Qualified electronic signature vs Advanced electronic signature

Qualified electronic signature

It is regulated by Regulation (EU) 910/2014 [eIDAS].

This signature is the only one that legally has the comparison with the handwritten signature. This signature is used in 90% of transactions in EU countries such as Germany, Italy, France, etc.

For its preparation it requires the use of a qualified signature certificate, and has been prepared with a secure signature creation device (QSCD), which must be officially accredited by the European Commission.

For the end users, the entire procedure is transparent and does not require additional steps, nor does it perceive any delay or complexity, nor does it entail a differentiated cost compared to the advanced or simple electronic signature. In summary, if you want to obtain direct legal evidence, it is essential that you select qualified suppliers who possess the technology necessary to provide this service.

Few are the service providers that have the necessary knowledge for their use. This is because the QSCD instruments, although available in the market, not all suppliers have the technological capacity to use them. It is a sophisticated equipment that requires that the pair of signature keys and the CSR request certificates (PKCS # 10) have been generated by the QSCD itself. In addition, once the CSR is generated, the certificate issuer must have the technology to load it into the QSCD and be able to use it in all types of electronic transactions.

ANF Certification Authority has the knowledge and QSCD instruments necessary to prepare qualified electronic signatures.

Advanced electronic signature

It is regulated by Regulation (EU) 910/2014 (eIDAS).

This signature is an indirect evidence and, like any indirect evidence, article 25.1. of the eIDAS Regulation establishes,

“No legal effects or admissibility shall be denied as evidence in judicial proceedings to an electronic signature simply because it is an electronic signature or because it does not meet the requirements of the qualified electronic signature.”

In summary, nothing prevents it from being used in legal proceedings, but its legal strength will depend on the rest of the evidence and oppositions of the counterparty, and its assessment is at the discretion of the judge.

In its elaboration only the use of a qualified signature certificate is required, the certificate can be in any type of device, even a software certificate (PFX & PKCS#12) . Therefore, the challenge of this firm is to ensure the non-repudiation attribute.

In summary, it can be used in processes that do not require direct legal evidence, that is, transactions of little importance to your organization, for example: authenticate systems log, or have a security layer in internal administrative processes to facilitate compliance of ISO 27001, etc.

All ANF Certification Authority devices have the ability to generate advanced electronic signatures.

Long term

This is a critical element when using the electronic signature.

You should already know that the signature certificates have a limited period of validity and after the expiration date, everything that is done with that certificate has no legal effect. Similarly, if the certificate is revoked, this entails the loss of legal effects on its use.

Therefore, the challenge lies in determining when the signature was generated. If this is not possible, when the certificates lose their validity, the signatures made with them will no longer be able to prove their legal validity.

The ETSI standards approved by the European Commission establish the technique to be used specifically, must include Electronic Time Stamps and verification of the status of the certificate at source (OCSP responses). All this complying with the reference standards in the field.

The electronic signatures elaborated with technology of ANF Certification Authority, are electronic signatures of long validity.