Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) are the digital equivalent of physical or paper certificates (that is in electronic format). Drivers’ licenses, passports or membership cards are just some examples of physical certificates. For a certain purpose, certificates serve as proof of an individual’s identity; a driver’s license, for example, identifies someone who can legally drive in a specific country. Similarly, to prove one’s identity, to access information or services on the Internet or to sign certain documents digitally, a digital certificate can be presented electronically.
These digital signatures are stored in a special device known as a Digital Signature Certificate. Physical documents are manually signed, and electronic documents, such as e-forms, must be digitally signed using a Digital Signature Certificate. Digital Signature Certificates are accepted by various government agencies or DSC or Digital Signature and are now a statutory requirement in various applications.
The digital signature is only issued by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA). A Certifying Authority (CA) is a person who has been granted a license under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000 to issue a digital signature certificate.
Classes of Digital Signature Certificates
There are three types of classes in DSC i.e; Class I, Class II and Class III
Both the individual and the company use a Class 1 Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). This is a basic type of certificate that is also considered as the lowest type of security and is used to provide basic assurance. This certificate confirms the email ID of the user name as described in the certification authority customer database.
For both Indian and foreign individuals, this certificate is issued to both individuals and DSC organizations. This certificate’s primary objective is to authenticate the signer’s details. For the purpose of e-filing with the Registrar of Companies, the director or signatory authority of the organizations use this to (ROC). It is used in various online filling forms, online registration, filing of income taxes, etc. For an individual who wants to file, a Class 2 digital signature certificate (DSC) is required for ROC returns. MCA e-filing, Income Tax e-filing, Company registration, GST filling, IE code registration, Form 16, etc are some of the uses of Class II.
For both individuals and organizations, this certificate is issued, and this is the most secure among the three. In online trading and web-based business, where a huge amount of confidential information is involved, it is fundamentally used. It is a must to have a Class 3 certificate if an individual wants to be involved in online auctions and e-tenders. Class III certificates are used in E-tendering, Patent and trademark e-filing, MCA e-filing, Customs e-filing, E-procurement, E-bidding, E-auction, etc
Types of Certificates
Signing DSC can be used for signing documents only. The most common use of signing DSC is to sign the PDF file for Tax Returns, MCA and other websites. Signing via DSC guarantees not only the signer’s integrity but also the data. It is evidence of data that is untampered and unaltered.
Encryption DSC can only be used to encrypt a document which is commonly used in the tender portal to help companies encrypt and upload the documents. The certificate could also be used to encrypt and send classified information. DSC encryption is suitable for highly confidential e-commerce documents, legal documentation and document sharing, and contains information that needs to be protected.
Signing and Encryption
For both signing and encryption, the Signing & Encryption DSC can be used. For users who need to authenticate and maintain the confidentiality of the shared information, it is convenient. Its usage involves filing the form and application of the government.
Validity of the Certificates
There are three types of validity for certificates:
According to the law, you can neither buy certificates with a validity of less than one year nor buy certificates with a validity of more than 3 years.
Apply for Digital Signature Certificate
The applicant must submit the required documents to the service provider to obtain a digital signature certificate. Depending on the type of applicant, the types of documents required for the DSC differ. To apply for a Digital Signature Certificate the DSC application form must be duly filled by the applicant.
Any person applying for a Digital Signature Certificate is required to complete the Certifying Authority Application Form for online submission and verification of personal details. After completing the filling of the application form the individual has to submit photo ID proof and address proof for verification. After this process, you’ll go through a video verification process where the applicant has to say out his name, application number, date of birth and show his PAN card and Aadhar card or the proof that the applicant has submitted within a span of 30 seconds. If the applicant is applying for an organization then the documents of the organization have to be submitted as well. Once the application is submitted, the Certifying Authority will authenticate and verify all the information provided to them and approve the application if all the information is correct. After the application is approved the certificate will be downloaded and stored in a special USB device (DSC) for further use.
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