What is Code Signing?

What is Code Signing?

Code Signing is a digital certificate that guarantees the authenticity and integrity of a software program. Developers, programmers, and software engineers use code signing before downloading software code to avoid compromising the systems. Code signing validates that the software code is from the original author and is safe to install and run on the machines.

Code signing utilizes public key cryptography to create a pair of a public and private keys. The public key is sent to a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) to verify the software developer's identity. The CA shares the code signing certificate, signed by CA's private key containing the developer's identity and the developer's public key.

The developers then hash the code they created and encrypt it with their private key. They add the encrypted code and the code signing certificate to the final software stack.

For the code signing process, when a user downloads the software, he uses the public key of the CA, preinstalled in the web browser to verify the authenticity of the code signing certificate. He then extracts the developer's public key from the certificate and decrypts the encrypted hash.

Code signing has weaknesses, so organizations must store encryption keys in highly trusted physical devices, such as Hardware Security Modules (HSM). They are tamper-resistant and use extremely secure cryptographic operations, authentication, and key management.