Different levels of signatures and displaying them in DigiDoc Client

In July 2016, a directly applicable implementing provision of the European Union came into effect, which brought into force the eIDAS Regulation. Therefore, four levels of e-signatures are now differentiated:

Level 1 – QES (Qualified Electronic Signature) – the highest level of e-signatures, which are equal to handwritten signatures and are also called digital signatures in Estonia. The signature meets the technological requirements established in standards. The backgrounds of both the owner of the signature and the issuer of the certificate are checked. Additionally, the signature is given with a means that is deemed suitable (ID-cards and mobile ID in Estonia).

Level 2 – AdES/QC (Advanced Electronic Signature with a Qualified Certificate) – the signature meets the technological requirements established in standards. The backgrounds of both the owner of the signature and the issuer of the certificate are checked.

Level 3 – AdES (Advanced Electronic Signature) – the signature meets the technological requirements established in standards, but the background of the holder of the certificate used to give the signature as well as the background of the issuer of the certificate may be unknown.

Level 4 – Other electronic signatures – all other electronic signatures that do not meet valid standards.

Resulting from this new division, displaying the validity and usage limits of e-signatures / digital signatures in DigiDoc Client has been changed. Three colours – green, red, and yellow – are used to improve visual comprehension.

Briefly:

  • green means that everything is in order;
  • yellow means that the user must pay attention and decide for themselves whether the specific signature is suitable;
  • red means that in the given situation, the signature cannot be considered valid.

Marking validity:

1.       Valid – marked with green. This digital signature is equal to a handwritten signature.

2.       Valid (with restrictions) – marked with green and yellow. Used if the signature level is AdES/QC, i.e. it is not equal to a handwritten signature, but may be suitable for use in the given situation. More information is available in the details of the signature.

3.       Valid (with warnings) – marked with green and yellow. This warning is usually displayed if the signature is valid, but, for example, the container has a specific feature. Usually, this feature has arisen accidentally when containers were created. However, as it is not possible to edit a container without invalidating the signature, a warning is displayed. More information is available in the details of the signature.

4.       Unknown – marked with red. This means that the programme was unable to check the validity of the signature at the given moment. More information is available in the details of the signature.

5.       Invalid – marked with red. This means that the digital signature has been declared invalid.


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