Posted in:

Best Practices to Secure Your Code Signing Process

As technology progresses, the dark web has also been increasing at a scorching pace. It has led to a loss of trust due to data breaches. There is a need to protect your code by using cheap code signing certificates. As the use of mobile devices increases, so has the propagation of malware. The developers must ensure that only the authentic code reaches the app stores. When the code is put up on the app stores, there is a considerable increase in the risk of it being tampered with. Studies show that at least 93% of attempted mobile transactions were fraudulent. It is critical to inform the mobile users that the apps and the underlying code associated with it are authentic. But how can you do it? Yes, developers must take the help of a code signing certificate, so ensure that the code is genuine.


The Use of a Code Signing Certificate

The low-security levels are one reason you will find an increase in the number of fraudulent transactions over the internet. The inadvertent use of malware is also another means used by hackers to gain control of their devices. Software and web app developers must instill a sense of trust in the minds of their audience. It is the reason that you will find the use of code signing certificates has increased these days. A certificate from a renowned Certificate Authority (CA) or Trusted Code Signing Provider will ensure that the underlying code has not been tampered with by any unauthorized user.

We will discuss in brief the benefits of using these certificates.

They contain proof about the integrity of the underlying code. It prevents any illegal authorization and distribution of the piece of code. In case the hash used to sign the application does not match with the hash on the application downloaded, the user will be informed immediately.

These certificates minimize errors in installation and security warnings. The certificate helps the users to understand that the code is authentic and comes from the original developers. Once the code is signed, it is also confirmed that the code has not been tampered with.

Given that entities need to work on APIs and portals and require a dedicated code signing process to ensure that the code used does not tamper. It allows project managers to work faster on mission-critical projects and reduce security warnings.

Best practices deployed to avoid a breach

Centrally secure all private keys

For all such security certificates, it becomes critical to protect your private keys. The private key must not be strewn across your servers; instead, it must be stored by your IT team in a secure location and ideally encrypted to prevent any unauthorized person from accessing it. However, you may need to allow restricted access to the developers who may be across different locations. You may also need to store it in different hardware locations. Wherever you keep, it must be in a centralized location, secure and encrypted.  

Keep it accessible for the development team

The use of a code signing certificate is to have a robust programming environment. It is not to make the life of the developers difficult. The authorized person must not find it difficult to access the certificate for their official needs. They must have a secure delivery system that will allow them to access the certificate easily when needed. The developers must not be presented that require them to undertake elaborate processes that would otherwise slow down their software build process.

Better accessibility to authorized personnel

Your software developers may be in different cities across the globe. It would help if you made the private key available to the key people around the world. It is also crucial that you segregate the ones that are for external or internal use. It is also essential to show various information like the validity and the ones used and the corresponding Certificate Authority who has provided the certificate. The other details, like when it was signed and the machine, are also critical for developers to decide which certificate to use. 

Using timestamp for the code

Developers must ensure that they provide only the authentic piece of code. They can provide a timestamp once the code has been certified to be safe for use. Once the timestamp has been provided, the piece of code can be used even when the certificate has expired. The signatures that are issued before the certificate is revoked continue to be valid.

Have robust access policies

What can happen is that hackers may access the system and disturb the software development process’s normal function. Like all access to IT processes, the access to the code signing certificates must be controlled. There must be a policy to log all access by authorized personnel. You may have an internal mechanism to ensure that only authenticated developers have access to the primary key. The authorized people with the right key can only sign the code.

Ensure compliance

Your organization has a healthy code signing process to stay compliant with internal IT policies. It will help you to remain compliant with any software regulations that the country may have. You must have a unique and healthy process across the organization with proper controls at relevant places to ensure that only the authorized personnel can sign off on the codes. This way, it will help you adhere to the internal software approvals process and ensure compliance to remain trustworthy to the organization’s stakeholders.

Audit regularly

You must have a proper monitoring mechanism to send alerts to the right people in the organization when the certificates come up for renewal. The status must be monitored to ensure they are renewed at the right time. The usage of the keys must also be audited to prevent any unauthorized access.


The software development team must use a code signing certificate to authenticate that the code is genuine and has not been tampered with by any hacker. It infuses a sense of trust in the minds of the user. It is also essential that organizations adhere to stringent best practices related to these certificates’ safe use. We have discussed some of them in this article and expect them to be valuable to the readers.