Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security

pp 852-854

Nonrepudiation of Digital Signatures

  • Mike JustAffiliated withGlasgow Caledonian University


In general terms, nonrepudiation refers to an inability to disavow a previous agreement. In technical terms, nonrepudiation is often used in relation to the support of nonrepudiation with a digital signature.


Historically, the term nonrepudiation most likely evolved from the discussion of repudiation in the New Directions in Cryptography paper by Whit Diffie and Marty Hellman. The authors stated that “[u]nforgeable digital signatures are needed” to protect against a message being “later repudiated by either the transmitter or sender.” As public key technology progressed in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, nonrepudiation became one of four main features touted by proponents of the technology. Along with confidentiality (provided by encryption), authentication, and data integrity, nonrepudiation via digital signature schemes was hailed as the enabling technology for electronic commerce.

In the late 1980s, the concept of nonrepudiation began making ...

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