Electronic Signatures VS Digital Signatures (Technically)

By ComPDFKit | 2024 Mar 21
Tech Popularization Signature

In the digital world, digital signatures and electronic signatures are two common techniques for authentication and document certification. They play an important role in protecting the integrity of data and ensuring the security of transmissions. However, despite their similarity in purpose, there are key differences between digital and electronic signatures. Let's delve into the differences between them.


· What's Electronic Signature

· What's Digital Signature

· What's the Major Differences

  - Technology

  - Safety

  - Verification Principle

  - Use Case

· Which do You Need(Comparison Table)

· Summing Up


What's Electronic Signature

Electronic signatures are digital signatures generated using a computer or other electronic device to sign a document or transaction electronically. They are used to authenticate the identity of the signer and indicate their intent to agree to the contents of the document.


Image Resource: Pixabay


What's Digital Signature

Digital signatures are cryptographic techniques used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a digital message or document. It involves using public and private key pairs to create a unique digital signature that can only be generated by the owner of the private key.


Image Resource: Pixabay


What's the Major Differences

In this section, we will focus on the differences in technology, safety, verification principles, and use cases.



Electronic Signatures: 

- Often use cryptographic algorithms.

- As simple as a scanned image of a handwritten signature.


Digital Signatures: 

- Use a hash value of the data to be encrypted is obtained through a hash function.

- The hash value is encrypted using the signer's private key to obtain the digital signature.

- The signed data will be generated after attaching the digital signature to the data.


Hash function: A unique fingerprint of the data. Any tampering with the data content will result in a different hash.



Electronic signatures: 

- Generally more basic.

- Include simple methods like scanned images of signatures.

- With a lower safety factor.


Digital signatures: 

- Provide a higher level of security as they are.

- Based on unique cryptographic key pairs and are tamper-evident.

- With a more difficult to forge or manipulate.


Verification Principle

Electronic signatures:

- Compare the signature to a known sample

- Verify the signer's identity through scanned images

- Typed names to authenticate a document.


Digital signatures: 

- Separate the signature from the data.

- Obtain the hash value of the data through the same hash function used by the signer. 

- Decrypt the hash value using the signer's public key to get the signer's hash value. 

- Compare the two values to confirm whether the file has been tampered with.


Verification process of digital signatures


①: What Is a Certificate?

A digital certificate is a digital authentication that marks the identity information of the parties in Internet communication. It can be used online to identify the identity of the other party, hence, it is also known as a digital ID. The format of the digital certificate typically adopts the X.509 international standard and will generally include the certificate's public key, user information, the validity period of the public key, the name of the certificate authority, the serial number of the digital certificate, and the digital signature of the issuing organization.


Use Case

Electronic signatures: 

- Basic authentication and verification purposes.

- Signing contracts, authorizing transactions, or approving documents. 

- Simpler to implement and may be suitable for less critical or lower-risk applications.


Digital signatures:

- More secure and legally binding use cases.

- Financial transactions, legal agreements, or sensitive data exchanges.

- Require a strong level of trust and integrity.


Which do You Need (Comparison Table)

According to the above-detailed introduction, in this section, we have condensed the specific characteristics of both of them for your reference, so as to facilitate your quick choice!


Image Resource: ComPDFKit


In the form of text to understand the difference between the two, personally hands-on practice more substantial experience of the difference between the two, at this time, we recommend that you use ComPDFKit! 


We provide a variety of signature methods, including digital signature based on PKCS#12 standard and visual signature, etc., to meet different signature needs and style requirements. The API is easy to use, so developers can quickly integrate digital signature functionality into their applications and customize and adjust it according to actual needs. Additionally, we support the development of digital signatures on Windows using C#, on Android using Java, and on iOS using Swift.


Summing Up

For technical developers, ComPDFKit can provide a good technical reference to cope with the needs of digital signatures. Actions speak louder than words, practice our digital signature feature, it will not let you down. If you have encountered new technical problems during use, please feel free to contact us!