Code Signing Certificate is Necessary to Ensure Software Integrity
The advancement of modern technology has seen several advantages, with increased use of various software. When you wish to download software, you must be aware of a pop-up that comes up. If you see it is from a renowned developer, you can download the software without much fuss.
It is always safe to check on the antecedents of the developer before you download software. Unfortunately, the number of mobile app frauds rose to 26% in the first half of 2020. Developers must enthuse trust in the minds of the users and ensure that there is no revenue leakage. It is where the code signing certificate helps.
- What’s the Purpose of a Code Signing Certificate?
There have been instances where hackers have released executables in the guise of secure software. The code signing process prevents this as the developer can provide their digital signature and ensures the integrity and authenticity of the downloaded software. Additionally, the code signing certificates ensure that the users can trust the software they are downloading.
The use of the code signing certificate helps to avoid the warning. When you are downloading software, you are informed whether the software is from a reputed developer. It also validates the publisher and ensures the integrity of the software.
- Understanding a Code Signing Certificate
These certificates are used to sign software scripts, applications, executables, etc., digitally. It helps to ensure that the underlying code is safe and has not been tempered by any unauthorized third party. In addition, the certificate can help a browser validate the identity of the software developer.
The certificates are issued by a renowned Certificate Authority (CA) only after a validation process that depends on the type of certificate requested. All businesses must install the certificate to enthuse a sense of trust in the user’s minds and prevent revenue leakage.
- How Does Code Signing Work?
A code signing certificate uses a public-private key pair for encryption. The public key authorizes the signature while the private key signs the underlying code. Once the software has been written, the code is hashed that cannot be changed. The private key is used to sign the code along with the timestamp digitally.
The hash and the certificate are bundled together with the software code when the application is shipped. When a user tries to download the software, the browser can validate whether the software was tampered with or not. The hash is decrypted with the public key, and a new hash is created. The two hashes are compared, and if they match, the code has not been altered.
- Benefits of Code Signing Certificate
Ensures code integrity
The code signing certificate uses a hashing mechanism to ensure the integrity of the underlying code. It uses a mechanism where the developer uses a hash function to sign the code, which must be matched at the destination before downloading. If they do not match, there will be a warning. The validation can also be done with a timestamp, which will ensure the certificate’s validity when the code is signed digitally.
The use of a code signing certificate from a trusted CA helps to gain trust. An authentication mechanism runs at the back-end that allows validating that the code has not been tampered with and is safe for downloading. As a result, the user can download the software as it is validated to be safe. It also enhances the brand equity of the software developer.
They are safely integrated with different platforms.
The code signing process is integrated with multiple platforms, like Adobe AIR, Linux, Windows, Java, Android, Apple iOS, etc. The platforms recommend the use of a code signing process to ensure safer software downloads. In addition, several browsers also mandate the use of a code signing certificate from a renowned CA.
Enhanced user experience
As a user, you would not prefer seeing a pop-up informing you that downloading a piece of software you prefer would be unsafe. The use of these certificates helps to ensure that reputed third parties authenticate the security of the code. As the risk of program tampering is eliminated, the developer’s intellectual property and reputation are kept intact too.
- Best Practices for Code Signing Certificate
Restrict the access to private keys
One of the critical aspects of protecting unauthorized access is restricting access to the private keys to personnel with requisite rights and privileges. You can deploy physical security means as well to limit access. For testing purposes, you may use self-signed codes that will also prevent access to the private keys.
Use cryptographic hardware to store a private key.
You can use a FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 certified cryptographic device. It ensures that the private key is physically secure and is kept in a locked device. The EV code signing process requires the private key to be stored in a cryptographic hardware device.
Authenticate the code before signing
The code must go through a proper approval process in-house before the code signing
process can be activated. In addition, audit logs must be maintained, and the code must be scanned for viruses to improve the security of the code.
The process of code signing enhances the brand equity of the developer by ensuring that the users are downloading only safe software. It increases downloads by ensuring that the users trust your software. It also prevents the unnecessary pop-up depicting unsafe software from showing. A code signing certificate can ensure the integrity of your software that is essential to increase user downloads.
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