Time stamping and validation authority for long-lasting signature
Each time more, transactions of all kinds are carried out over the Internet and it is precisely this boom of electronic operations that has brought a greater number of mechanisms that in one way or another, provide security to operations, involving new concepts in the area such as Time Stamping.
For a safe browsing on the Internet, websites need to have certain certificates that make them reliable to the user. And within this trust and security of environments, we find tools like digital signature.
Digital signature is especially useful in areas where it is essential to verify that the data are authentic, ensuring that they have not been falsified or manipulated.
Through an encryption mechanism, the receiver of a digital document is allowed to verify, decoding the document, who is the author of the message and confirms that the message has not been altered since its issuance.
A long-lasting digital signature is an electronic signature that, through certain encryption systems, has been provided with validity over the time. This mechanism allows over the years, to continue validating the authenticity of the document.
The long-lasting signature mechanism is particularly useful, because by updating the stamping security, it allows a document to be further verified even though the original stamping security have lost validity over the time.
In order to make the long-lasting digital signature secure, two informations are incorporated technologically of which will give validity to the document.
The first one refers to the validation of the certificate at the time of signing and the latter to the time stamping which is secured by an authority indicating the exact time of signing.
Time Stamping is the mechanism for ensuring that the data in a document has not been altered from a specific time.
The Time StampingAuthority (TSA) provides the certification that electronic documents have existed from a certain point in time and that they are valid from that moment.
How is a time stamping generated?
In order for any user to obtain a time stamping for an electronic document, of which he/she is the holder, he/she must first generate a “digital summary” for that document.
Moreover, this summary is sent to the time stamping authority, which generates a time stamping involving the TSA’s summary, date and time, and electronic signature, sending itself back to the user.
In addition, the TSA keeps a record of all stamps issued so they can be verified in the future.
What is time stamping equivalent to?
If we look for ways to make an analogy of the digital world to better understand what the time stamping process is about, we could talk about the stamping of valid documents, made for example by a registry.
This stamp certifies that a document was validated at the time by an authority that certified it. Similarly, in the digital world, time stamping becomes a test that can even be synchronized via GPS with any schedule.
Time stamping applications
There are a large number of documents used by different sectors where the time stamping mechanism is used to make transactions reliable and secure.
For example, in electronic invoices, e-commerce transactions, for intellectual property protection, for financial books and even for betting.
Also in government areas such as electronic voting, e-visa and own government’s transparency.