Digital signatures are a means to do online what written signatures do in person. Based on powerful modern cryptography, digital signatures verify that people sending communication are really who they say they are and bind people to their agreements after the fact. Written with the businessperson in mind, Understanding Digital Signatures whittles away the complex mathematics of this online security element and lays out the concepts that make it work. Author Gail Grant's goal is to show how digital signatures can promote online trust in the same manner as a signature on a contract or a photo on a driver's license.
Grant begins with the basics, showing how security problems evolved and what they entail. She explains the five elements of security: authenticating that people are who they say they are, assuring they are authorized to do what they want to do, guaranteeing that private communications remain private, guarding data from being fraudulently changed, and making certain that others cannot deny responsibility for the consequences of their actions by pretending that they were not really the ones acting. Grant then looks at digital signatures from a businessperson's point of view, using case studies to explore how the technology is currently being used in the business world and what uses are planned for the immediate future.
She covers many surrounding issues, such as the legal responsibilities of those who certify digital signatures, the legislation required to truly make digital signatures the working equivalent of an autograph on a contract, and the business policies required to let companies take advantage of the technology while protecting themselves and their customers. Grant wraps up the book with a preview of up-and-coming applications.
A blueprint for establishing secure Internet transactions. Public Key Cryptography, and its primary application - Public Key Infrastructure, provide for digital certificates and digital signature. These are the means by which: buyers and sellers prove they are who they say they are; information being exchanged cannot be stolen or altered enroute; and sellers are assured that the payment they are being offered is real. This book places the technology in context, discusses related legal issues, provides business examples of where it is being used, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and provides addresses for relevant organizations and vendors.