Digital Signature – Electronic Signature (eSignature)


What is an Electronic Sigature (eSignature)?

Electronic signatures (eSignatures) are the equivalent of a handwritten signature in the paper world.  In simple terms, an electronic signature is simply a digital image of a signature displayed within an electronic document.

Mike Smith Electronic Signature

What is a Digital Signature?

Digital signatures strengthen electronic signatures by encrypting the contents of a document which allows applications to detect if the document was tampered with or altered.

Although digital signatures appear to be complicated, the knowledge required to use and validate digitally signed documents associated with Forensic Notes is minimal.  

For most people using Forensic Notes, the above information is all that is needed to understand the Digital Signing process.

Forensic Notes Proprietary Validation Tool will complete the complex validation and simply display the validity of the document as either being Valid (Green) or Invalid (Red).

Click here for further information on the differences between Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures.


Technical Information – Digital Signature

The digital signature relies on a digital fingerprint which is a SHA-512 Hash value. The Hash value is calculated using a one-way encryption algorithm which generates the unique value for the document.

The only way to generate a duplicate SHA-512 Hash value is if an exact duplicate file is analyzed.

The digital fingerprint is then encrypted with a Private Key through a process involving Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

As part of the Digital Signing process utilized by Forensic Notes, an independent digital timestamp is obtained from DigiStamp, our Timstamping Authority (TSA).

DigiStamp is trusted by large banks, government agencies and global organizations.

The digital timestamp is embedded within the Digital Signature at the time of signing. This allows the person viewing the document to know the exact data and time the document was digitally signed.

The result is an electronic document that is designed to detect tampering and modifications. If any modification or tampering of the document occurs,  the signature becomes invalid and will fail to validate using Forensic Notes Proprietary Validation Tool.

In addition, the digital signature can be checked and validated within Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.


Digital Signature – What does it mean for you?

From a legal perspective, this allows the creator of the Forensic Note to prove that a note or attached document existed at the date and time specified.

Not only can the owner prove that the note or attachment existed, but also that it has not been modified or altered since the signature was applied. 

This is vital for admitting documents into a court room – as there may be challenges about the reliability of your documents and the time they were actually written.


Can you PROVE when you created a note or document?

Many people are not aware that a document can be easily manipulated to appear as if it was created days, months or even years in the past. The process can be easily accomplished by:

  1. Setting back the computers clock
  2. Creating a document
  3. Saving the document
  4. Resetting the computer clock

The result will be a document that appears to have been created in the past.  Although it may be possible for an experienced digital forensic examiner to determine the original date, the process to do so is both difficult and time consuming.

Digital Signatures and Forensic Notes Proprietary Validation Tool solves the problem of being unable to prove when a document was saved. This ensures that the author of each Forensic Note can easily PROVE when a note or document was created.

As a result, you will be able to present your notes and documents and face any scrutiny  with credibility and integrity.