Modernizing forms at KTH : Using Digital Signatures
Sammanfattning: Today both government agencies and companies struggle to keep up with the pace of the continuous change of technology. With all new technology there are benefits, but new problems might also occur. Implementing new technology for certain tasks may increase both efficiency and security, resulting in a more sustainable work environment. One technology that is increasingly adopted is digital signatures. Instead of using classical handwritten signatures on documents, a digital signature can be more time efficient and have higher security. In order to implement a digital signature technology some security aspects must be addressed and certain properties ensured. In the document signature process, each time an individual verifies a signature attached onto a document a log entry is created. This log contains information about who verified which document, does it have multiple parts that have been signed, does it need multiple signatures in order to be valid, and at what time and date was the document signed. Logs help to ensure the validity of the document and thereby increase the security provided by the digital signatures. At KTH, a student must sign an application form with a regular ink-written signature to start a thesis project. This process can in most cases delay the start up to two weeks. This study aims to implement digital signatures for one specific form, an application form for a thesis project. The hypothesis at the start of the project was that the use of digital signature would decrease the time of waiting significantly. Personnel at KTH using digital signature would facilitate their work efficiency, due to less printing and archiving of papers as well fewer meetings. This study will provide the reader with the necessary fundamental knowledge of cryptography and how digital signatures use this underlying technology. The methodology used in this study was to identify and modify certain software settings, as well collect data from students and personnel at KTH. The collected data was based on time measurements of digital signature processes from students and a faculty member. The results show digital signatures are faster than the current signing process with traditional ink-written signatures. Additionally, the use of digital signatures is expected to reduce the need for printing, transport, and sorting of paper documents. The resulting reduction in use of physical paper should provide environmental benefits.
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