An advanced security feature that verifies the sender's identity and verifies that the message hasn't been modified during transit.
Unlike a handwritten signature, which is written onto, and thus becomes part of the document to which it relates, signing electronic information is rather different. To sign a piece of information, a hash of the information is created using a hashing algorithm. The hash is then encrypted using the private key for an asymmetric algorithm. The public key certificate for the private key is appended to the encrypted hash value. These correspond to the signature on the information.
When a sender signs a message, it causes the Exchange client to "stamp" a digital signature into the originating message using one of the user's two private keys. Then, by verifying the message, a recipient can be sure of the identity of the sender and that the content has not been modified during transit. For example, this feature can prevent someone from originating a message under the guise of another identity. See also Private Key, Public Key, Verifying.