What is a Qualified Signature/ Seal Creation Device?

Definition: A Qualified Signature/Seal Creation Device, also known as a QSCD, is a combination of hardware and software that securely administers cryptographic keys and is used to create qualified electronic signatures/ seals (QES) . It is generally employed in the context of electronic transactions and documents where the signed information's validity, integrity, and non-repudiation are crucial.


Qualified Signature/ Seal Creation Devices explained

The eIDAS regulations establish a legal framework for electronic signatures and ensure their reliability and security. It is a required component for generating qualified electronic signatures, the highest level of signature types recognized by the European Union.

A Qualified Signature/Seal Creation Device (QSCD) is a secure hardware device that must satisfy the requirements of the European Union's eIDAS Regulation (Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services) and similar frameworks in other jurisdictions for the production of signature and seal data.

A Qualified Signature/Seal Creation Device must meet specific technical and security requirements set forth by the eIDAS regulation and must satisfy the requirements of Annex II of Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014. Testing and certification are carried out according to an approved safety assessment procedure by an independent body notified by member states of the EU Commission.

These requirements include features such as:

  • Security & Device Integrity - The QSCD must have strong security measures to prevent unauthorized access and protect the private key used for generating signatures or seals. These specialized devices provide enhanced security measures to protect the signing process and the private key used for generating signatures or seals.

    QSCDs use mechanisms to verify their own integrity. These mechanisms detect any attempts to tamper with the device or its software. The device has a tamper-evident design and security features that trigger alerts if any unauthorized modification is detected. This ensures the integrity of the signing environment.
  • Unique Device Identification - Each QSCD should have a unique identifier to ensure traceability and accountability
  • Protected Key Storage - QSCDs securely store the private key used for creating signatures or seals. The private key is stored within the device's hardware, making it inaccessible to external threats. The secure key storage ensures that the integrity of the private key, which is used for creating signatures or seals, is maintained and prevents unauthorized use or manipulation.
  • Tamper-evident - The device should be designed in a way that any attempt to tamper with it can be detected
  • Secure Signature Creation/Seal Creation Device - The device must have strong security measures to prevent unauthorized access and protect the private key used for generating signatures or seals
  • Cryptographic Algorithms - The device must support approved cryptographic algorithms and protocols to ensure the security and integrity of the generated signatures or seals.
  • Secure Communications Channels - QSCDs use secure communication channels to establish a trusted connection between the device and the system requesting the signature or seal. This safeguards the data's integrity during transmission and prevents manipulation or interception of the signature request.

Individuals or organizations can establish legally recognized and enforceable digital signatures or seals by using a Qualified Signature/Seal Creation Device. These devices are critical in maintaining the validity and integrity of electronic transactions and documents.



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