Sign up ×
Cryptography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for software developers, mathematicians and others interested in cryptography. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am looking to understand if there are any hard figures on which digital signature schemes are most commonly in use today.

I'm only really interested in what is employed recently (ie. last couple years), as opposite to what was adopted say ten years ago, and especially what's employed in systems in which the bandwidth is limited, hence the signature length needs to be short.

If you could include the figures and link the relevant sources, that would be excellent.

note: I know that last change to DSA happened in 2000, and up to 2004 it was still in use. Is it still in use in 2012?

share|improve this question
I suspect this question may be hard to answer without narrowing the context down a bit, since digital signatures are used for so many purposes. Something like, say, "most frequently used signature algorithms for SSL/TLS certificates" might be easier to find a factual answer to. – Ilmari Karonen Apr 17 '12 at 12:57
@IlmariKaronen thanks for the suggestion. I'll edit the question. By the way what I am looking for informations about digital signature schemes employed in systems in which the bandwidth is limited, hence the signature length needs to be limited. – eddy ed Apr 17 '12 at 13:08
In my experience, the signature scheme of choice if you want to minimize the signature size is ECDSA. I personally haven't seen DSA used since the RSA patent expired. – poncho Apr 17 '12 at 13:25
@poncho thanks very much, can you provide me further details, as for example in applications it is employed, or the likes? (by the way, I found this RFC which is about how to employ ECDSA for IKE) – eddy ed Apr 17 '12 at 15:22
In my practice, RSA is quite ubiquitous: it rules the business of digital certificates as used on the web (often with PKCS#1 signature), as well as bank Smart Cards (often with ISO 9796-2 scheme 1 signature). I've seldom met ANSI X9.31 (an RSA scheme now in FIPS 186), but I'm told it is used. I've met DSA (the original scheme of FIPS 186) in applications where a short signature as appendix (rather than with message recovery) is a must, including a recent one, but ECDSA is clearly gaining traction over DSA in that use case (e.g. for passports), and for low-power devices (Bluetooth..) – fgrieu May 28 '14 at 11:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.