Code Signing Vs SSL Certificate Explained by Experts
Code Signing Basics

Code Signing Certificate Vs SSL Certificate – Know Your Cyber Security

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Let’s understand Code Signing Certificate Vs SSL certificate differences in a quick way

Security is a prime aspect of our ever-advancing technology world. Any advancing society should have robust checks and balances in place to secure its cyberspace. The Code Signing Certificates and SSL Certificates are two sides of a coin. The two certificates are similar in the sense that both secure your user experience. SSL certs ensure safe and secure communications between browsers and web servers. The code signing certificates are used to authenticate script, codes, and software products.

Let us help you understand both the certificates comprehensively.

Code Signing Vs SSL certificates – A Quick Look

Take a look at a few key similarities between the two:

  • Provide security from cybercrime
  • These are X.509 digital certificates
  • Use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
  • If there is no certificate then users are notified with security warning
  • Certificates are validated by the Certificate Authority you choose

The following table highlights some of the key differences between the two, which are detailed in the later sections:

Code Signing Certificate SSL Certificate
Identifies software developers or publishers Secures websites
Used for downloadable software applications Used to secure hosted websites
Digitally signs the developers’ code Encrypts the data in transit between client and server
No warranty provided Paid SSL certificates offer warranty
Timestamping is possible Timestamping is not an option

Know your Code Signing Certificate

Code Signing  Certificates are vital for protection from cybercrimes and frauds. Software developers and publishers can hash their code and authenticate their products using a Code Signing Certificate. The software programs that are not code-signed are flagged as Unknow Sources by anti-virus programs. It is totally up to individuals to run such programs or services on their computers despite a warning notification. We recommend not using software programs with dodgy security.

If a software program is not code – signed, then there could be one of the following reasons, or more, to feel suspicious:

  • Possibility of a malicious program that can harm your systems
  • Vulnerable to hacking
  • Not recognized by authorized CAs

Code Signing Certificates are applied to software programs that assure users that the publishers of the software programs are reliable. In short, it is certified by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). The code signing certificates are issued after detailed verification and due-diligence the CAs. A code signing certificate ascertains that downloadable software, scripts, or executables are reliable and free from malicious programs.

Know your SSL Certificate

SSL certificates are lightweight cryptographic keys installed on the web servers. Often you would have noticed a padlock on your web browsers’ address bar, it is there because an SSL key is installed. In a typical tech drove business world, SSL is widely used to secure banking transactions, data exchanges, logins of your social media, and email accounts.

An SSL Certificate encrypts data on any website by using 256-bit encryption that guarantees that only those client servers that have public keys to decrypt the encryption can read the confidential. The public keys of these software programs enable users to perform decryption. SSL Certificates work within a domain, server, or host and also require a piece locational information.

Web browsers communicating with servers must identify their authenticity. The servers communicate using the public key. The certificate is then verified by the browser for it is validity, if it is valid and active, then it proceeds further with encrypted session that also has the public key. The server decrypts private keys and sends an acknowledgement, which is again encrypted, send back to the browser. This sequence continues and keeps the session active with a chain of encrypt-decrypt-encrypted handshakes.

SSL and Code Signing Certificate Verification Process

CAs provide every applicant with SSL and code signing certificates after thorough verification. SSL certificate verification requires CAs to complete domain validation before providing SSL certificates. For Domain Validated SSL certificate, the process is rather quick and can be concluded over a few emails by furnishing domain – related details. Acquiring Extended SSL or Organization Validated certificates is a lengthy process, one has to submit registration details along with physical address of the business.

For acquiring a code signing certificate, you should provide details such as business registration, contact information, the physical address of your business. If you are an individual seeking  code signing certifications, submit notarized documents that CAs require.

How Code Signing and SSL Expiration Works?

The maximum lifespan of SSL and code signing certificates is up to two years. Post expiration, both the certificate types notify users with ‘Unknow or Unverified Publisher’ messages. Although you can use time stamping, that provides you a certain level of trustworthiness. It provides time relevance and ensures signature validity.

How Much Does Code Signing and SSL Certificate Pricing Cost You?

Both the certificate types are available at varied prices. Domain validates SSL certificates start with around $9 for a year. Organization or Extended Validated certificates, pricing starts from $60 to $80. The Wildcard SSL certificates which secure unlimited sub-domains can start as low as $50.

The Comodo code signing certificates for individual or business level authentication start at around $59 for a year.

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