Downloading software programs from the Internet is still suspicious because of the high risk of virus and malware infection. This is why Code Signing SSL Certificates are a must-have for any reputable software developer. These special SSL Certificates ensure the legitimacy of the developer’s code (Content Source Authentication) and certify that it is genuine. (Content Integrity).
Without a Code Signing Certificate, your software will remain anonymous (“Unknown publisher”). As a result, hackers will be able to alter it. For this reason, the verification and authentication of the software code are essential elements towards making your software trustworthy and ensuring its security.
How do Code Signing Certificates work?
Code Signing is the process that confirms the identity of the software’s author and guarantees its authenticity. It issues the SSL Certificate that digitally signs its scripts and executables. To achieve this, it uses a unique cryptographic hash to bind the software to the identity of its publisher.
Like all SSL Certificates, a Code Signing Certificate works based on the Public Key Infrastructure – the public-private key pair. The public key, which is submitted to the Certificate Authority, confirms the signature of the data by issuing the Code Signing Certificate. On the other hand, the private key is used to sign the data and becomes a part of the software code, making any modification of the program impossible. Any attempt of changing the code will lead to an invalid signature.
Also, Code Signing SSL Certificates allow you to timestamp your code if you want to avoid an unwanted expiry of your digital certificate.
The Code Signing process consists of the following steps:
- The software developer requests the Code Signing SSL Certificate;
- The Certificate of Authority certifies its identity and issues the Code Signing Certificate;
- The software developer uses a Code Signing program (such as SignTool, Jarsigner, etc.) to add the digital signature and the certificate, by generating a one-way software hash (the private key encrypts it) and bundling it with the certificate and the script/executable;
- The software developer uploads the software program online and makes it available for download;
- When a user downloads and runs the software program, the digital signature is checked – the hash is decrypted using the public key from the SSL Certificate, and it creates a new hash for the downloaded software;
- The new hash is compared to the hash which was signed by the SSL Certificate;
- The program or browser either allows the installation (if the hashes match), or shows a warning and blocks the execution (if the hashes do not match).
By getting a Code Signing SSL Certificate, you prevent your clients from abandoning the installation of your software because of security warnings, malware alteration, or identity theft. You can see the list of Code Signing SSL Certificates that we offer on this page.
A Code Signing Certificate will increase your customer’s trust and your software’s credibility. Here is why:
- Your client will not see any security warnings when installing your software;
- The expiry notifications will prevent you from inadvertent certificate expiration;
- It assures your customers that your software is verified, it comes from a trusted source, and it can be downloaded safely;
- It protects your clients from installing hacked, counterfeit or re-packed versions of your software and digital products.
The Code Signing Certificate sign the following types of code:
- device drivers;
- configuration files;
- enterprise applications;
- operating systems;
- utility software;
- OEM software;
- packaged software;
- web applications;
- virus updates;
- any software that distributes code.
After putting so much hard work into software development, the last thing you want to do is to see some random hacker messing with your code. The best way to prevent this is to get a Code Signing Certificate. With this in mind, we strongly encourage you to protect your code with the most secure encryption algorithms. Also, don’t forget to check our Code Signing Certificates offers here.