Signature

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See also: Hash | Cryptography | PGP

A method of authentication that allow's one's unique handwriting to serve as proof-of-presence in a transaction or contract. In computers, a digital signature is a unique identifier used with a password and/or public key instead of one's unique writing style.

These allow for documents to be signed without being in person, important for long-distance transactions essential in electronic business, also known as e-commerce. It is also a method of preventing forgery and hoaxes as forged e-mail headers and other methods of spoofing are easy but access to one's digital signature is very difficult.

S/MIME, PGP and GPG are examples of tools that use digital signatures.