How does timestamping work?

Oct 15, 2021, 10:45 AM by Riaan De Villiers
In today's blog post about trusted timestamping, we will look at how a trusted timestamp is created.

How does timestamping work?

In our previous post, we discussed timestamp authorities and the importance of protecting your organisation with timestamps.

Today we will look at how timestamps work.

Trusted timestamping process.

Trusted timestamps use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to protect documents and transactions.

Applying a timestamp would work as follow:

  • The application that requires the timestamp sends a hash to the timestamp authority.

  • The timestamp authority combines the hash with the exact time obtained from an authoritative Time Source. The hash and timestamp are digitally signed with the TSA's private key to prevent tampering.
  • The timestamp authority returns the timestamp or timestamp token to the client.
  • The client stores the timestamp.

In future, the client can use the trusted timestamp to verify the integrity of the timestamped document.

To verify the integrity of the document, the client will:

  • Create a hash of the document.
  • Compare the hash with the timestamped hash:
    • If the hashes are the same, the document’s integrity is intact.
    • If they differ, the document’s integrity is not intact and cannot be trusted.

Do not worry if this sound complicated – free applications such as Adobe Reader automatically performs the verification on timestamped documents.

Do you want to know more about trusted timestamping and how it can help your business? Contact LAWtrust today.