Nobody wants to download something that will affect their computer negatively and the browsers are well aware of this. That's why they've gone out of their way to generate warning messages anytime someone attempts to download something that may not come from a trustworthy source.
To software developers and engineers, these messages can mean the difference between someone adopting your software and someone cancelling the download. And those cancellations are bad for business—bad for the bottom line. So how do you become a trustworthy source? How do you prevent those messages and alerts from popping up before someone attempts to download YOUR software or code?
What is Code Signing?
Code Signing certificates allow you to sign a piece of software or code and essentially prove where it came from and that it's trustworthy. This is done with a unique digital signature, which tells the browser who made the software and that it hasn't been tampered with by a third party.
Think of code signing as a sort of digital shrink wrap. When you're at an electronics retailer or some kind of megastore and you pick up a CD, a DVD or some kind of software you'll notice it comes wrapped in clear plastic. This indicates to you that the item you're holding hasn't been tampered with since it left the manufacturer. This in turn gives you confidence that the product you're buying is safe and comes as intended.
Code Signing certificates does the same thing. When someone attempts to download your software, it allows them to check on who developed it – this is the Publisher - and assures them that it hasn't been tampered with since distribution. It gives them confidence that they're downloading what you intended. It also lets them know who you are.
These are both crucial to your success as a software developer.
There are two kinds of Code Signing Certificates: Organizational Code Signing Certificates, which are just referred to as Code Signing Certificates, and Individual Code Signing Certificates, which verify the identity of individual developers who do not work for a larger organization or company.
How do I get Verified?
The two different Code Signing certificates come with different processes for verification. But one thing remains the same, the Certificate Authority (CA) that is issuing the certificate is going to want to make sure that you are legitimate. This allows them to authenticate you. Keep in mind, by issuing this certificate – one that will be recognized by browsers and will disable those annoying alerts and warnings, thus making you appear trusted – the CA is essentially vouching for your legitimacy. This means it's in their best interest to make sure you check out and that you ARE actually legitimate.
That's why there's a fairly extensive process in place to validate you or your organization.
But don't worry. If you are indeed a legitimate developer or company, this process isn't painful. And it can be finished rather quickly. Just keep in mind, it's in place to weed out the imitators and to protect consumers.
There are four requirements in organization validation and we'll cover them all in-depth on subsequent pages. The requirements are:
Individual Validation is a little different because you're not proving that you're a company, rather you're a single developer that must prove your identity to the CA. The way this is accomplished varies slightly between Certificate Authorities. We'll go into how in each individual section, but for now, just know there are essentially three different requirements.
How these requirements are satisfied differs depending on whether you're going through Comodo or the Symantec brands. For instance, Symantec doesn't do a telephone verification step while Comodo does. But both are essentially trying to verify the same thing: that you are a legitimate individual software developer and that your code can be trusted.
So what are you waiting for? This process is straightforward and an absolute must for any company or individual who develops software. Plus, you have us in your corner to help you every step of the way.
So let's get started!