As the growth in technology continues to improve our lives, we are faced with fraudulent software used by hackers to gain control of our devices. There has been an increase in the number of mobile app downloads over the years. For example, there have been over 592 million daily mobile app downloads in 2020. The number of downloads would exceed 250 billion by 2022.
Internet users have become tech-savvy and search for the address bar’s padlock to be convinced that the website has an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate ensures that the transit data is well encrypted to prevent MiTM attacks and phishing attempts. It is also necessary that the users are also confident in the same manner when they are downloading software or a mobile app. In this article, we will discuss the code signing process and its purpose.
What is Code Signing?
The process of code signing is used to denote that software, or a piece of executable is secure. It also shows that the piece of software has not been tampered with by any unauthorized third party.
Once the developer writes the software, it can be signed using a code signing certificate and distributed on the website. When a user wishes to download it, they can check that it is signed by a renowned software developer that will provide a sense of trust in them. They can then proceed to download the software.
You must have come across a pop-up when you are downloading software. It shows the details of the software developer and asks you whether you are sure to download it. It is where the process of code signing works. The pop-up informs you that the software is from Zoom Video Communications, Inc. and it has not been damaged.
Purpose of Code Signing
A fraudulent piece of software can have malicious intent and can damage your computer and networks. There must be a system that will allow the users to ascertain that the software or mobile app is genuine and can be downloaded without fear. Let us now discuss the purpose of code signing.
Developers must enthuse a sense of trust in the minds of the users who try to download the software. When the developer signs the code with a code signing certificate, the software is authenticated with the software developer’s name. There is an indication that the software has not been altered and can be safely downloaded by the user.
Without the security layer, any hacker can access the software through man-in-the-middle attack and make unauthorized changes or have access to the code in the software. However, if the software or piece of code is digitally signed with the certificate, no one can access it. Users can access the details of the certificate as well.
Imagine you are a user and see a pop-up stating that the developer of the software you wish to download is unknown. You would not download the software or mobile app. The procedure of code signing will help by informing the user about the developer of the software. Once it is verified that the software is authentic, the users can safely download it.
How to employ the Code Signing Certificate?
The first step is to purchase it from a renowned Certification Authority (CAs).
Post this; an email will be sent to you with the installation link for the new certificate or the renewal.
The installation link is opened on the browser.
Next, you must click on the “Generate Certificate” link to create and install the code signing certificate. The steps at the back end can differ across the CAs. What usually happens is that a private key and CSR is created.
The private key will be stored in your browser back-end, while the CSR is sent to the CA who will send the files for installation.
The certificate files get installed on the browser’s Personal Certification store. Once installed, you can now sign your code.
There has been an increase in damages caused to systems due to the download of malicious software. The devices also show pop-ups with warnings when users try to download software from MinTM developers. Users only prefer to download authentic software to ensure their devices are safe. A code signing certificate can help to enthuse a sense of trust in the minds of the users.
It becomes essential for developers to enthuse users’ minds and use the code signing process to mark their software as genuine. This process will ensure that the software has not been accessed by unauthorized people and is safe for downloads.