What is a Code Signing Certificate?
If you’re at all familiar with software developing, even if you’ve just dabbled in it and would like to hone your skills a little more, you’d be aware of the code signing certificate that can be used to verify the authorship of the code. Whether it’s downloadable software that users can utilise on their computer or a mobile app that can be installed onto their tablet or phone, code signing certificates confirm that it’s authentic and hasn’t been meddled with.
It can be a valuable tool, similar to an online business using various SSL certificates stored in a certificate intelligence center. Code signing, namely, provides added security during the code deployment. More often than not, implementations will provide a way to sign the codes with the use of two keys – a private and public (similar to the SSL process). For example, a developer would use a private key to sign their code each time they add to the build. For the ultimate sign of security, they would acquire these keys from a reputable Certificate Authority.
Code signing can also be incredibly useful in environments where the authorship and source of the code isn’t necessarily obvious, such as Java and ActiveX. Updates are also regularly done via code signing protocols, where new patches to existing programmes (e.g. Windows and Linux software) are signed, to avoid malicious activity and corrupt code being distributed via the patch systems. On the other end, the user can also have the peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that the latest update to their installed software is a legitimate one.
The public key should be acquired from a reputable certificate authority too – if it is sourced from one, such as Symantec, the user can trust the code of the software and be confident that it will work efficiently and effectively.