Code Signing Best Practices
Download this Code Signing Best Practices guide to improve your software and supply chain security.
Following the Chinese calendar, 2021 was the Year of the Ox. From a cybersecurity perspective, it’ll be remembered as the year of web application attacks, as they increased by 88% compared to 2020.
Does 2022’s threat landscape look any better? With 2.8 billion malware attacks recorded within the first six months, it doesn’t seem like it. Organizations are trying to “shift left” (i.e., putting security first) as fast as they can. But security remains a second thought for 86% of developers, who are already overwhelmed by tasks and tight deadlines. As a result, 48% of them knowingly release vulnerable codes.
What’s the solution? Working harder? Nope. Working smarter. Discover how our five-point essential software security checklist can help you enhance the security of the software you’re developing without increasing your work time or workload.
Software development can be an exciting job. It enables you to create awesome applications with brilliant features that millions of people or companies worldwide will use. However, building secure applications is another matter. It’s a complex process that can quickly become overwhelming due to the many steps involved, dependencies, and vulnerabilities.
Right, a checklist can’t make miracles. But covering the most critical steps can make your life much easier and help you:
In a few words, a software security checklist can help development teams get done what they need to get done with minimal effort and without slowing down. Are you ready to free up your memory and stop having to remember every little thing? Let’s go!
Yes, I admit it; I’m a checklist freak. I use them everywhere. When I sit at my desk in the morning, my checklist of the day is the first thing I look at. Eight hours later, I wrap up for the evening, and it’s the last thing I check.
Why? Checklists are practical, straight to the point, and easy to use. You have no idea how many times they saved my neck, above all when I was working on complex projects as an application security engineer.
The list below is based on that experience. It addresses some of the most critical issues I’ve encountered because, as I’ve learned, experience is the best teacher. (Hint: We’ve summarized the checklist in the table below so that you can print it out and have it at hand when building your next app.)
|Developer’s Essential Software Security Checklist|
|1. Check Your Code For Vulnerabilities||
|2. Implement Encryption to Secure Data In Transit and At Rest||
|3. Implement Strong Access Management Through Authentication and Authorization||
|4. Log Relevant Data, But Don’t Store Sensitive Data In Your Code||
|5. Secure Web Apps and Software Applications With Digital Certificates|| |
This is probably the most fundamental part of secure software development. Skip it and you’re done. Between open-source software, third-party components, and libraries, it’s easier to introduce even more vulnerabilities than fix those already identified. That’s also the reason why in 2021, 30% of organizations were struggling to keep pace with the volume of new vulnerabilities announced.
Nevertheless, no application should be released without checking and addressing its flaws. Not sure how can you do that?
44% of participants in a study held by Cybersecurity Insiders and Beyond Security by HelpSystems consider data protection one of their bigger application security concerns. And rightly so if you consider that IBM reports the average cost of a data breach reached $4.35 million in 2022.
Encryption implemented at all levels will guarantee you optimal protection:
In 2021, more than 80% of login attempts related to industries like e-commerce, finance, and entertainment Auth0 registered were credential-stuffing attacks. In this type of attack, the cybercriminal attempts to access a service or application by leveraging lists of stolen or leaked credentials.
What can you do? As an old saying goes, you can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails:
In the first half of 2022, Trend Micro blocked 63 billion threats. With malware on the rise, event logging is another key item that should be included in every application.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use an SSL/TSL certificate to secure website connections. But did you know that this works for web apps as well? Yes, SSL/TLS certificates also secure the connections between your customers and your web app(s) that they’re connecting to using an SSL/TLS certificate.
This approach allows you to insert your digital identity and helps to protect your data so no one can mess with its integrity in transit.
For software apps, code signing it’s easy and can make a big difference in your battle against malware. All you need is a code signing certificate (a standard or an extended validation one) issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA).
Code-signed software will:
Thinking of using a self-signed certificate? Dangerous idea. While it can be used for internal testing, it’s an absolute no-go for public applications. Why don’t you add a time stamp to your code signing? It’ll ensure your signature will remain valid and your code secure, even after your code signing certificate is expired.
Prove Your Software Is Trustworthy
Signing your code shows users that your software and updates can be trusted.
Download our free code signing best practices eBook to learn how to help keep your supply chain secure and your company, customers & end-users safe.
That’s it! Our five points, essential software security checklist. Why don’t you give it a try next time you develop your new application? Be sure to also check out our Ultimate Programming Best Practices Guide and our list of the 10 Application Security Best Practices You Should Have Under Your Belt.
Software security is a journey. This checklist marks the beginning of your adventure. It won’t fix all your security issues at once, but it’s a good base to start with. It includes all the essential boxes you’ll have to tick to create reasonably secure software and keep the bad guys away.
Use code signing certificates, encrypt data and communications, implement secure authentication, and stay up to date with vulnerabilities. There you go. You’re already heading in the right direction.
Are you ready to start your odyssey and create safer applications? Grab your checklist and start your new, more secure development journey!