What types of electronic signatures exist?

Discover the types of electronic signature - simple, advanced and qualified. Which is safer for your digital transactions?

María Ruiz
Por María Ruiz ·
Types of electronic signatures
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In the face of the imperative need to authenticate and preserve the integrity of data exchanged in electronic environments, electronic signatures emerge as an essential tool. Although the term "electronic signature" is commonly used generically, there are actually different types, each with its own levels of security, characteristics, and particular applications. In this text, we will explore the various categories of electronic signatures, evaluate their security, and provide an overview of which might be considered the most robust.

How many types of electronic signatures are there?

To ensure the legitimacy and authenticity of these transactions, it is essential to have systems that authenticate the identity of the parties involved. This is where electronic signatures come into play. At the European level, Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014, known as eIDAS, establishes the main regulatory framework in this area.

eIDAS distinguishes three types of electronic signatures:

1- Simple Electronic Signature: Consists of electronic data used by the signatory to sign a document. It is the electronic version of a handwritten signature but does not have the same legal validity.

2- Advanced Electronic Signature: Goes beyond the simple one. It is uniquely linked to the signatory and allows for their identification. Furthermore, any subsequent alteration to the signed document is detectable, ensuring greater security and authenticity in transactions.

3- Qualified Electronic Signature: Offers the highest level of security. It is created using a secure signature creation device and is based on a qualified certificate. This signature has legal validity equivalent to a handwritten signature and is recognized throughout the European Union.

What is the difference between a simple and advanced electronic signature?

1. Simple Electronic Signature

This signature is distinguished by its simplicity, as it does not require drawing a signature but simply selecting an option or entering a PIN. Although its setup is quick, it does not fully guarantee legal validity because it does not unequivocally identify the signatory. For example, a user could simply click "Accept terms" to consent to a document. It is suitable for documents with little legal impact, such as accepting terms on a website or confirming vacation days.

2. Advanced Electronic Signature

With a higher level of security than the simple signature, the advanced signature complies with the eIDAS Regulation guidelines, ensuring that only the requester can sign, minimizing the risks of impersonation. The Signaturit system collects extensive information at the time of signing, such as biometric data based on pressure on compatible devices. This information can be analyzed by a graphologist in case of disputes. Additionally, a timestamp is used to confirm the authenticity of the date and integrity of the document. To ensure that the signature is not altered, documents are encrypted with high standards. In summary, this signature validates identity and protects data integrity, being acceptable as evidence in courts.

3. Qualified Electronic Signature

Although it provides great security, the qualified signature requires a qualified electronic signature certificate (eID) and a secure signature device, requirements that are not necessary for the advanced signature. Due to these requirements, its use is more common in procedures with government entities, such as the Treasury or Social Security.

What type of signature is the digital certificate?

The digital certificate is a type of advanced electronic signature. This signature system, regulated by Law 59/2003 in many countries, is based on obtaining a unique key granted by an authorized public entity, which verifies the identity of the requester and issues the corresponding digital certificate.

This system uses cryptographic algorithms and keys to perform digital signing, ensuring the security and authenticity of the signed documents. Often, the digital certificate is used to identify oneself to different administrations or to carry out legal and fiscal procedures online.

To streamline your digital signing processes securely and quickly, we invite you to use our application "Sign With Certificate". This tool is designed to take full advantage of the benefits of the digital certificate, allowing you to sign your documents efficiently and with full legal validity. Simplify your procedures and increase your productivity with "Sign With Certificate."