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About Code Signing Certificates:
Code signing is the method in which a certificate-based digital signature is used to sign executable and scripts. This signature is used to verify the author’s identity and ensure that the integrity of the code has not been tampered with or corrupted since the author signed it.
The determinant factor for end users and other software is whether the online software can be trusted. Because of the potential damage that an executable or script can cause to a computer system, it is important that users be able trust code published on the Internet.
What is code signing certificate?
The code-signing certificate replaces a digital signature. When you sign data, you include your digital signature with the data. A certificate contains information that fully identifies an entity, and is issued by a certificate authority (CA) after that authority has verified the entity’s identity. When the sender of a message signs the message with its private key, the message recipient can use the sender’s public key to verify the sender’s identity.
Most of these steps are performed by the operating system automatically and although it does not prevent malicious software from being distributed, it does ensure accountability and software integrity. As long as a user recognizes and trusts the publisher of an application, he or she can safely run it without worrying about authenticity.
How does it work?
When a code signed file is downloaded from a website, the certificate is extracted from the file. The browser cross-checks this information with an internal list of certificate authorities, and then verifies the signature in the certificate. If the signed software is tampered with in any way, the digital signature breaks and alerts customers that the code has been altered and is not trustworthy.
Who needs a code signing certificate?
Software developers use code-signing certificates to provide extra assurance to their customers about who produced the content and that it has been not tampered with. Signed code also prevents unidentified third parties from altering the code before it is distributed.
Content publishers can digitally sign software components, macros, firmware images, virus updates, configuration files, or other types of content for secure delivery over the Internet or other mechanisms. Code signing is particularly important when the source of a given piece of code might not be obvious — for example Active X controls, Java applets, and other active Web scripting codes.
Most web users understand the potential risks involved with downloading content from the Internet. It is important your end users can trust the code you publish on the Internet. Code Signing Certificate helps to achieve software security and ensure customers about software code integrity.