7 Brand Code Signing Best Practices According To Experts
In this article, we present you seven brand code signing best practices devised by experts. This will help you to keep your software systems secure and make your signing job hassle-free.
Why Code Signing Is Important?
Most of the available software today is online and downloadable. Open-source software is open to collaboration for thousands of developers. Thus, there is a greater risk of tampering with the code. Code signing is a technique that verifies the legitimacy of your software applications. Additionally, it also maintains the authenticity of the software author, which is important for maintaining the brand.
The Certificate Authority Security Council (CASC) has devised seven best practices in brand code signing which is given below.
Restricted Access to Private Keys
When the Certificate Authority (CA) issues a code signing certificate, it generates a private key and a public key. Private keys must be safely kept by the software author as its theft can directly allow hackers to tamper with your software. Implement physical security controls to minimize breaches and distribute them only to authorized personnel.
Protection of Private Keys With Cryptographic Hardware Products
Store the private keys in a safe hardware storage device and lock it in a secured location. Furthermore, only authorized personnel should have access to the location as well as hardware. Moreover, prevent any unauthorized access to the contents of the storage device with a strong password. CASC recommends the use of a FIPS 140 Level 2- certified product or its better alternatives.
Time-stamping of Your Code
The Time-stamping of your code is important because it allows your code to be verified even after the certificate expires or in case of revocation.
Understanding the Difference Between a Test-signing Certificate and a Release-signing Certificate
According to CASC, test-signing keys and certificates require less security access controls. Hence, you can self-sign or use an internal test CA for test-signing purposes. However, you must link your test signing certificates to a separate root certificate than the one used to sign your publicly released code. This is because test-signing certificates are only intended for use in test environments whereas publicly released code is used by millions of users throughout the world.
Authentication of the Code That Needs to Be Signed
Your code must be strongly authenticated before it is submitted for signing. Furthermore, you must implement a code signing submission and approval process. This is because you don’t want to sign unapproved and malicious code. Additionally, CASC recommends logging all code signing activities for auditing and incident response purposes.
Scanning for Viruses Before Signing
Code signing verifies the legitimacy and the authenticity of the software author. However, it cannot guarantee that the original code deployed is safe. It can only detect tampering and alteration after the signed code has been deployed. Thus, you must be careful while inserting pieces of code from third-party sources. CASC recommends scanning your code for viruses and malware before releasing it.
Restriction of Key Overuse
In case of a security breach, you might have to revoke your code signing certificate. This will allow a User Account Control dialogue box to appear that will notify the user about the flaw. Furthermore, if more good code is added to the software after the revocation, it will impact the good code as well. CASC recommends changing keys frequently and distributing risk with multiple certificates to avoid this conflict.
Hence, from this article, we have learned the seven best practices in code signing devised by experts and adopted by major industries all over the world.
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