Digitally Sign Scripts, Executables and more using a Code Signing Certificate

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These days, almost every device we use is in some way a computer. From our vehicles to a small mobile device, buses, trains, watches, the television we watch each day. Computers are all around us.

Below all the eye-catching features and GUIs, the code is doing its job, letting its users do whatever it is they fancy. It’s the back end to every gadget and device we use. Codes and functions are responsible for making devices do what they are doing.

However, have you ever thought about where all the code that makes these devices work flawlessly -who wrote it? When an update needs to be made, is the installed Code or Function harmful, or is it for the benefit of the users? In short, Code Signing Certificates answer all these types of questions.

Let’s say as a software distributor; you distribute unsigned code/software. There’s a possibility that someone gets a hold of your software, makes some malicious modifications to it and starts circulating it with an intention to harm users. If your software is popular, this increases that risk substantially.

What is a Code Signing Certificate?

Code Signing Certificates offer a digital signing technology that can assert publisher identity and assure users that the code is legitimate and unaltered. Using mathematic functions Code Signing gives a digital identity to the code, which allows users to know who the author is and provides a guarantee that it’s safe to use.

In other words, Code Signing Certificates Digitally sign scripts and executables. They confirm the identity of the software author and offers a guarantee that the code is genuine and has not been altered or corrupted since its signing. Ultimately it helps to build the reputation of the organization or the software developer as an individual, as it lets users download and install their software without any error or warning message.

Safe to Download

safe to download img

Unsigned Software Warning

not safe

You can say Code Signing is like shrink wrap of any CD or DVD purchased from a megastore. Remember those? Software would come wrapped in plastic to let users know it hasn’t been tampered with in any way or form. In the same way, code signing does this for software but in a digital format, which works as a unique fingerprint.

It uses PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) technology to create a digital signature based upon a private key & the contents of the program file, and packages that signature with the file or any associated catalog file.

Code Signing Certificates are often called a Software Publisher Certificate, they can sign code in different formats such as Microsoft Authenticode, Adobe Air & Java.

Lastly, obtaining a Code Signing Certificate is easy for any legitimate software developer. Any reputable Certificate Authority like Comodo that sells Code Signing Certificates does not take the applicant’s word for their identity, rather they perform a thorough check-up of the company name, phone numbers and other required information to prove the identity which can take up to 1 to 3 days. That’s no problem if you’re a legitimate developer though.

Video: Understand What is Code Signing Certificate & How it works