FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
How it works
Why should an organisation subscribe SWITCHverify? What is the value proposition for document issuers?
Your important documents are made tamper-proof and easily verifiable. As the verification is automated and requires no action from the issuer, it saves you the time your employees would have spent answering verification inquiries. In addition, it’s a great service that you can provide to your customers. Your documents are made verifiable 24/7, within seconds and without any doubts.
Example: universities can certify their diplomas with SWITCHverify. If their graduates apply for jobs, the recruiters can verify the authenticity of the diplomas online without having to call or email the university. Read more about diploma certification.
The owner of a document secured by SWITCHverify can allow others to verify its authenticity online in seconds by easily sharing the document in its original form with the verifier. This makes the process much easier for the owner of the document and gives them greater credibility while reducing their waiting time for their documents to be reviewed.
This is a great advantage, for example, when someone is applying for a job and sends their academic credentials as an attachment. The nerve-wracking waiting time until the recruiter has been able to verify the credentials can be reduced significantly.
To verify a document, anyone in possession of the document can simply follow the link on the document to the verification tool. The whole verification takes a few seconds and is available 24/7. This significantly reduces the verification time compared to traditional (mostly manual) methods, giving you more time to focus on other things.
SWITCHverify gives you the certainty that not a single detail of the document has been changed – something that is nearly impossible to do through traditional verification workflows.
Durability – certificates will still be verifiable many years, even if the issuing organisation would cease to exist. Even if Ethereum – the most popular blockchain for enterprise use – should lose support, SWITCH has the means to keep it going. It is a distributed database and SWITCH can be one of the nodes.
Auditability – all entries and changes are forever publicly auditable. No hidden changes can be made by anyone. This could not be guaranteed by any previous database system.
Security – The security mechanisms of the blockchain makes it extremely hard to manipulate data. The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, has never been successfully attacked in its over more than 10 years of existence – something like that cannot be said about any other database system.
In case you make a mistake or a document has expired, you can revoke the issued document.
Once you have made the appropriate changes to the document you can then certify it again as a new document, as it will now have a completely different hash value as a result of the content changes.
The recommended "standard" option injects a secret random value into your document before calculating the hash. This makes it exponentially more difficult to computationally guess the contents of a file. It is an additional measure against a theoretical, future privacy concern. SWITCHverify will automatically add this security feature by default unless you change the settings.
In both variants, we calculate a cryptographic hash (Keccak-256) of the file. This value is unique and it is extremely difficult to create a forged file that has the same hash. It would take thousands of years of computing time. There is no known case of any successful hack. Therefore, both our options offer the same very high protection against forgery and other fraudulent activities. We do not make compromises when it comes to security!
The practical impact of the standard mode is that SWITCHverify makes changes to the file, so the user has to download the new version. This means that this option does not work for older files that are already in circulation. Use this mode for maximum privacy protection and only if you have not published the document(s) yet. It is important to note that this all happens locally in your browser, meaning the document never leaves your environment.
The legacy mode got this name because it works for all your older files, too. Even for those that have been published many years ago. You can still certify these files retrospectively. This mode simply reads your existing file without changing it. Both options have a price of 1.0 credits per file.
Please use the legacy mode only if you have understood its potential handicap: If two people possess almost identical certificates from your organisation and you know the content of at least one certificate, it’s theoretically possible to write special software that tries all possible combinations to find out the content of the other person’s file. It’s very difficult to do, even for a specialised cryptographer, but theoretically it could be done. If you think this is a problem for your organisation, you must choose the "standard mode".