Why Code Signing Certificate is Essential for Developers?
In this digital world, authenticity, as well as integrity, are pivotal for maintaining user trust. There are ample types of software and applications available on the internet. Daily, thousands of users and organizations download these software and apps to fulfill their tasks and requirements.
The rise in mobile internet usage (744 million users) has compelled developers to develop mobile apps, too, for the comfort of their users.
As a result, millions of mobile apps and software are also stationed on the internet by these developers.
Google Play Store comprises 3.5 million apps, whereas the Apple App Store has 2.2 million apps.
The question is-
How many of these apps/software are genuine?
Developing and launching your own app has become very easy. Cybercriminals are also developing malicious apps and placing them on the internet to dupe users of their finances and sensitive data. Once a user clicks on a malicious app may face severe consequences like the loss of data/finances.
To prevent such malicious downloads; Code Signing Certificate came into existence.
What is Code Signing Certificate?
A Code Signing Certificate is a digital certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA). This digital certificate displays the developer’s details (digital signature), company name, and a time stamp. This certificate is proof of the originality of the code, and its presence states that the code is neither modified nor compromised. In short, the code is intact.
Therefore, when a developer using this certificate, digitally signs software, app codes, scripts, executables, drivers, etc., it becomes a trust seal for customers. When a customer downloads code-signed software, they are assured about the code’s originality and authenticity.
This certificate helps customers distinguish the genuine from the fake. Securing software/apps with a strong code signing certificate is essential to portray code legitimacy and developer authenticity.
When a publisher or web developer signs the code using this certificate, a digital sign, and a hash are attached to it. Code-signing involves two processes, i.e., encryption and hashing, to secure the code from hackers.
The developer encrypts the code using the unique private key and sends its corresponding public key to the concerned CA for issuance of the certificate. The CA verifies the authenticity of the developer and sends the public key along with the digital certificate, thus confirming the developer’s authenticity and public key ownership.
Later, the developer uses the certificate and the key pair to hash the code, encrypt it, and place their digital signature to confirm code originality.
Without this certificate, users will be shown a warning sign stating that the code is unsafe. This may indirectly affect brand image and reputation.
Benefits of Code Signing for Developers
Why should you sign the code?
This question is on the minds of many developers unaware of the benefits of code-signing certificates. We have penned some fantastic benefits for those who are ignorant, which will answer your above question.
So, let us get rolling.
1. Secures Code Integrity
Since the code signing process uses a hash function to secure the code, code authentication and code integrity are maintained. If the hash on the code and the downloaded app is similar, then the code is intact, but if the hashes differ, it is a sign that the code is tampered with by intruders.
A warning sign is visible to customers who try to download a compromised code, and the software download process fails.
2. Extended Validity
These certificates come with an optional timestamp. This timestamp enhances the expiry date of your digital signatures, i.e., the code will be valid even after the expiry of the code signing certificates.
Identification of Original Publisher/Web Developer:
Each code signing certificate displays the publisher’s identity, which in turn helps in enhancing software reliability.
Trust & Confidence:
User trust and confidence are maintained with the help of this digital certificate.
Users are bound to love and download your software/app when your code security is streamlined and meticulous. This helps boosts downloads and revenue.
Efficient Monitoring & Enforcement:
When your software is digitally signed, modification can be easily detected. And it saves a lot of time for app development.
Elimination of Security Warnings:
Trust is established when codes are code-signed using this certificate. When a reliable CA issues a code-signing certificate, users are bound to trust the software/executable/app.
Secondly, when your software is code-singed, it will be accepted automatically, and all the warning signals will be eliminated. This will help in the smooth downloading of the code by the users without any hassles.
3. Maximize Distribution & Revenue on Varied Platforms
The two most pivotal factors, which make this certificate essential, are:
- Enormous mobile and desktop apps are available on Play Stores for customers.
- The rapid malware attacks carried out by hackers on these apps.
The rise in mobile users has enhanced the revenue of web developers who have developed thousands of mobile apps for their users. This certificate is the sole solution for developers to establish user trust by portraying app authenticity and integrity. Developer identity is also displayed, an additional benefit for enhancing user trust.
The certificate supports your app/software on varied platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Mozilla, etc.
4. Strengthens & Secures Your Brand Image
One data breach can shatter your brand image and make you miss business. To prevent such catastrophes, companies and developers launching their software/apps use a code signing certificate to sign and secure their code digitally.
Once this process is over, no hacker can alter/delete the code since proper authorization is required.
Users checkout for the hash and match the app sign with the downloaded software/app before downloading it on their device. Thus, a code signing certificate helps in securing your brand image.
Also read, Top 4 App Performance Metrics to Analyse and to Improve Your App.
5. Efficient and Easy Security Process
Integration of the code signing process is easy and efficient to secure your software. API integration or web-based integration in the code signing process helps ease this process.
Security warnings are eliminated, and software code integrity is maintained by using this digital certificate.
Unsigned software is risky since it can be compromised or loaded with malware. Users refrain from downloading unknown software, which states “Unknown Publisher” in the name (developer details) field. Secured and authentic software download is possible when software is code-signed.
Grab one and sign it to secure your software/app.
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