Blockchain leveraged to improve e-signature security

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

With the growth of e-commerce, more and more individuals are becoming accustomed to signing contracts with strangers over the Internet. As a result of the epidemic’s impact, businesses have begun to perform intelligent business operations more regularly via online meetings or papers.

Electronic signatures, as a key component of online contracts, play a vital role in safeguarding the rights and interests of all contract parties. According to Carlo Chung, Co-founder of eSignature solution provider Signitory, blockchain technology has the potential to improve oversight and security. Its non-tamperable characteristic is important in electronic signatures.

“By putting your signed document in the blockchain, you can now check the validity of the signed papers. If the hash value does not match, the blockchain has determined that your papers were altered and falsified on purpose. This is especially useful for important contracts since it adds an extra degree of protection to your signed paperwork.” Carlo added.

Certificate Authorities (CAs), who provide digital certificates to verified individuals, play a very significant role in signing electronic documents, and are the current digital transformation trust mechanism.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the concept of COVID-19 Certificate Digital Document (CCDD) is offered as a method through which a person’s COVID-19 related health-data may be digitally documented using electronic certificates.

When a document is created as a PDF file, however, many PDF readers and online verification services include flaws.

Hackers can exploit these flaws to attack signed PDF documents to make illegal changes without rendering the digital signature invalid. These attacks include Universal Signature Forgery (USF), Incremental Preservation Attack (ISA), and Signature Wrapping Attack (SWA).

“In this case, the non-tamperable feature of the additional blockchain will magnify and ensure that the certificate will not be tampered with.” Carlo added.