Code Signing Certificate vs SSL Certificate: What’s the Difference?
Learn about the Differences Between a Code Signing Certificate and an SSL Certificate
If you’re into web or software development and you’re looking to secure your web presence, then there’s a possibility you might be asking yourself: is a code signing certificate the same as an SSL/TLS certificate? If so, let’s explore the similarities and dissimilarities between the two:
What is a Code Signing Certificate?
A code Signing certificate provides a method of putting a digital signature on software or any executable file so its authenticity and integrity can be verified at the time of installation or execution. You can say it’s like a wax seal which guarantees to its recipient who the author is and that it has not been opened or tampered with since it was signed.
To put it another way, a certificate authority issues a validation to show that a software developer or a publisher’s code is genuine, that it’s theirs – if the client trusts that organization, they can also trust the code. You can say that it’s a type of protection to the user of the code.
So, whenever a user tries to download any software which is not signed, a warning sign will be generated like below:
What is an SSL/TLS Certificate?
An SSL/TLS Certificate is a digital file, which is used for SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). It’s used to fulfill two functions:
- Assist with authentication and verification of the identity of a host or website.
- Enables encryption of information which is exchanged between the user’s browser and a website server.
What are the Similarities Between a Code Signing Certificate and an SSL/TLS Certificate
- Like SSL/TLS certificates, code signing certificates are also X.509 certificates and use PKI (Public Key Infrastructure.)
- Failure to install an SSL/TLS certificate or a code signing certificate leads to a security warning.
- Vetting of an applicant by a certificate authority before issuance is required for both types of certificates.
- The reason behind getting any of these certificates is to protect users from becoming victims of any cybercrime.
What are the Differences Between a Code Signing Certificate and an SSL/TLS Certificate?
|Code Signing Certificate||SSL/TLS Certificate|
It’s used for securing:
|It’s used for securing a website.|
|Object Identifier (OID)||For code signing, the Object Identifier (OID) is 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3||
For SSL/TLS certificates, the Object Identifier (OID) is:
|Users||Software developers or publishers||Owners of websites|
There are two different types of validation:
There are three different types of validation:
|Encryption||It does not encrypt the software, but hashes the digital signature of the software publisher, and the code. Hashing is like putting a seal on the software code, similar to a wax seal on a letter.||It encrypts the data transferred between the website server and the user’s web browser.|
|Assurance||Code signing assures the integrity of the code.||SSL/TLS Certificate ensures the security of an online transaction done between the user’s browser and a server.|
|Once the Certificate Expires||If your software was signed using timestamping service, it’s possible to verify its integrity and validity even after certificate expiration.||An SSL/TLS certificate becomes invalid and shows a warning message to users once it expires.|
|Validity Period||Up to three years.||Up to two years.|
|Popular Certificate Authorities||Symantec, Thawte, Comodo/Sectigo||Symantec, Thawte, GeoTrust, DigiCert, RapidSSL, Comodo/Sectigo|
|Other Features||Provides private key in an external USB, which works like a two-factor authentication at the time of signing the software.||Dynamic site seal for certain Domain Validated and Organization Validated and Extended Validated SSL/TLS Certificate.|
|Warranty Amount||Only two certificate authorities, Symantec and Thawte, give a warranty.||Mostly, all the branded certificate authorities provide warranty for the paid SSL/TLS certificates.|
|Read More||Read More|