Authentication is any process through which one proves and verifies certain information. Sometimes one may want to verify the origin of a document, the identity of the sender, the time and date a document was sent and/or signed, the identity of a computer or user, and so on. A digital signature is a cryptographic means through which many of these may be verified. The digital signature of a document is a piece of information based on both the document and the signer's private key. It is typically created through the use of a hash function and a private signing function (algorithms that create encypyted characters containing specific information about a document and its private keys). For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/wastes/hazard/transportation/manifest/manifs.htm.
What is a digital signature and what is authentication?
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