Although “Digital signing” and “Encryption” are often used together to provide both confidentiality and authenticity for a message or data but they very distinct concepts in the field of cryptography.
Digital signing is a process that involves creating a unique code (called a ‘signature’) that is associated with a document or message, in order to verify the authenticity and integrity of the content.
The signature is generated using a private key, which is kept secret by the signer. The signature can then be verified using the corresponding public key which is made available to everyone who needs to verify the signature. This allows the recipient of the message to verify that the message was actually sent by the claimed sender, and that it has not been modified in transit.
Encryption is a process that involves converting plaintext (readable data) into ciphertext (unreadable data) in order to protect the confidentiality of the data. Encryption uses a secret key (or a combination of keys) to transform the data in a way that is difficult to reverse without the key. The encrypted data can then be decrypted using the same key (or combination of keys) in order to restore the original plaintext.
Digital signing is a way to verify the authenticity and integrity of a message, while encryption is a way to protect the confidentiality of a message.
A digital signature is a mathematical representation of the signer’s identity, and it is used to verify the authenticity and integrity of the signed message. While encryption uses mathematical algorithms to scramble the contents of a message or data so that it can only be read by someone with the correct decryption key.
Below are the main differences between Digital Signing and Encryption
- Purpose: Encryption is used to protect the confidentiality of data, while digital signing is used to verify the authenticity and integrity of a message or document.
- Technique: Encryption involves the use of a secret key or password to encode data in such a way that it can only be decrypted and read by someone who has the appropriate key or password. Digital signing involves the use of a digital signature, which is a mathematical value calculated using a private key that is unique to the signer.
- Key management: Encryption uses secret keys or passwords, which must be kept secret and shared securely between the sender and recipient. Digital signing uses a public key and a private key, which are typically managed using a digital certificate issued by a third-party certificate authority (CA).
- Verification: Encryption can be verified by decrypting the data and comparing it to the original message, while digital signing requires the use of a public key to verify the signature.
- Use cases: Encryption is commonly used to secure data transmission over the internet and protect the confidentiality of sensitive information. Digital signing is used to verify the authenticity and integrity of a message or document and provide a way to verify the identity of the sender. It is commonly used in e-commerce, online banking, and other applications where the authenticity of a message is critical.
- Security: Both encryption and digital signing can provide a high level of security for digital communications. However, encryption is generally considered to be more secure because it protects the confidentiality of the data, while digital signing only verifies the authenticity and integrity of the data.