Difference Between Digital and Electronic Signatures

Digital vs electronic

Digital and electronic signatures have confounded many people. There are numerous misconceptions around them – primarily because of how they are used in modern-day lives. The world has witnessed the development of two breakthroughs in digital signature algorithms: ECDSA and DNSSEC. These terms are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. 

There needs to be more clarity between digital and electronic signatures. The latter was used as a part of an experiment to secure the.com and.net top-level domains. We’ll cover today what they are, how they work, and when you should use them.

This article will define digital and electronic signatures, discuss their differences, and explain when to use each.

What is the Difference Between Digital and Electronic Signatures?

Ever wondered why any letter or official document has to be signed by hand. It’s because it makes it valid. But how about a digital signature?

First off, both digital and electronic signatures rely on cryptography – it’s just a matter of how they are implemented in practice. A digital signature is created using a public key infrastructure (PKI) system. This involves generating two mathematically-related keys, a public key and a private key. The public key is shared with anyone who needs to verify the signature, while the private key is kept secret by the signer.

In contrast, an electronic signature is created using a system where only one key is utilized – typically through software such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign. These programs create a unique signature based on the signer’s typing patterns, mouse movements, or other biometric data. Electronic signatures encompass any electronic symbol or process attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record, executed by a person with the intent to sign.

In terms of security and legal acceptance, digital signatures are considered more reliable than electronic signatures. This is because a digital signature is uniquely linked to the signer, and can be verified by a third party using the signer’s public key.

In some industries and jurisdictions, digital signatures may even hold the same weight as a traditional handwritten signature. However, it’s important to note that electronic signatures do have their place – they may be more convenient and appropriate in certain situations.

So, when do you use one over the other? Generally speaking, digital signatures are considered more secure and legally binding. They offer non-repudiation – meaning that the signer cannot deny they signed the document. Electronic signatures, on the other hand, are typically used for convenience and speed in less critical situations.

In the end, it’s important to do your due diligence and choose a signature method that meets the level of security and legal validity required for the transaction at hand. Both digital and electronic signatures can be useful tools in an efficient and secure signing process.

Which is better digital or electronic signature?

There is no clear answer to this question as it depends on the specific situation and level of security required. Digital signatures are generally considered more secure and legally binding, while electronic signatures can be more convenient in certain circumstances. Digital signature can also be used to prove when a document was signed and by who, which is helpful if there’s any question about whether the signature was valid.

Electronic signatures are often used in place of physical signatures because they offer convenience and speed, but they aren’t as secure as digital signatures. The main difference between an electronic signature and a traditional signature is that an electronic signature is typically linked to hardware such as a keyboard or mouse rather than just your hand writing it down on paper (or even typing it).

It is important to do proper research and choose a signature method that meets the needs of the transaction.

Is electronic signature a part of digital signature?

Still not sure on the difference between digi-signature and e-signature? Well, digital signature is a kind of electronic signature. It provides greater security than a conventional electronic signature. When you put your digital seal on a document, it creates a connection between your identity and the document’s “fingerprint.”

This allows for authentication and non-repudiation, meaning that the sender cannot deny sending the document. Digital signatures also ensure integrity, as any changes made to the document after it has been signed would invalidate the signature.

However, not all electronic signatures are considered digital signatures. For example, simply typing your name into a document is considered an electronic signature, but it does not provide the same level of security and validation as a digital signature. So, while all digital signatures are electronic signatures, not all electronic signatures are considered digital signatures. Make sure you know the difference and use the appropriate method for your important online documents.

In short, electronic signature is a broad term that includes digital signatures, but not all electronic signatures provide the same level of security and validation. When it comes to important documents, it’s best to use a digital signature for added assurance. It is important to understand the differences between the two in order to properly secure and validate agreements and contracts.

Additionally, electronic signatures may not be legally binding in all circumstances, while digital signatures typically have more legal weight. It is important to research the laws and regulations in your industry and jurisdiction to ensure that your agreements are properly executed and enforceable.

How do you identify a digital signature?

A digital signature can be identified by its unique algorithm and encryption method. It is also linked to the signer’s personal identification, such as their digital certificate or public key. Additionally, a digital signature typically includes a timestamp to verify when it was signed.

To identify users and secure information in digital messages or documents, digital signatures produce a virtual fingerprint that is specific to a person or entity. The email’s actual content is incorporated into the digital signature in emails. If the content is altered in any way, the digital signature will become invalid. This helps ensure the authenticity and integrity of electronic communications and transactions. Digital signatures can also be used for non-repudiation, meaning the signer cannot deny signing a document.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do digital signature on PDF?

