6 Best Ways to Secure Your Software with Code Signing

Code signing involves obtaining a certificate from a reliable authority and affixing it to your software or other executables. Signing your code is similar to putting a seal on it; it proves that the code has not been tampered with or changed after it was signed.

Despite the ease of this procedure, code signing has several complications. Unfortunately, hackers can sometimes steal your private key, putting your signed code or program at risk. It is, therefore, essential to take precautions to ensure the security of private keys.

Millions of code lines in software allow sharing of data and information across your home, office, and everywhere else.

To everyone in the software industry, obtaining an enterprise code signing certificate for their products is common knowledge. Users can verify the software’s publisher or origin and rest easy knowing the signed version has not been tampered with. The six best methods for signing code are outlined here. These recommendations will assist you in protecting your private keys and signing your code securely if you currently possess a code-signing certificate.

Ensure you Scan Your Code

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While code signing verifies the code’s authorship and release date, it does not guarantee security. You could get in trouble using your code signing certificate to sign malware, which could compromise the user’s device. In this case, your code signing certificate may be revoked, and it may not be easy to obtain a new one due to stringent validation standards.

The only way to ensure that nothing like this occurs is to conduct exhaustive quality assurance testing. To the same extent, a code review will provide the code has been adequately tested. Before you sign your code, you can get it checked for viruses to make sure it’s completely virus-free.

Confidentiality of Private Keys

Only trusted individuals should have access to private keys. Code signing certificates provide a significant security risk if their private keys are lost or stolen. If the private keys are compromised, the code can be signed by anybody with access to the private key. They make a ton of money from selling it on the dark web. Limiting who can gain access to your private keys is the most effective strategy to keep them secure and stop their unauthorized use. Only authorized individuals should be granted entry, and further layers of protection should be put in place to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to the keys. You should restrict access to private keys to only a select group of computers.

Discard Any Compromised Code Signing Certificates

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Your private keys should be reported stolen to the certificate authority as soon as possible. You should ask the certificate authority to revoke your code signing certificate if it was used to sign malware or if the keys were compromised. To prove that code signed before the certificate’s revocation date was not affected by the compromise, you might provide a revocation date before the compromise date.

Code Time Stamping While Signing

A timestamp is a short bit of data or information added to your signature anytime you use a Code Signing Certificate to sign software, apps, or other items. The Code Signing Certificate service provider provides the server time stamp used in this procedure.

The end user will know the certificate was legitimate during the Code Signing process if they see your signature with the timestamp. Expressed timestamping is an excellent technique for Code Signing since it ensures the integrity of your code even if the certificate is revoked or expires.

Rotate You Keys

Sometimes, businesses sign releases for multiple business and product lines with the same key. That is sometimes a terrible plan. Signed releases could be vulnerable if the code signing key is stolen or compromised. Instead, key rotation is a recommended practice. In addition, have each DevOps team utilize its private key when signing a release. If keys are stolen, the potential damage is mitigated to some degree by this measure.

For DevOps, Simplify Code Signing

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The goal of a DevOps team is speed. A bottleneck is seen as anything that increases the time it takes to provide an application. Due to the time and effort required for manual code signing, developers frequently resort to methods like key sharing, which introduces new security vulnerabilities. An automated certificate lifecycle management (CLM) solution that works well with your DevOps toolset could solve this issue. Predefined self-service operations can be automated to reduce significantly the effort and time spent on certificates for DevOps.


Final Thought

People often fail to appreciate security measures’ importance until they are put to the test. To discuss Code Signing’s safety, this is accurate. Still, you can benefit from adopting a few of the abovementioned habits. Your company and its customers will both benefit from this. Though some worry that purchasing a low-cost code signing certificate could lead to security issues, this is not the case. If you want to make sure your software is secure, you should stick to safety procedures.