Are SSL Certificates and Code Signing Certificates the Same?
The response is NO. An SSL certificate and a code signing certificate, on the other hand, have certain similarities:
- The X.509 digital certificate used for cybersecurity is both a code signing certificate and an SSL certificate.
- Public Key Infrastructure is used by all of them (PKI).
- In the absence of a code signing certificate and an SSL certificate, users can see a security alert.
- Before granting either certificate, the certificate authority verifies the applicant’s qualifications.
- All of these certificates have the primary objective of stopping end users from becoming victims of cybercrime.
The similarities, however, stop there!
Code Signing Certificate vs. SSL Certificate
These are the main differences between an SSL certificate and a Code Signing Certificate.
To protect a website, an SSL certificate is used. It secures the data transmitted between the browser of a user and the server of a website. An SSL certificate is installed by the owner/webmaster of a website.
Downloadable software such as system drivers, programmes, executables, and scripts are protected by a code signing certificate. Software developers and publishers buy and use a code signing certificate.
You need both a code signing certificate and an SSL certificate if you are in the business of creating downloadable software and you own a website for your software.
To allow encrypted data transfer, SSL certificates enable a secure connection between a browser and a server. When you instal an SSL certificate on your website, the data website visitors send to you (names, email addresses, passwords, bank information, credit card numbers, CVV, and so on) is encrypted using strong 256-bit symmetric encryption. So, every man-in-the-middle (read hacker) is unable to read, interpret or misuse the details of your customers.
The programme itself is not encrypted by code signing certificates: they hash and sign the whole software instead. This is similar to applying a digital signature to the entire code. If someone changes the code in the centre, the hashing value changes, signalling to the machine of the user that the programme is different from the original one; so executing it could be unsafe. This is how a user attempting to download the software will avoid malicious software from being installed and becoming a victim of a cybercrime.
In addition, the maker of the app will be alerted to their software tampering before it’s too late. So they can publish at the earliest stage a new file to monitor the damage.
In both cases, the Certificate Authority (CA) verifies the identity of the applicant before granting the certificate (an SSL certificate or a code signing certificate).
The CA verifies that you own the domain for which you have applied for an SSL certificate with an SSL certificate. The CA verifies this by sending an email with a verification connection to a specific email address, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by asking you to upload a verification file to a specific location on your server. You must also include your business identification number or ID, registration date, full legal business name, physical address, phone number, and other information to the CA if you have selected an organisation validation (OV) or extended validation (EV) SSL certificate. They can use an official government database and/or third-party online listings to check your legal business registration. You will need to have a letter of legal opinion that is signed by an active lawyer or accountant in some cases.
The CA will check your business registration information, address, and telephone number for code signing certificates. For individual developers, the CA allows you to present a notarized document that validates your photo identity provided by the government and then completes a verification of the phone call.
The CA links the certificate’s public/private keys to the website URL, allows HTTPS (instead of HTTP), and shows a padlock sign in the address bar until the applicant’s identity has been confirmed. You can see the name of the website for which the SSL has been issued, the name of the issuing authority, and the issuance and expiry dates by clicking on the padlock sign and heading to ‘certificate.’ In addition to the padlock symbol, an EV SSL certificate shows the company’s legal name in the address bar. This identity connection means that your website users are dealing with the same business you claim to be.
After you’ve completed the vetting process, you can use a code signing certificate to add a special, checked digital signature to the software or code you’ve produced. It gives the buyers a chance to search the original publisher.
Instead of ‘unknown’ publishers, if the customers can see the name of the confirmed publishers on the software they are downloading, it gives them faith that the product they are downloading is secure and comes from the intended publisher.
Cost Of SSL & Code Signing Certificates
A simple domain validated (DV) SSL certificate starts at $10/year, while validated (OV) SSL starts at $48/year for a single domain organisation and $88/year for extended validated (EV) SSL.
A wildcard SSL certificate that secures an infinite number of subdomains costs $85 per year. Multidomain SSL begins at $29/year to protect several domain names under a single certificate.
The simple signing certificate for the OV Code starts at $80/year, and the signing certificate for the Extended Validated (EV) Code starts at $300/year.
A warranty extends on every paid SSL certificate. In the unlikely case that encryption fails, the CA will compensate the claimant for damages up to the warranty limit. As a consequence, it acts similarly to liability insurance. Depending on the type of SSL certificate that you are receiving, the warranty varies from $10,000 to $1,750,000. When selecting the right SSL certificate for your company, keep the warranty amount in mind.
Usually, code signing certificates do not offer a warranty.
If your SSL certificate does not get renewed before it expires, users will see a security warning page like the one below any time they try to open your website.
Users can see a security alert when a Code Signing Certificate expires. However, if the publisher uses time stamping, the name of the checked publisher would always be there. The timestamp is a digital signature that you can apply to your applications with the aid of your private key. Even after the Code signing certificates expire, this digital signature will remain valid. A timestamp means that the software was signed by the original publisher when the certificate was valid, meaning that the software’s publisher is the same as it was at the time of release.
The Extra Benefits of EV Validation
SSL Certificate: When you receive an Extended Validated (EV) SSL Certificate, the legal registered name of your company is shown before your domain name in the address bar. It provides the customers with the highest degree of confidence. Plus, a dynamic site seal will also be awarded to you. It’s a tiny picture that is clickable and posted on each encrypted webpage. Users will see real-time specifics of the SSL certificate, such as the issuer, physical address, and expiry date, when they click on the seal. A timestamp is a confidence visual measure.
Certificate of EV Code signing: You will receive a USB external hardware device containing your private key. Now, in all ways, physically and digitally, the private key is secured. Two-factor authentication is allowed as a result of this. With your EV Code signing badge, only those who have the physical device can sign the code. It offers strong authentication and increased security. Plus, EV code signing certificates are trusted by Microsoft SmartScreen. Microsoft SmartScreen takes credibility scores into account, and for new developers, acquiring enough reputation to prevent their apps being flagged as potentially questionable can be challenging. So, for new developers, the only way to prove their trustworthiness to users is by signing an EV Code certificate.