not legally binding, AESs do track changes to the document made after signing. This increases the security, but you still wouldn’t want to use an AES on important contracts or documents.
- Qualified advanced electronic signature (QES) — The safest way to sign electronically. Qualified electronic signatures, also called digital signatures, use public key infrastructure, asymmetric cryptography, and two-factor authentication to ensure the highest level of security. They can also validate the signer’s identity, making them as safe and legal as a physical signature.
The type of signature you choose will depend on what you want to sign. A simple “congratulations” card doesn’t need a ton of security, so it’s fine to use an SES. If you want to buy a house, however, it’s best to use a QES.