10 Useful And Important Digital Signature Certificate FAQs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital signatures secure documents like invoices, rental agreements and employment contracts in a variety of industries. As more companies digitise their workflows and documents, the requirement and demand for a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) has become high. Knowing how to digitise documents can help you secure them and make them easily transferrable. In this article, we examine what a digital signature certificate is and some FAQs related to it.

What Is A Digital Signature Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is the digital version of a unique physical certificate, and it renders in an electronic format. Physical certificates may pertain to documents like membership cards, driving licences and passports. Certificates prove the authenticity of a document and help institutions and individuals verify a person's identity for specific purposes. For example, a driver's licence shows that a person is eligible to drive in a specific nation or region of the world.

A digital certificate marks documents electronically to establish identity or ownership. This established identity or ownership can help individuals engage in activities online that require high levels of security. To verify and confirm the identity of the individual holding a digital certificate, certifying authorities issue a unique marker or signature which acts as an electronic key. Besides the user's name, pin code, country, email address, certificate issue date and certifying authority name, a digital signature certificate can also include other peripheral information about the user.

10 Digital Signature Certificate FAQs

These are some important Important Digital Signature Certificate FAQs and their answers:

1. Why are digital signatures considered secure?

Public-key cryptography is a process that has several applications, and it is extremely relevant for creating digital signatures. As a widely popular cryptographic technique, public-key cryptography makes use of a private and public key pair system. The process encrypts data using the private key, which is only known to a signer. The recipient receives the public key, which assists in decoding data related to the digital document.

A digital document's security, precision and authenticity depend on the reliability of the public-key cryptography process involved. Encryption is the act of codifying data so that only an intended recipient can read it. The process of authentication verifies that the data from the sender is accurate. Every signer receives a unique digital identity from a reputable service provider, just as each handwritten signature is unique. When a signer signs a document, public key infrastructure technology is used to confirm the signer's identity and encrypt the signature.

Related: Common Encryption Tools (And Importance Of Data Encryption)

2. What is the process of ‌obtaining DSC from a Certifying Authority?

DSC applicants can approach Certifying Authorities (CAs) directly with original supporting papers. In some cases, self-attested copies may suffice. Applicants may also obtain DSCs via Aadhar eKYC-based authentication, which is available anywhere a CA offers it. No accompanying documents are necessary for this process. A letter or certificate from a bank containing the DSC applicant's information from the bank database is also acceptable for an application. In such cases, a bank manager verifies the information.

3. What are the benefits of creating a DSC?

Digital signatures are easily transferable and no one can duplicate them. When conducting business online, it is useful to validate the personal information details of individual holders. In several countries, DSCs function as the digital version of a handwritten signature. In addition to being unique, they can also carry other information like an address or an issue date. To conduct business or procure assets on a global market, it is ideal to hold a DSC.

Related: Cyber Security Interview Questions And Answers

4. Who issues DSCs?

A recognised Certifying Authority produces digital signatures. A CA in the context of digital signature certification is a person who has a licence to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian Information Technology Act of 2000. On the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) portal, you can find a list of licenced CAs and their contact information.

5. Is Director Identification Number (DIN) a prerequisite to apply for DSC?

The Director Identification Number, or DIN, is an 8-digit unique identification number that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs issues to any person who wishes to become or is currently a director of a corporation. The DIN number is valid for a lifetime after the MCA issues it to an individual. Although it is not mandatory for applying for a DSC, it can be beneficial for the application as it significantly simplifies and speeds up the process.

Related: Responsibilities And Role Of A Company Director (And Skills)

6. What is the validity period of a DSC?

CAs have the authority to issue DSCs with a one-year or two-year validity period. These are renewable on expiry after the period of initial issue. It is ideal to renew DSCs before their expiry date to avoid issues in business due to an expired certificate.

7. What can I do if the certificate carries the message ‘validity unknown'?

Follow these steps if your DSC shows an unknown validity period:

  1. From the official website of the issuing authority, you can download the certificate that corresponds to the approved serial number of your DSC.

  2. Open the certificate and check whether the signature is valid. If the DSC shows ‘?' corresponding to validity, then the signature requires validation.

  3. Right-click the signature and select ‘Show Signature Properties' from the drop-down menu.

  4. Select the ‘Show Certificate' option from the drop-down menu.

  5. Click on the ‘Trust' tab, which is one of six tabs in a row.

  6. Select the option ‘Add to Trusted Identities'.

  7. When you select the ‘Add to Trusted Identities' tab, a dialogue window for security opens. Click ‘OK'.

  8. Under the ‘Trust', tick all checkboxes. Select ‘OK' from the drop-down menu.

  9. Check the validity of your signature by going to the ‘Validate Signature' tab. The summary points under the tab turn green and a warning sign appears.

  10. When the issuing authority verifies your signature, the ‘?' in the DSC of the certificate changes to a green tick mark. If a user's signature is invalid, they can resubmit a ticket to obtain a valid signature.

8. How can I register myself as a bank official with the MCA?

When a bank official logs into the MCA21 portal for the first time, the system invites them to create a DSC before continuing. During the first login, the bank official can register the DSC. In the MCA system, the Bank Nodal Administrator creates and maintains the bank official's signature. The charge holder is typically a bank representative. When a Bank Nodal Administrator logs into the official website of the MCA, the 'Enter/Update Bank/Financial institution details' function appears on the left-hand side. The Bank Nodal Administrator can create a bank official's signature by clicking the ‘Add' link on the service page.

Related: A Guide To Banking Operations (With Careers And Salaries)

9. How can I update my charge holder DSC in MCA?

A charge holder is the owner of a legal interest in a certain asset, usually one that is a guarantee for payment. The MCA system checks to see if the person signing as a charge holder has any DSCs registered in the system with the PAN entered. If it detects a DSC, but the DSC on the form is different, it may show an error.

Any stakeholder can use the 'Update DSC' function on the official MCA website to update their DSC in the system. If a charge holder has already registered the DSC with the PAN using the 'Associate DSC' function on the website, they can update the new DSCs using the same service. If a person has a DIN number, they can use the same 'Associate DSC' tool on the MCA website to update the DSC under the director role.

10. The size of the e-form increases significantly after attaching the DSC. How do I optimise the PDF file size?

Follow the steps below to keep the PDF file size from ballooning while attaching the DSC:

  1. Open any PDF file by double-clicking it or by right-clicking it.

  2. Select ‘Edit' > ‘Preferences' from the drop-down menu. The ‘Preferences' window opens.

  3. Choose ‘Signature' from the dropdown menu. The section ‘Digital Signatures' appears.

  4. Under the ‘Creation & Appearance' section, select ‘More' from the drop-down menu.

  5. Remove the check mark next to ‘Include signature's revocation status'.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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