FAQ about Digital Signature Certificates

Q. What is a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?
Ans. Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is the electronic format of physical or paper certificate like a driving License, passport etc. Certificates serve as proof of identity of an individual or organization for a certain purpose on online / computer. Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) Certificate can be presented electronically to prove your identity, to access information or services on the Internet or to sign certain documents digitally manually.
Q. Why do I need a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?
Ans. A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) Certificate authenticates your identity electronically. DSC also provides you with a high level of security for your online transactions by ensuring absolute privacy of the information exchanged using a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). You can use certificates to sign / encrypt information such that only the intended recipient can read it. You can digitally sign information to assure the recipient that it has not been changed in transit, and also verify your identity as the sender of the message.
Q. Where can I use Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?
Ans. For sending and receiving digitally signed and encrypted emails/ documents.
For carrying out secure web-based transactions.
In eTendering, eProcurement,for Registrar of Companies e-filing,Income Tax for e-filing income tax returns and also in many other applications.
For signing documents like MS Word, MS Excel and PDFs.
Q. Where can I purchase a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?
Ans. Legally valid Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) Certificates are issued only through a Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), Govt. of India, licensed Registration Authorities (RA), such as Your DigiSign. Your DigiSign, a Registration Authorities (RA) licensed by Emudhra-CA, offers secure Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)s through various options tailored to suit individual as well as organizational needs.
Q. How does a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) work?
Ans. A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) explicitly associates the identity of an individual/device with a two keys - public and private keys. The certificate contains information about a user's identity (for example, their name, pincode, country, email address, the date the certificate was issued and the name of the CA. These keys will not work in the absence of the other. They are used by browsers and servers to encrypt and decrypt information regarding the identity of the certificate user. The private key is stored on the user's computer hard disk or on an external device such as a USB token. The user retains control of the private key; it can only be used with the issued password. The public key is disseminated with the encrypted information. The authentication process fails if either one of these keys in not available or do not match. This means that the encrypted data cannot be decrypted and therefore, is inaccessible to unauthorized parties.
Q. Are Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)s legally valid in India?
Ans. Yes, as per Information Technology Act 2000 in India, Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) are legally valid in India. Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) are issued by licensed Certifying Authorities under the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India as per the Information Technology Act.
Q. What type of Digital Signature Certificate is required for e-Tendering, e-Procurement, Trademark / Patent filing?
Ans. Class 3 Company / Organization User certificate is required for e-Tendering, e-Procurement , Trademark / Patent filing. Class 3 is the highest type of Digital Signature Certificate. it can be issued for 1 years or 2 years. After the valid period , user need to renew class 3 digital signature certificates.
Q. What type of Digital Signature Certificate is required for Income Tax filing, ROC and MCA filing?
Ans. Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is required for Income Tax filing, ROC and MCA filing. Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate can be issued for 1 year or 2 years. After the valid period , user need to renew class 2 digital signature certificates. Class 2 Digital Signature certificate can be issued to individual / organization.
Q. What type of Digital Signature Certificate is required for Importers-Exporters?
Class 3 DGFT Digital Signature Certificate is required for DGFT website to communicate. DGFT Digital Signature is valid for 1 years or 2 years. User can save time and money by using DGFT Digital Signature Certificate.
Q. What type of Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is to be obtained for eFiling on the MCA Portal ?
DSC of Class 2 and Class 3 category issued by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA) needs to be obtained for e-filing on the MCA Portal.
Q. What does X509 refer to as it relates to digital certificates?
Ans. X509 is the industry standard for digital certificate format. It defined the various mandatory and optional attributes that can be defined within the certificate.
Q. Why does a digital signature certificate have a limited validity period?
Ans. Digital signature certificates have an explicit start date and an explicit expiration date. Most applications check the validity period of a certificate when the digital certificate is used. The signature certificate expiration date is also used for managing the certificate revocation list (CRL). A certificate is removed from the revocation list when its natural expiration date arrives. As such, generally the shorter the certificate validity period, the shorter the CRL.
Q. What is a root certificate, and why do I need one?
Ans. A root certificate is one of two things: Either an unsigned public key certificate or a self-signed certificate used to identify the Root Certificate Authority (CA). The root certificate is in fact the anchor of trust in a digital certificate and is used for validating the entire certification tree.
Q. Can a person have two digital signatures say one for official use and other one for personal use?
Ans. Yes
Q. What are the different classes of Digital Signature Certificates?
Ans. In addition to four classes of certificates given below, the Certifying Authority may issue more classes of Public Key Certificates, but these must be explicitly defined including the purpose for which each class is used and the verification methods underlying the issuance of the certificate. The suggested four classes are the following :-
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  • Class 0 Certificate: This certificate shall be issued only for demonstration/ test purposes.
  • Class 1 Certificate: Class 1 certificates shall be issued to individuals/private subscribers. These certificates will confirm that user's name (or alias) and E-mail address form an unambiguous subject within the Certifying Authorities database.
  • Class 2 Certificate: These certificates will be issued for both business personnel and private individuals use. These certificates will confirm that the information in the application provided by the subscriber does not conflict with the information in well-recognized consumer databases.
  • Class 3 Certificate: This certificate will be issued to individuals as well as organizations. As these are high assurance certificates, primarily intended for e-commerce applications, they shall be issued to individuals only on their personal (physical) appearance before the Certifying Authorities.
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