Cover Page by Gary Cornell, Cay S. Horstmann

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9.5.2. Message Signing

In the last section, you saw how to compute a message digest—a fingerprint for the original message. If the message is altered, the fingerprint of the altered message will not match the fingerprint of the original. If the message and its fingerprint are delivered separately, the recipient can check whether the message has been tampered with. However, if both the message and the fingerprint were intercepted, it is an easy matter to modify the message and then recompute the fingerprint. After all, the message digest algorithms are publicly known, and they don’t require secret keys. In that case, the recipient of the forged message and the recomputed fingerprint would never know that the message has been altered. Digital signatures ...

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