How to check the signature of an electronic document

Why is it advisable to check the signature on important documents? You just received a document that it signed electronically and you may ask yourself: Is this a real signature? Has this been forged?

There are several ways to verify the authenticity of an electronic signature. Here’s how to do it.

Why electronic signatures are so important

We know now that mobile is the future of everything. With the rise of the Internet of Things and mobile devices our lives and habits have clearly changed. It is a digital age, there are numbers of new inventions, just like electronic signatures. E-signing let their users sign documents in seconds. It’s an increasingly used tool as its benefits in efficiency and closing contracts on-the-go are interesting for businesses.

While there are still some security concerns, they are now widely used in private affairs, legal dealings, business transactions, and even as part of official government documents

Therefore, individuals and entities want to make sure there is no forgery. Some institutions and companies have developed ways to verify the authenticity of eSignatures.

What should we analyze when we check the signature? 

To check the signature of any electronic document, we must take a deep dive into the definition from Regulation 910/2014/EC on electronic identification and trusted services, known as eIDAS.

There are three types of electronic signatures:

  • Simple e-signature: data in electronic form attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. It has legal effect and might hold up in a court of law, though they are easy to forge and cannot uniquely identify the signer.
  • Advanced electronic signature: It is uniquely linked to the signatory. Allows to uniquely identify the signer. Created using signature creation data that only the signatory can use, with a high level of confidence, under his exclusive control and linked to the data signed by him so that any possible further changes are detected. This type of signature certifies the identity of the signatory, integrity of data, providing more legal guarantees.
  • Qualified Electronic Signature: means an advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures

The qualified signature provides the highest level of admissibility in EU courts and has the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature but it is not the most practical and operational signature. The advanced signature also provides high levels of security and legality; providing full legal support to the process while maintaining ease of use during the signing process and offering an excellent user experience.

Make sure there’s legal evidence attached to the document

Legal evidence is required to be considered advanced type, so when we check the signature we can tell if it’s fully legal and that indeed it is uniquely linked to the signatory. Below are some examples of legal evidence:

  • Timestamping
  • Signer location
  • One-Time-Password (OTP)
  • Pictures

Timestamp

Timestamping allows a trusted third party (Timestamp Service Provider) to claim that a document has been electronically signed at a specific date and time that were set by state protocols. 

Timestamps make it easier to determine whether a document has been altered after signing, which makes them a powerful piece of evidence in the event of a legal dispute. They are useful to prevent fraudulent commercial transactions. Our solutions include default timestamps for free to ensure the integrity of the signed content.

Signer location

Signer location is another feature from Viafirma, especially when collecting signatures on-the-go. 

Clear examples are carriers, deliverers or healthcare professionals who may need the patient to sign an informed consent form. In these cases we would normally use the biometric signature via tablet, iPad or a device specially designed for this purpose.

SMS/email OTP

It’s a short code sent to the device or email of the person at the time of signing. It allows the signatory to eSign wherever, on any device.

eSign using SMS OTP

Sign a document online safely and legally binding

Pictures

By pictures we mean photos from the signatory with the device camera. The solutions offered by Viafirma detect any moves or smiles of the person.

Magnifying glass to check the signature

Viafirma solutions to secure your signing process

Viafirma helps you develop a winning digital transformation strategy, turning paper-based, tedious paperwork into efficient digital processes. More companies are using them worldwide as they are the best option for closing agreements and for automating internal processes.

Our software offers high levels of security and comply with regulations in force. Suitable for both face-to-face and online scenarios by virtue of our biometric signature or SMS OTP to eSign anywhere, on any device.

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