Digital Signatures Offer Potential, if not Protection: Page 2


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

On-Demand Webinar

Posted November 21, 2000

Martin Goslar

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Signature Alternatives
Among those vendors demonstrating the variety of signature alternatives currently available are:

Cyber-SIGN Inc., San Jose, Calif. Offers a biometric signature authentication system.

Cylink Corp., Santa Clara, Calif. Offers PKI software for signature certification.

Entrust Technologies Inc., Plano, Texas
Offers a variety of Web-based and e-mail digital signature solutions.

onSign Inc., St. Laurent, Quebec Combines personal signatures with accompanying documents using RSA and SHA-1 algorithms to create unique codes that identify and protect messages.

VeriSign Inc., Mountain View, Calif. Provides managed digital certification services.

Since the E-Sign Act impacts B2C as well as B2B e-commerce, consumers buying and selling online can feel more confident that their financial identities are less likely to be counterfeited. But consumers must be as diligent as corporate security professionals because consumer e-signature options are not defined.

Will corporations selling consumer products and services online ultimately mandate e-signature conventions to their customers? Will consumers embrace unique retailer signature protections and expect other organizations to accept the same signature techniques? Or will customers obtain signature products offered by seemingly independent and trusted consumer security vendors so that online retailers must flexibly anticipate and accept these signatures?

My bet is that both will occur on the B2C side until a robust, standard, and inexpensive signature technology becomes an online convention. Remember the golden rule--those who have the gold make the rules. Some good news for B2C: Substantial decreases in fraud losses should occur as a result of consumer electronic signature acceptance.

Bottom line: Large to enterprise-level corporations will integrate electronic signature technologies developed by the leading e-commerce infrastructure vendors that already handle much of their transaction activity. Mid- to small-sized firms will likely adopt more best-of-breed software tools from innovative vendors offering greater operational savings for lower transactional volume. //

Dr. Goslar is principal security analyst of E-PHD LLC, a security industry research and analysis firm. He is also on the editorial board of the International Journal of Electronic Commerce and can be reached at Comments@E-PHD.COM.

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