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Electronic Signature: How Secure Is It?

Electronic Signature: How Secure Is It?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Researcher
 Published on August 1st, 2023
This post was updated on November 25th, 2023

An electronic signature is a digital form of a person’s traditional paper signature. It’s an electronic symbol, process, or sound attached to a document or contract, indicating the signer’s acceptance of the information within that document. Electronic signatures provide security, convenience, and legal standing, and can be used in various digital transactions, including legal documents, sales contracts, and employment agreements.

Electronic Signature Examples

#1. Online Contracts

In today’s digital society, more and more transactions are conducted online. Everything, from purchasing a product to registering for a service, has moved onto the internet. During these online transactions, businesses often require customers to agree to certain terms and conditions before the purchase or registration can be completed.

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This agreement is typically carried out using an electronic signature. You’ve likely seen a checkbox that says something like “I agree to the Terms and Conditions.” When you check this box, you are providing an electronic signature. This simple act signifies your understanding and acceptance of the terms laid out by the business. It serves the same legal purpose as if you were signing a physical contract, providing confirmation of agreement and consent to progress with the transaction.

Using electronic signatures in online contracts is a secure, efficient and eco-friendly method that provide records of who signed the document, when they signed it, and where they were at the time /proof of their agreement to the terms within the contract.

#2. Document Approval

In most organizational contexts, there’s an ongoing need for approval and confirmation documents. Such documents can range from project proposals and reports, to new policies and procedural changes. To get the go-ahead on these initiatives, they often need to be signed by managers, team leads, or other decision-making authorities within the workspace.

With the advancement in digital solutions, this approval process has been simplified through electronic signatures. Instead of chasing down paper signatures, relevant parties can securely sign the document online. All it takes is a few clicks. The electronic signature serves as confirmation that they have reviewed the proposal or report and given their endorsement or approval.

The use of electronic signatures in the document approval process not only saves time but also improves efficiency. It ensures that operations proceed smoothly and quickly, eliminating the need for physical paperwork, and enabling faster decision-making within the organization.

#3. Email Confirmation

In our increasingly digitalized world, email correspondence plays a vital role in professional communication. Whether it’s a project proposal, sales agreement, or strategic plan, communication via email is a daily part of professional life. In some cases, these emails can carry legal weight, especially when an agreement or decision needs to be documented.

A common way of acknowledging or validating such emails is by signing off with your name or a personalized sign-off—essentially serving as an electronic signature. When you affix this electronic signature at the end of your email, it confirms that the communication originates from you and that the information within the email has your approval. In legally binding contexts, these digital sign-offs can serve as evidence of consent or compliance.

This form of electronic signature offers an efficient means of confirming or validating email correspondence, thereby streamlining transaction managements and reducing turnaround times in professional settings.


Electronic signatures are a cornerstone of modern digital transactions, providing a secure and efficient method of indicating agreement or approval in various spaces, from online contracts to email exchanges. Their versatility, convenience, and legal backing make them an invaluable tool in today’s fast-paced, digital-first world.

Key Takeaways

  • Electronic signatures are digital alternatives to traditional paper signatures used to indicate the signer’s acceptance of the information within a document.
  • One of the most common use cases of electronic signatures is online contracts, where customers check a box to provide consent or agreement to the terms and conditions before making a purchase or registering for a service.
  • Electronic signatures are used within organizations to provide a more efficient and secure means of giving approval on documents, such as project proposals, reports, and procedural changes.
  • Electronic signatures may also refer to a personalized sign-off used in professional emails, which serves as a form of confirmation or validation of the information contained within the email.
  • The use of electronic signatures has become more prevalent due to their convenience, security, and legal validity.

Related Questions

1. Are electronic signatures legally binding?

Yes, electronic signatures are legally binding in many countries worldwide. They are recognized as a valid form of consent or agreement in digital transactions according to laws like the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the European Union’s eIDAS regulation.

2. Can electronic signatures be used on all documents?

Electronic signatures are widely used across many types of documents. However, there are some documents like wills, court orders, or adoption papers that, in certain jurisdictions, still require a traditional wet-ink signature.

3. How can I create an electronic signature?

There are multiple ways to create an electronic signature. Some people prefer to use signature creation tools or applications that let you draw your signature. Others opt for digital certificates with a unique ID for verification. Note that the exact method can depend on the legal or professional requirements of the document you are signing.

4. Are electronic signatures secure?

Yes, electronic signatures are often designed with security in mind. They usually come with a unique digital ID that can be used for verification. In addition, most electronic signature applications incorporate encryption and other security measures to protect against tampering and fraud.

5. How are electronic signatures different from digital signatures?

Electronic signatures and digital signatures, while often used interchangeably are not the same thing. Electronic signatures broadly refer to any electronic process that indicates approval of a document or information. Digital signatures, on the other hand, are a subset of electronic signatures that use encryption and authentication techniques for security. They are tied to a digital identity and provide better security and integrity than a basic electronic signature.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional
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