Essay: How a Digital Signature Mechanism Works

Essay: How a Digital Signature Mechanism Works
11/04/2011 Comments Off on Essay: How a Digital Signature Mechanism Works Academic Papers on Information Technology,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

The typical Digital Signature mechanism consists of three algorithms. The key generation algorithm is used to randomly select a private key from a set of private keys. The output of this algorithm is the selected private key and its corresponding public key. The signing algorithm generates a message digest by crunching down the data in the document or message to a few lines through a process called hashing.

This message digest is then encrypted by the signing algorithm using the private key generated earlier by the key generation algorithm to create the Digital Signature.  This signature is then appended to the document to complete the signing process. When the document completes it transit over the public network and arrives at the receiver’s PC, the signature verification algorithm is then used to verify that the document has arrived safely and that it has come from the right sender. This is performed through decrypting the Digital Signature into a message digest with the help of the corresponding public key.

There are several variations of implementing Digital Signatures. In private key infrastructure, an encryption key, as well as a decoding algorithm, is installed on only the computers which need to communicate with each other. Only these computers can then communicate with each other in a secure manner. On the other hand, a larger implementation, such as a client-server environment, requires a public key infrastructure scheme to be implemented, where the decryption key is made available to any computer which wants to communicate with a particular computer. An even larger implementation requires the use of digital certificates issued by third-party authorities (Youd, 1996).

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