Eliminate Windows SmartScreen Warning Messages with an EV Code Signing Certificate
If you’ve ever used or installed any software or drivers on Windows, then there’s a chance that you might have come across the warning message for unsigned software—or to be more precise a Microsoft SmartScreen Filter warning message, like below:
Windows Treats Signed and Unsigned Software & Drivers Differently
Whenever a software or a driver is digitally signed with a trusted code signing certificate, it indicates that:
- The software has a digital signature which is associated with a certificate.
- The “publisher” of the software or driver is verified by a trusted certificate authority like a Sectigo.
- The software is not altered, damaged, corrupted, or manipulated from its original condition. It’s safe to install and use.
On the other hand, if the driver or software is not signed by a code signing certificate or it’s been tampered with or altered in any way, then it will be treated as an unsigned file— Windows will display the Microsoft SmartScreen warning message whenever someone tries to install it. For security and safety, Microsoft encourages end-users to use signed drivers and software.
How Can Unsigned Executables Affect the Windows OS?
Software and drivers have in-depth access to your computer system. This is usually required for software to function correctly, but it is a huge problem if the software is malicious. Ransomware, for example, is a malicious program that encrypts (locks) all your files and data. An application crashing can be destructive, as it may crash the whole operating system. For instance, a blue screen mostly occurs due to hardware failure or crashed drivers.
Why EV Code Signing Certificates?
Still trying to figure out whether to sign your software? Wonder why EV code signing matters? Here’s why experts recommend signing software with an EV code signing certificate.
1. Show Positive Messages to Users
First, signed software shows a positive, helpful alert instead of a scary warning. Once you sign your software, you’ll see an alert like this:
2. Boost User Confidence
It also helps in boosting users’ confidence that they’re installing a genuine software that’s coming from a trusted source. And if it’s a device driver, signing becomes even more vital as it’s required by Windows in some situations.
3. Prove Software Integrity
If you’ve signed your software, or driver files with a trusted code signing certificate, it will assure end-users that software has not been tampered with since you signed it. Ultimately, this provides confidence to users that the program they’ve downloaded is the same one, i.e., built by you.
4. Helps Build Your Reputation
Now, the integrity of the software alone doesn’t make much difference. There have been cases of malicious files being digitally signed by cyber crooks. That’s where the reputation of the software publisher comes in. Historically, giants like IBM, Adobe, etc., have worked hard to develop a good reputation in the mind of their users. They do many things to build their reputation, including signing their software using EV Code Signing Certificates to instantly overcome obstacles like Microsoft SmartScreen messages. This helps users know whether the software is signed and from a trusted publisher.
How to Use This Information
If you’re a software developer or a publisher who hasn’t signed your software or driver, then get a signing certificate for your software file to avoid the Microsoft SmartScreen warning message. Ultimately, it will prove to be an investment by helping in the overall growth of your software, which means more conversions and more revenue.