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What are the security breaches you should worry about when signing documents online?

Security breaches to worry about signing documents online.

The extensive penetration of the internet has turned the world into a global village, creating many opportunities for us. It has also changed how ways of doing work, allowing us to work or provide services for customers who are not within our closest location. The ability to sign documents online has naturally extended these new ways of work and made the business transaction process more straightforward. Thanks to e-signed documents, contract creation and signing has become convenient and seamless. Though the advent of electronic documents signing process has brought exceptional convenience and productivity, it has also led to increased exposure to cyber threats and data breaches. One of the oldest fraudulent styles has been the forgery of signature, and it is likely the easiest way that criminals use to convince businesses that they are somebody they are not. Apparently, the transition from the common written signature to the adoption of online signature software has made this ill-natured practice look easier. This has called for a lot of vigilance when dealing with both traditional and online signatures; the following are some of the digital signatures security breaches you should worry about when signing documents online.

1. Using a non-compliant e-sign software.

So, you have made a contract and have it signed by both parties; suddenly, a fallout occurs; you find yourself in a court contesting the case. When a call is made for the contract analysis, it is found that the software used was not compliant with the relevant bodies, and you lose the case. Instances like this are one of the common digital signatures security breaches you should be on the lookout for Ensure that the E-signing software you are using is compliant with the several electronic signature regulation bodies. In the USA, these bodies include ESIGN and UETA, while in Europe, there is the EU Directive 1999/93/EC. In case the compliance is not stated clearly on the software, it is advised that you don't use it.

2.Impersonation of the digital certificate.

When a document or contract is signed electronically, the signature applies a digital certificate; a digital representation of a company or a person and is produced after confirming that they are who they are claiming to be. The certificate consists of two parts, a private and a public key. The private key is for encrypting the hash of the contract or document, while the public key can be accessed by anybody and contains the information of the person represented by the certificate. The breach in this process arises when a different person uses your digital certificate without your consent, leading to falsely accessing the contract. To avoid this from happening, ensure that a robust pin code or password is used with the digital certificate so that only the certificate owner can access it.

3.Fake signatures.

Unless protected, a digital signature can be applied to fake signatures on a document or contract. To prevent this from happening, ensure you use signing software with a built-in system to secure the whole signing process. Unless the software can integrate the encryption, digital certificates, audit trials, hashing, or various security actions, the system is not right for usage. It exposes your business to the risk of unlawful creation and signing of contracts. Confirm that the e-signature platform uses a stable encryption measure at rest or in transit and keeps the data in an encrypted database to ensure that all the communication channels are encrypted.

4.Document theft.

Though the internet has made online work and e-signing of documents very convenient and easy, it has also created a potential gap for cybercriminals by storing contracts and documents on a host that is accessible over the web. An act which exposes the documents to possible digital signatures security breaches. Maintaining encrypted documents all the time is one way of protecting your documents from theft. This makes it impossible to be opened in case the document is stolen.

5.Man in the middle.

A man in the middle attack is one of the most serious web-based digital signatures security breaches method. It involvessomeone intercepting the communication transferred through web connections to intrude and modify the information between the two secretly. Usually, attackers use MitM attacks to access personal information or login credentials, corrupt data, or eavesdrop on the victim. Detection of this type of attack is difficult because successful attackers are able to reroute the traffics to sites that pose as legitimate-phishing or passing it to a legitimate destination after recording or harvesting the information. Though there are flaws that are realized sometimes, encryption programs such as TLS are always the most recommended way to protect from MitM attacks. However, there exist others such as Google's QUICK and SSH are also available for use. For consumer training, encourage your staff against the use of open Wi-Fi or free public internet offerings as these places are strategic targets for MitM attacks. For more secure connections, you can use a VPN.

6.Software vulnerability.

A software vulnerability is a weakness, a flaw, or a glitch that available in an operating system or software. Though all systems have a vulnerability, the software vulnerability increases at a very rapid rate. A software vulnerability is described by three factors:

  • Existence-the presence of a vulnerability in the software.
  • Access-the ease of hackers to gain access to the vulnerability.
  • Exploit-ability of the hacker to capitalize on the vulnerability using the available tools or techniques. When software or operating system has a vulnerability, as explained above, it means that there is a bug in it that can be easily accessed by hackers. Once accessed, the malware exploits the bug and installs itself into the system. You also get exposed to silent malware installs; the virus installs itself into the system without the owner knowing. Software vulnerability can be prevented in these three ways;
  • Running the code through static analysis. Static code analysis is a process of inspecting a source code before running a program. It involves running the software codes against multiple sets of coding standards. Analyzing codes using static code analysis exposes the weaknesses in the source codes, which might lead to vulnerability. Static analysis is always run to comply with coding regulations such as MISRA and industry standards like ISO26262.
  • Follow the correct software design requirements. Software design requirements are functionalities, features, and needs that are to be solved by the software. Requirements communicate what the user requires from the software. They can either be known or unknown, obvious or hidden depending on the customer's perspective. Apply secure coding principles, which entails secure coding standards such as CWE, CERT, and OWASP, which prevents, detects, and removes the vulnerability. Use SAST tools to enforce a coding standard easily.
  • Test the software. To ensure that vulnerabilities are detected and eliminate as soon as they are found, it is best that the software is tested as early and frequently as possible. Using a static code analyzer will effectively help you test the software. As a development process, static analysis enhances your testing efforts. You can run tests during CI/CO integration or nightly integration testing. The choice is yours.

7.Take time and do it correctly.

Using a digital signature software is seamless and very easy to use, especially those connected directly to your website using the domain logins. However, it needs extra carefulness when undertaking any dealings that involve the use of digital signature software. You should read and understand the document carefully, not just to point and click.


With most of the digital signature software being implemented under the model known as software as a service, it is critical to know what you are looking for in regards to the security protocols that are going to be remotely put in place to protect your business and legal agreements by the vendor. Understanding your past digital signatures security breaches, data misplacement, and some familiar risks are important if you want to pick the best possible choices for your business's online security infrastructure.

Ensure that the digital signature software vendor uses a strong cloud support system, advisably by partnering with giant service providers such as IBM soft layer or Microsoft azure. Doing this ensures that the standard security infrastructure of the software provider is compliant with the various administrative requirements for quality digital security. It is also important that you understand how the solution provider applies encryption. For instance, how data is encrypted during the resting phase and the transit phase of data.

No matter the kind of business you are planning to conduct, the concerns of the digital signature security breaches can easily be offset by the wise choice of a software solution that complies with the special organizational and industrial needs of your business. Knowing the above digital signature breaches and understanding the various security measures to put in place for each is a big step in ensuring a successful and secured online transaction for enhanced business growth and a positive brand name.

Contributor: admin
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