Microsoft Authenticode Signing Certificate Guide

PUBLISH DATE: 03 Jun 2021

Microsoft Authenticode Signing Certificate is exclusively created to enable users to know the identity of the developers who have created the code and that, they are the ones running the process. Especially, this works wonders for the verification of the code that is downloaded or running online and to find out that it has not been tampered with after being used. For eg., a digitally signed program when maliciously tampered with and redistributed online will present in front of the users with a warning message before being run. 

Generally, the code signing is highly dependent on the tested and proven technologies that are made from Public Key Cryptography and digital certificates. Heti Technosoft is a trusted authority that helps assure your identity and runs validation procedures safely and successfully. Also, we have easy-to-use tools that help you obtain certificates created and installed. Even Microsoft’s several code signing utilities become easy to use and access with our tools and resources.

Microsoft Authenticode Signing Certificate Workflow

Generally, two main pillars of Authenticode signing certificates must be considered. They are Identity Verification and Integrity Assurance.

 

Identity Verification

Reputed and well-known certificate authorities who have trusted market credibility can verify the identity of the applicants before signing the code signing certificate. In this manner, the users will remain to rest assured about the identity of the developers/publishers and the whereabouts of the software.

The verification process involves below major steps:

 

  • 1. Certificate authorities will verify the credentials of the applicant such as their business registration details, contact numbers, and address
  • 2. Individual developers need to compulsorily provide a notarized form to validate their government-issued photo identification along with a phone call verification.

While the users choose to download the software, application, device driver, executable, or scripts without a code signing certificate, the browser will display the publisher’s name as ‘Unknown’. Also, it will prompt a security warning saying, “Do you want this app from an unknown publisher to make changes to your device?”

When your software gets signed by an authentic code signing certificate, the publisher’s name shall appear in the dialogue box. The users would no more see any security warning as described above.

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Ensuring Integrity

Authenticode permits the software publishers to put a digital signature on the code only once the publisher completes the final version of the code. 

Microsoft Authenticode Signing Certificate carefully hashes the file in combination with the digital signature of the publisher. To hash means performing data condensation by using mathematical functions/algorithms. It is similar to sealing a product physically. Hash values are exclusively different at every time. If the software is modified at the slightest level, the hash value shall change.

If hackers plan to attack the system and wish to modify the code or insert any malware/virus, the hash value of the digital signature changes. Unidentified software, scripts, and applications are risky and dangerous. They can corrupt your entire system, cell phone, or even your company network. The Authenticode technology just as that with Microsoft will save the users from downloading infectious software but also gives an alert to the publisher to keep watch on the damage control before it gets too late.

 

A Guide on How to Sign Microsoft Authenticode Signing Certificate

Code signing certificates are used to sign the code digitally or the content is developed Windows Programs. Once you receive the trusted certificate and have saved the PFX version file, follow the step-by-step instructions as mentioned below to understand the signing process on a Windows machine running version. The below steps will clarify all the above points:

1. Run the SDK command prompt

Run the SDK command prompt to open the Microsoft Digital Signing Wizard. For this, you must already have .NET Framework SDK installed.

2. Type Signtool.exe sign wizard

Type signtool.exe sign wizardCertificatemost quicklyCertificatend click Enter in the command prompt

3. Click Next

Click Next in the Digital Signature Wizard Window

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4. Browse to your file

Browse to your File and then click Next

5. Click Typical

For choosing the signing options, click Typical

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6. Use Select from Store

Use the Select from Store… button to browse to your certificate and then choose your trusted Code Signing Certiifcate and click Next

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7. Enter a description

Enter a description or web location

8. Select “Next” twice

Select Next twice, through Timestamping and then Finish.

Here, your project is successfully signed and completed. 

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