What is Code Signing?
When customers buy software in a store, the source of that software is obvious. Customers can tell who published the software, and they can see whether the package has been opened. These factors enable customers to make decisions about what software to purchase and how much to “trust” those products. Customers who download digitally signed Active X controls, dynamic link libraries, .cab files or HTML content from your site can be confident that code really comes from you and hasn’t been altered or corrupted since it was created and signed. Digital IDs serve as virtual “shrinkwrap” for your software: after you sign your code, if it is tampered with in any way, the digital signature will break and alert customers that the code has been altered and is not trustworthy. The solution to these issues is Microsoft’s Authenticode technology coupled with Digital IDs from Comodo. Code Signing, through the use of digital signatures, enables software developers to include information about themselves and their code with their software. When customers download software signed with a Code Signing Certificate issued by Comodo Certificate Authority, they can be assured of:
Content Source: End users can confirm that the software really comes from the publisher who signed it.
Content Integrity: End users can verify that the software has not been altered or corrupted since it was signed.
Users benefit from this software accountability because they know who published the software and that the code hasn’t been tampered with. In the extreme case that software performs unacceptable or malicious activity on their computers; users can also pursue recourse against the publisher. This accountability and potential recourse serve as a strong deterrent to the distribution of harmful code. Developers and Web masters benefit from these Certificates because it builds trust in their names and makes it more difficult to falsify their products. By signing their code, developers build a trusted relationship with users, who learn they can download software signed by that publisher or Web site with confidence. With Code Signing Certificates, developers can create exciting Web pages using signed ActiveXT controls, or other signed executables. And users can make educated decisions about what software they want to download, knowing who published the software and that it hasn’t been tampered with.
Code signing is widely used to protect software that is distributed over the Internet. Code signing does not alter it; it simply appends a digital signature to the executable code itself. Use digital signatures when you want to distribute data, and you want to assure recipients that it does indeed come from you. This digital signature provides enough information to authenticate the signer as well as to ensure that a code is not been subsequently modified. Code signing digital IDs (or certificates) allow content publishers including software developers to sign their content that includes software objects, macros, device drivers, firmware images, virus updates, configuration files or other types of content for secure delivery over the Internet.
Digital signatures are created using a public-key signature algorithm such as the RSA public-key cipher. A public-key algorithm actually uses two different keys: the public key and the private key (called a key pair). The private key is known only to its owner, while the public key can be available to anyone. Public-key algorithms are designed so that if one key is used for encryption, the other is necessary for decryption. Furthermore, the decryption key cannot be reasonably calculated from the encryption key. In digital signatures, the private key generates the signature, and the corresponding public key validates it.
Who Needs a Code Signing Digital ID?
Any software publisher planning to distribute code or content over the Internet or through an extranet risks impersonation and tampering. Comodo Code Signing Digital IDs for Microsoft Authenticode protect against these hazards. Comodo offers Digital IDs designed for commercial software developers: companies and other organizations that publish software. This class of Digital ID provides assurance regarding an organization’s identity and legitimacy, much like a business license, and is designed to represent the level of assurance provided today by retail channels for software.
Features & Benefits of Code Signing Digital ID
They protect and reassure your customers by assuring them that the integrity of the code they download from your site is intact – that it has not been tampered with or altered in transit.
After downloading, end users can be sure that the code they obtained really came from you, helping you preserve your business reputation and intellectual property. Digital ID’s allow customers to identify the author of digitally signed code and contact them should an issue or query arise.
Seamless Integration with Industry-Standard Technology
Most browsers will not accept action commands from downloaded code unless the code is signed by a certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority,such as Comodo.
Ease of Use
Code signing certificates are easy to use in conjunction with the vendor software tools that developers use to create products, macro’s and objects.
How does Authenticode work with Comodo Digital IDs?
Authenticode relies on industry standard cryptography techniques such as X.509 v3 certificates and PKCS #7 and #10 signature standards. These are well-proven cryptography protocols, which ensure a robust implementation of code signing technology. Authenticode uses digital signature technology to assure users of the origin and integrity of software. In a digital signature, the private key generates the signature, and the corresponding public key validates it. To save time, the Authenticode protocols use a cryptographic digest, which is a one-way hash of the document.