Why Do Developers Need Code Signing Certificate to Secure Mobile Applications?

The mobile application industry is thriving day after day. The success of this industry is majorly necessitated by the increase in smartphone usage. Statista estimates that there will be close to 7.6 billion smartphone users by 2027. Mobile applications enhance android functionality and come with many benefits to the user. Developers should take advantage of this situation to create applications that satisfy diversified users’ needs. 

Mobile application developers should note that a tremendous number of resources, energy, time, and effort are needed to develop an application successfully. Creating a successful mobile app takes long hours of unending coding lines, several coffee cups, and countless edits. But all that could go to waste if you ignore the security factor of the application. App developers need to protect the application’s integrity and security. And this is where the code signing certificate comes into sight. This article explains what the certificate is and why developers need it for their app development projects. 

What Is a Code Signing Certificate?

A code signing certificate is a special digital certificate that is issued by a valid certificate authority to individual app developers or development agencies and whose primary role is to affirm the identity and ownership of the application. The certificate will thus help to assure the developer that the product will be transferred and downloaded by the end-users without the risks of modifications or any other form of a security breach. It also helps the users confirm the application’s origin and whether it is genuine or altered. 

The process by which the developer signs the code before releasing the application for public download is referred to as Code Signing. Code signing is performed when the developer places a digital signature onto the executable. 

How does The Certificate work? 

Like most digital certificates, this certificate is issued by a certificate authority. The CAs apply public key infrastructure and authentication practices during code signing. The following is the procedure followed during this process. 

  • The app developer uses a public key to add a digital signature to the application code.
  • The end-user will have to use the public key to decode the signature attached during code signing. The application will use this key to decode the signature.
  • The application will then use the root certificate to confirm the validity of the signature attached. 
  • The system will then apply a hash function during app download for code signing and for matching the code with the root certificate. If they match, the download will proceed. If they fail to match, the download will be interrupted. 

This is the standard code signing procedure that every app developer, agency, or app owner should take advantage of to ensure that their applications are secure. 

Conclusion

These special types of digital certificates have gained a lot of popularity because of their unique ability to protect mobile applications against unwanted third party modification. Operating systems also continue to put much weight on the essence of this certificate. 

If you are a developer or publisher then, you can easily find cheap code signing certificate in the market. Different CA offer Code Sign like Comodo, DigiCert, Sectigo, etc. But why all the hype surrounding this certificate? To know why it is so popular, let us have a brief discussion about the benefits of this certificate.

  1. It Acts as A Proof of Legitimacy

Proving the legitimacy of a code is the primary objective of this certificate. The certificate assures your customers that the code and application are from a legitimate and genuine source. The certificate will shrink-wrap your application, thereby preventing it from being altered by unintended parties. As such, the customers will have a certain level of trust and confidence when downloading your application. 

With the surging cases of cybersecurity threats that we are witnessing today, it is in the best interest of your app and your users to protect it using the certificate. We have already seen cases of mobile app doubles posing as legitimate applications but with the ill-motive of stealing from the unsuspecting victims. Users are afraid of being victims of these scams, which is why they will need proof of legitimacy and a sign that your mobile application is safe for download and that it has not been altered since it was published. There is no better way of giving them this assurance than using the code signing certificate. 

  1. It Increases Revenue and App Distribution

As mobile applications and their usage continue to increase day after day, so do the vulnerabilities related to mobile apps. The complimentary trends have set the code signing certificate as one of the essential elements in application security. Users are not ready to jeopardize their privacy, data, or security by using applications from unknown sources. 

It is for this reason that users will want to establish the authenticity of the mobile application before they download and install it on their devices. To do so, they will check if the application has a code signing certificate. It means that if your app lacks the certificate, users will not download it, which can negatively impact your revenues and app distribution. To increase app downloads and revenue that you will accrue when users use the application, you must first acquire the certificate. It is an investment worth making. 

  1. Safe And Secure User Experience

Developers should strive to create only those apps that bring optimum value to the users. Users need to have a seamless experience, free from hitches caused by hackers and data losses. To do so, you will need to develop and distribute an application with maximum integrity, which is why you need a code signing certificate. The certificate exhibits security features and protects users from risks associated with illegitimate applications. 

  1. It Helps to Reduce Security Warnings 

By relying on a trusted certificate authority, code signing helps to reduce security warnings. Most certificates from reputable certificate authorities are usually automatically accepted for download. It is rare to have security warnings interrupt app functionality in such cases. Where such warnings appear, it is most likely because of a recommendation of trusting the code. Users do not want to be irritated by numerous security warnings, which is why you must sign your code before releasing the application for public download. 

  1. Time-Stamping Benefits

Although optional, time stamping is a crucial element of the code-signing procedure. It allows the application or software to ascertain the validity of the attached signature, even after the expiration of the certificate. You should remember that this certificate operates like any other digital certificate and is tied to an expiration date. However, with time stamping, the signature attached to the code is preserved after the code expires. 

To Sum It Up

There is an increase in mobile app usage. The trend presents a golden opportunity for developers to develop applications to satisfy the increasing user needs. Mobile app development is a hectic procedure that requires a lot of dedication, time, and resources. Developers must be careful to ensure their app is protected from the increasing cybersecurity threats. This is why they need a code signing certificate. This article has explained what the certificate is and why developers need it to secure their mobile applications. 

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