Yes, you can digitally sign a PDF using a digital signature certificate. This adds an extra layer of security and authenticity to the document, as it verifies that the signature belongs to the certificate holder. 

To do this: the PDF must first be opened in a program that supports digital signatures, such as Adobe Acrobat. From there, the certificate can be selected and applied to the document. It is important to note that a digital signature is different from simply typing or drawing a signature onto a PDF. A digital signature uses encryption to verify the identity of the signer and ensure that the document has not been altered.

It is also possible to validate a digital signature on a PDF. This can be done by opening the document in a program that supports digital signatures and selecting the signature to view its properties. From there, the validity of the signature can be checked. This can also be confirmed by an outside party, such as a notary, who has their own certificate to validate the signature. Overall, using a digital signature on a PDF adds an extra level of security and authenticity to the document.

What are the types of electronic signatures?

Simple electronic signatures (SES), advanced electronic signatures (AES), and qualified electronic signatures are the three forms of electronic signatures (QES). 

  • SES is a basic form of electronic authentication using methods such as email and passwords. 
  • AES, on the other hand, utilizes an advanced method of verification such as biometrics or a physical token. 
  • QES, the most secure form, requires a qualified certificate and is legally binding in all EU member states. 

It is often used for high-value or legally binding transactions. It is important to note that electronic signatures are not the same as digital signatures, which use public key infrastructure and are typically only used for highly secure industries such as finance or government. Additionally, handwritten signatures also cannot be replaced by electronic signatures in certain jurisdictions and industries. It is crucial to understand the legal implications and regulations surrounding electronic signatures before utilizing them in business transactions.

Can a digital signature be copied?

The issue of tampering and impersonation in digital communications is addressed by a digital signature. In addition to acknowledging the signer’s knowing consent, digital signatures can offer proof of the origin, identity, and status of an electronic document, transaction, or message. A digital signature, unlike ink signatures on paper documents, cannot be duplicated from one document to another and applies to the entire document; altering any portion of the document after signing renders the signature invalid.

However, it is possible for a malicious actor to intercept and duplicate the digital signature itself, potentially leading to fraud. Therefore, it is important to use secure systems and regularly update security measures in order to protect against this kind of tampering. Additionally, any changes made to the signed document will invalidate the signature. This ensures the authenticity and integrity of the signed document.

What are the benefits of electronic signature?

Electronic signature is a quick and easy way to sign documents, which can be done from anywhere, at any time. Electronic signatures are legally binding, so you can rest assured that your signature is secure and will hold up in court if necessary. That is why many users uses e-signature when signing documents online. These are the following benefits of e-signature too:

  • E-signature is reliable
  • It is convenient to use
  • It saves time and money
  • E-signature is environmentally friendly
  • It increases efficiency and productivity

Overall, electronic signature offers numerous benefits for both businesses and individuals. It streamlines the signing process, helps save resources, and ensures the security of legally binding signatures. As technology continues to evolve, e-signatures will only become more widely used and accepted in various industries.

What are the advantages of digital signature?

Digital signatures are an easy way to verify that a message has not been altered, and they’re used by everyone from banks to email providers. The advantages of digital signatures include:

  • Reduced risk of fraud or identity theft—You can see who sent the message and verify that it hasn’t been altered in any way since it was originally sent.
  • Increased trust—Because you know that the information being presented can be trusted, you’ll be more likely to act on it.
  •  Easier communication—Digital signatures make it easier for people to communicate with each other because they know their information is authentic.
  • Saves time and resources—There’s no need for physical signatures or extra steps to verify authenticity, so you save time and potentially money.

Digital signatures are more secure than traditional signatures since they’re tied to a specific device and can’t be copied. This means that digital signatures are much harder to forge. Digital signatures also make it easier for people who don’t know each other well to have a secure way of signing documents and contracts, since they don’t have to meet in person.


Electronic signatures and digital signatures offer convenience, security, and efficiency for businesses and individuals conducting transactions online. It is important to understand the legal implications and regulations surrounding their use in order to ensure the validity of signed documents. 

However, the benefits of using electronic or digital signatures far outweigh any potential risks, making them a valuable tool in today’s increasingly digital world. We hope that this article helped you understand the differences and advantages of electronic and digital signatures. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more advancements in this field. Happy signing!

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