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Code signing

Code signing definition

Code signing refers to the process of digitally signing software in order to verify its authenticity and integrity. It involves using cryptography to associate a digital signature with a piece of code, confirming that it has not been tampered with since it was signed.

See also: code management, copy protection, digital certificate, digital watermarking

Where is code signing used?

  • Software updates. Operating system and application updates and patches must be digitally signed to ensure that the source of the update is genuine.
  • Application distribution. Whether you download a piece of software from the developer or a third-party source, the software is signed to prevent tampering with software and reassure users of its authenticity.
  • Device drivers. Hardware updates have elevated privileges and in the wrong hands, could potentially be harmful to the system. Code signing helps ensure that only trusted drivers from verified sources are installed on your system.
  • Business software authenticity. In enterprise environments, code signing is used to establish trust in software deployed across the organization.

Benefits of code signing:

  • Authenticity. In simple terms, it helps verify the authenticity of the code and ensure the user that the software hasn’t been tampered with.
  • Integrity. Code signing can help detect unauthorized modifications and help protect the integrity of the code.
  • Trustworthiness. Organizations and users can rely on the digital signature as an indicator of trust, knowing that the code comes from a trusted source.