Cyberspace, Digital Signature

23rd July 2021 1 By indiafreenotes


Cyberspace is a concept describing a widespread interconnected digital technology. “The expression dates back from the first decade of the diffusion of the internet. It refers to the online world as a world ‘apart’, as distinct from everyday reality. In cyberspace people can hide behind fake identities, as in the famous The New Yorker cartoon.” The term entered popular culture from science fiction and the arts but is now used by technology strategists, security professionals, government, military and industry leaders and entrepreneurs to describe the domain of the global technology environment, commonly defined as standing for the global network of interdependent information technology infrastructures, telecommunications networks and computer processing systems. Others consider cyberspace to be just a national environment in which communication over computer networks occurs. The word became popular in the 1990s when the use of the Internet, networking, and digital communication were all growing dramatically; the term cyberspace was able to represent the many new ideas and phenomena that were emerging.

As a social experience, individuals can interact, exchange ideas, share information, provide social support, conduct business, direct actions, create artistic media, play games, engage in political discussion, and so on, using this global network. They are sometimes referred to as cybernauts. The term cyberspace has become a conventional means to describe anything associated with the Internet and the diverse Internet culture. The United States government recognizes the interconnected information technology and the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures operating across this medium as part of the US national critical infrastructure. Amongst individuals on cyberspace, there is believed to be a code of shared rules and ethics mutually beneficial for all to follow, referred to as cyberethics. Many view the right to privacy as most important to a functional code of cyberethics. Such moral responsibilities go hand in hand when working online with global networks, specifically, when opinions are involved with online social experiences.

While cyberspace should not be confused with the Internet, the term is often used to refer to objects and identities that exist largely within the communication network itself, so that a website, for example, might be metaphorically said to “exist in cyberspace”. According to this interpretation, events taking place on the Internet are not happening in the locations where participants or servers are physically located, but “in cyberspace”. The philosopher Michel Foucault used the term heterotopias, to describe such spaces which are simultaneously physical and mental.

Firstly, cyberspace describes the flow of digital data through the network of interconnected computers: it is at once not “real”, since one could not spatially locate it as a tangible object, and clearly “real” in its effects. There have been several attempts to create a concise model about how cyberspace works since it is not a physical thing that can be looked at. Secondly, cyberspace is the site of computer-mediated communication (CMC), in which online relationships and alternative forms of online identity were enacted, raising important questions about the social psychology of Internet use, the relationship between “online” and “offline” forms of life and interaction, and the relationship between the “real” and the virtual. Cyberspace draws attention to remediation of culture through new media technologies: it is not just a communication tool but a social destination and is culturally significant in its own right. Finally, cyberspace can be seen as providing new opportunities to reshape society and culture through “hidden” identities, or it can be seen as borderless communication and culture.

Cyberspace brings in many uses. It lets you do everything possible through the internet. Be it education, military, finance, or even education today everything is connected to what is known as cyberspace. There is not a single sphere in our life that is not connected to social media.

The internet has made it efficient to store and to handle data. It has made man’s life organized and more systematic. Be it for e-banking or booking tickets or even to work online, cyberspace is everywhere.

Private hands mostly develop and maintain cyberspace infrastructure. We are all online but no international or centralized authority contains what occurs on the internet or how cyberspace is managed and structured. There are submarine cables that transmit the data making use of fiber optic technology. These submarine cables are the major carriers of data and they transmit lots of data cheaply and quickly.

Digital Signature

A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital document. It’s the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature or stamped seal, but it offers far more inherent security. A digital signature is intended to solve the problem of tampering and impersonation in digital communications.

Digital signatures can provide evidence of origin, identity and status of electronic documents, transactions or digital messages. Signers can also use them to acknowledge informed consent.

A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature, where the prerequisites are satisfied, gives a recipient very strong reason to believe that the message was created by a known sender (authentication), and that the message was not altered in transit (integrity).

Digital signatures are a standard element of most cryptographic protocol suites, and are commonly used for software distribution, financial transactions, contract management software, and in other cases where it is important to detect forgery or tampering.

Digital signatures are often used to implement electronic signatures, which includes any electronic data that carries the intent of a signature, but not all electronic signatures use digital signatures. In some countries, including Canada, South Africa, the United States, Algeria, Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, Switzerland, Chile and the countries of the European Union, electronic signatures have legal significance.

Digital signatures employ asymmetric cryptography. In many instances, they provide a layer of validation and security to messages sent through a non-secure channel: Properly implemented, a digital signature gives the receiver reason to believe the message was sent by the claimed sender. Digital signatures are equivalent to traditional handwritten signatures in many respects, but properly implemented digital signatures are more difficult to forge than the handwritten type. Digital signature schemes, in the sense used here, are cryptographically based, and must be implemented properly to be effective. They can also provide non-repudiation, meaning that the signer cannot successfully claim they did not sign a message, while also claiming their private key remains secret. Further, some non-repudiation schemes offer a timestamp for the digital signature, so that even if the private key is exposed, the signature is valid. Digitally signed messages may be anything representable as a bitstring: examples include electronic mail, contracts, or a message sent via some other cryptographic protocol.

There are several reasons to sign such a hash (or message digest) instead of the whole document.

For efficiency

The signature will be much shorter and thus save time since hashing is generally much faster than signing in practice.

For compatibility

Messages are typically bit strings, but some signature schemes operate on other domains (such as, in the case of RSA, numbers modulo a composite number N). A hash function can be used to convert an arbitrary input into the proper format.

For integrity

Without the hash function, the text “to be signed” may have to be split (separated) in blocks small enough for the signature scheme to act on them directly. However, the receiver of the signed blocks is not able to recognize if all the blocks are present and in the appropriate order.