Certificates for code signing – different types, how they work and how they differ.

The use of technology has made our lives easier,
and we can have everything at our fingertips. However, the use of technology has also led to an increase in cybercrime.

And it’s not just websites, but also
mobile apps that are being used by hackers to get their hands on your sensitive data.
There are several unsafe ways on the internet and in mobile app stores, so always be on your guard.

Studies show that cybercrime could cost the world $6.9 trillion by 2021. According to a study by Appsflyer, an analysis of 2.5
billion installations of 9,500 apps showed an increase in app installation fraud.

An SSL certificate is used to secure your website and
networks, but is also necessary to protect your software.
has implemented code signing of the
certificate to prevent unauthorized changes to the master code.

  • Insight into the code signing certificate

Software developers use the
certificate to digitally sign programs, executables, and drivers.
It also contains data to fully identify the software developer.

This technology uses a
private and public key pair – or public key infrastructure (PKI). The developer signs the
code with the private key, while the user uses the public key to ensure the authenticity of the


(Source: https://www.appviewx.com/education-center/what-is-code-signing)

Before downloading the software, you should verify the identity of the developer of
and make sure that the software is not corrupted. This
certificate uses a digital signature and a time stamp is recorded when it is applied.

This function ensures that the
master code remains valid even after the digital certificate has expired. Only if you need to make
changes to the code will you need to digitally sign it again.

  • Understand the requirements for code signing certificates

The number of
incidents involving the download of fraudulent software has increased. Code signing of a
certificate verifies the developer of the software and prevents malicious
people from trying to crack your software.

Identifies the source of the software

The certificate helps the user validate
as the source of the software. It is also necessary for the developer to sign the
code with a certificate. If the code is not signed, a
warning message is displayed, indicating that the issuer is unknown.

Confirms the integrity of the software

The use of a code signing certificate guarantees the
integrity of the software. The code does not change to
and helps increase the confidence of users trying to download the
program. Developers can also use their trademark and prevent unwanted changes to
‘s software.

Meets the requirements of Platform

Platforms expect you to be mindful of customer data security
. For this reason, users receive a
pop-up warning if the program is not digitally signed. Code signing can also help
detect modified files. It also ensures a smoother loading process of the

  • Understand how the code signing certificate works

First, you must request a certificate from the
Certificate Authority (CA) of your choice. The installation process may differ from
for different CAs. In general, a one-way hash is developed by the
software, and a private key is used to encrypt the hash. The
digital signature is also added to the private key code.

Hash functions are designed to be irreversible. When a user wants to download software, the authenticity of the
certificate is verified and validated by a trusted certificate authority. User
‘s system then uses the public key to decrypt the signature. The system then searches under
for the root certificate that the signature trusts. If no trusted
root certificate is found, the system informs the user that the
certificate used to sign the program is not trusted.

The software is hashed again and the new value of
is compared to the hash used to sign the application. If the system trusts the
root certificate and the hashes also match, the user can safely download the

  • Understand the types of
    code signing certificates.

There are two types of
certificate signatures, namely.

1. Signing organisations with a validated code (also called normal code signing

2. Code signing with extended validation (EV)

  • Insight in EV code signing

Signing a certificate with the EV
code implies that the CA performs a strict background check of the
entity requesting the certificate. There are several
documents that the organization must prepare. The organization must be officially
registered with the government and then operational.

The EV Signature Certificate has a
intelligent security system known as the Microsoft SmartScreen
trust filter. Users are protected from phishing techniques and malware download requests
. These certificates are best suited for device drivers,
applications, and executables.

As an extra precaution, the
private key is physically sent to the subject requested for this certificate. It should be securely stored in
so that only authorized personnel have access to it.

  • How does signing EV
    codes work?

Once the program code is complete,
is hashed and cannot be easily modified. The private key stored in the
external hardware is used to digitally sign the software and create a timestamp. The
helps web browsers know who the developer of the software is and whether the
certificate is trustworthy.

Once approved, the software can be downloaded in
. When a user tries to download software, the
browser can see who the developer of the software is and whether any unauthorized changes have been made to

(Source: https://www.ssl2buy.com/wiki/regular-code-signing-vs-ev-code-signing)

  • Difference between EV code signing and normal code signing

We will now examine the differences
between the two options.

EV certificate for code signing Common code signing certificate
The private key is stored as a hardware key.
But you have to take care of it.
The protection of the private key is the prerogative of the
developers. This increases the risk of abuse.
automatically gets Microsoft SmartScreen detection. This creates extra confidence in the
Reputation is built when users continue to install the
Certification bodies use a complex process to verify
developer data.
CA has a simple
process for verifying company credentials.
Certification bodies must follow the CA/Browser
Forum guidelines for auditing companies.
It is not necessary to follow such guidelines.
The issue of this
-CA certificate can take up to five days.
The certificate can be obtained within three days
These certificates are offered at a high price.
However, there are better tools.
It is available at a lower price.


Users download the software to make their lives easier
. It is necessary to check if the software is real, so that
users do not become victims of hackers. Companies need to ensure that users can download
software without fear of the software being changed in the meantime.
become necessary to protect software downloads, such as websites that are
secured with an SSL certificate.

The use of a code signing certificate can ensure that users can download software without concern. Without a certificate, the
software may be flagged as an unsafe download and result in lost revenue. Again,
can use the EV Code Signing certificate that
Microsoft SmartScreen Recognition automatically receives. Another advantage is the use of an external hard drive to store the
private key.

frequently asked questions

What is an EV code signing certificate?

An EV code signing certificate is a file containing a digital signature that can be used to sign executable programs and scripts to verify the identity of the developer and to ensure that the code has not been modified since it was signed. This allows the user to verify that the software is reliable.

How to use EV signature certificates

‘ code-signal ‘ eu-code-signal…

What is the difference between a code signing certificate and an SSL certificate?

The code signing certificate is intended for downloadable software, scripts and executables. … SSL certificates encrypt data that is transferred between two systems. Code signing certificates do not encrypt software. With a code signing certificate, on the other hand, an executable file is hashed and provided with the digital signature of the software manufacturer.

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