Electronic and digital signatures

Learn the difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures, and how to request them for use with your UBmail for Faculty and Staff.

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Electronic signatures

An electronic signature is the equivalent of your handwritten signature, and can be used to confirm content within a document, or the terms of a particular document. It is considered to be legally binding in most countries.

Digital signatures for email

A digital signature is the electronic equivalent of adding a notarized signature to a document. It is an electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a message. It confirms that the message originated from the signer and has not been altered. UB uses an InCommon certificate.  

Certificates can not only be used for digital signatures, but they can also be used to encrypt an email message.  Keep in mind that both the sender and receiver must already have a digital certificate in place prior to sending encrypted email. 

Digital signatures for DoD grants (ECA certificates)

If you’re a researcher at UB working with Department of Defense (DoD) grants, you may be required to obtain a certificate (known as an “ECA Certificate”) from the DoD-approved vendor, IdenTrust in order to process your grant. Follow their step-by-step instructions, the process of obtaining this certificate is complex.

Still need help?

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