EV Code Signing Certificate: Why Do You Need EV Code Signing?

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Get EV Code Signing to Remove Microsoft SmartScreen Warnings Instantly

Publishing new software takes a lot of effort, and its success depends upon its usage. Just publishing the software doesn’t guarantee that it will be widely used. Microsoft SmartScreen Filter is one of the biggest obstacles faced by new software in its path to success.

What is the Microsoft SmartScreen Filter?

Microsoft SmartScreen is a security feature offered by the Windows operating system that helps users identify malware and phishing sites, while also providing essential information about the software they’re downloading. Unfortunately, this SmartScreen feature sometimes causes headaches even for genuine, safe developers, which is quite excruciating.

For example, you’ve succeeded at promoting your software and a customer starts downloading your software, but then there’s a sudden pop up warning message, which doesn’t let the user download or install the software.

microsoft-smart-screen-message

The Microsoft SmartScreen Filtering Practices

Building Application Reputation via Microsoft SmartScreen feature is quite a challenge for new software developers.

Microsoft SmartScreen has a two-step process for checking downloaded software:

  • First, it checks the files the user downloads from the web against an existing list of reported malicious software, websites, and programs which are not safe. If the SmartScreen Filters find any match from their list, it will warn the users by blocking it for safety reasons. This is the first step, again after checking it with all its listed files and sites, it will move to the second step, which consists of one more check.
  • Second, it will check against a list of popular downloads. If your software file isn’t in that list, then again, the same thing occurs, which is showing a SmartScreen warning message. This makes it very hard for new software developers to get customers to install their software.
So, if you’re wondering what’s the solution to this problem, the answer is signing your software with an EV Code Signing Certificate.

How EV Code Signing Certificate Solves the SmartScreen Problem

For large scale companies and publishers with an established reputation with Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla, an EV code signing certificate won’t be as necessary. But, if your software company is new or small, and its reputation is not yet well developed, then the Microsoft SmartScreen warning message problem can become an issue. To overcome this problem, an EV code signing certificate can be helpful. The Certificate Authorities take the applicant through a rigorous vetting process before issuing the certificate – they take around one to five days to check the legality of the business by verifying the company’s documents, phone number, etc. Due to this, Microsoft SmartScreen gives an instant reputation boost to EV code signed software – in almost all cases, this results in the removal of the SmartScreen warning.

Features & Benefits of EV Code Signing Certificates

If you’re wondering if there’s anything special an EV code signing certificate offers that a standard code signing certificate is not able to provide, here’s a quick summary of the features and benefits.

1. Instant SmartScreen Reputation

The most important and biggest advantage of using an EV code signing certificate is that your software will automatically receive instant reputation from Microsoft SmartScreen. Microsoft will look upon you as a respectable business, and it will also reduce the warning message while improving your brand reputation. Eventually, helping to boost end-user trust and leading towards more downloads and increased conversions.

2. Two-Factor Authentication

Unlike standard code signing, where the private key is stored locally, EV Code Signing provides the private key separately stored on a USB device, which is sent through mail once the certificate is purchased. So, whenever you try to sign your software or any other executable file using your EV code signing certificate, you’ll need the private key stored on the physical device – to be that any unauthorized personnel doesn’t get access to export or make fraudulent use of your certificate.

3. HSM (Hardware Security Modules) Supported

Extended Validated code signing certificates are supported on HSMs. So, if you’re looking to have more control over the certificate and the private key, this feature can prove beneficial. Also, all the authorized persons within an organization can get access to that HSM to make use of the stored certificate for signing code.

4. Timestamping

Just like standard code signing, an EV code signing certificate also offers a capability to digitally sign and timestamp your software using a private key from the provided udisk token. Once the software is timestamped, it will live on even after the original certificate expires.

5. Affordable & Cost-Effective

At first, it may not seem so, but EV Code Signing Certificates are affordable and a great value. If you take the instant trust of Microsoft SmartScreen into consideration, you’ll notice how it saves you from many hassles faced by non-EV signed software such as browser warnings killing downloads. In other words, it’s a great investment for the organization to increase both downloads and conversions.

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