What is the Difference between Digital Signatures and Electronic Signatures?

Digital signatures and electronic signatures are both used to authenticate documents and ensure their integrity, but they differ in terms of the underlying technology and level of security they provide.

Digital Signature is the highest form of signature and content integrity as well as universal acceptance. Digital signatures are based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and are a result of a cryptographic operation that guarantees signer authenticity, data integrity and non-repudiation of signed documents.

A digital signature cannot be copied, tampered or altered. In addition, because they are based on standard PKI technology, signatures made within one application (e.g. Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF) can be validated by others using the same applications.

On the other hand, an electronic signature is a proprietary format (there is no standard for electronic signatures) that is an electronic data, such as a digitised image of a handwritten signature, a symbol, voiceprint, etc. that identifies the author of an electronic message. Electronic signatures are vulnerable to copying and tampering, making forgery easy. In many cases, will require proprietary software to validate the signature.

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