Timestamping and TeRa timestamping application

Timestamps are used in a number of areas, including digital signatures, to prove the existence of a document and a signature at a specific point in time.

To put it plainly, the timestamp acts as a sealed envelope: inside the envelope there are the necessary documents, while on top of the seal is the time the documents were added to the envelope. In order for someone to change the documents inside the envelope, you need to break the seal on the envelope, so the corrupted seal lets you know that the content of the envelope may no longer be what it was originally.

In the same way, the timestamp is used for digital signatures to make sure that the content of the file has not changed since it was signed.

ID-card software includes the TeRa timestamping application for timestamping.

Where can I download the TeRa app?

TeRa timestamping application is (until 2020 summer) part of the ID-software package and is installed in your computer along with the ID-software.

The TeRa timestamping application can be downloaded and installed separately through Github.

  • TeRa: why would I need timestamping?

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    The reason for this is simple: technology has advanced and containers in DDOC and BDOC 1.0 format (digitally signed file container format that has been previously popular in Estonia) have become less secure over time. TeRa application creates a new container in which the old original container is added. The new timestamped container helps to identify any instances of access to and amendment of the old container. If parties have different versions of the same document, the timestamp can be used to determine the original.

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  • TeRa: which files need to be timestamped?

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    All (digitally signed) files in DDOC and BDOC 1.0 format that contain documents whose validity must be checked and/or confirmed in the future should definitely be restamped.

    Remember that nowadays digitally signed documents use the ASiCE format by default, and .ddoc and .bdoc extensions themselves are an indication that these documents are at risk of expiring. Adding a timestamp with TeRa is very simple and convenient and all of the files in the suitable format can be located from the computer automatically via TeRa, which is why we recommend that you restamp all of the DDOC and BBDO documents on your computer.

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  • TeRa: what is required for timestamping?

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    In order to add timestamps, you need a computer (Windows/Mac/Ubuntu) with an Internet connection and the TeRa timestamping application. This is installed in your computer with the ID-software package: if your computer has DigiDoc4, it is likely that you also have TeRa.  

    Using TeRa is easy:

    TeRa can be easily used by all computer users, even beginners: all of the necessary steps are displayed on screen and the user interface is simple and convenient.

    It is also worth reading the Instructions for using TeRa timestamping application before you start adding stamps for the first time.

    Do not worry if TeRa does not find any files for stamping on your computer. If you have not set any restrictions on catalogues where the TeRa user interface searches for files in DDOC and BDOC 1.0 format, there is a simple explanation as to why files are not found: it is likely that all signed documents on your computer are in the right format and do not need to be timestamped.

    You can use your computer for other things during timestamping. Timestamping with TeRa takes a few minutes on regular office computers.

    After timestamping, you can delete all of the old DDOC and BDOC 1.0 files:

    TeRa timestamping application creates a new file in ASICS format next to each DDOC and/or BDOC 1.0file, which contains a timestamp and documents in DDOC and/or BDOC 1.0 file, thanks to which it is no longer necessary to store the DDOC and/or BDOC 1.0 files.

    Read more on formats of digitally signed files.

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  • TeRa: is the timestamping service free of charge?

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    The timestamping service is free of charge, but it comes with a use limit: you can stamp a maximum of 1000 documents per day and 25,000 documents per calendar month. If your work requires large-scale timestamping (e.g. public institutions), please contact us via e-mail at help@ria.ee in order to enter into a timestamping service cooperation agreement. 

    As an alternative, you can find a timestamping service provider on your own and pay for it. RIA has previously used SK ID Solutions AS as a timestamping service provider.

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