Developers add tremendous amounts of effort and energy to every software or mobile app. For instance, a successful mobile app requires long working hours, several coding lines, and many edits. But that is just the recipe for making an android app.
You will be surprised to learn that, in mobile app development, mistakes are part of the game, and sometimes android developers are required to start off all over again.
With so many things at stake, it is of great essence to ensure that the product is protected against all sorts of app-related vulnerabilities. And this is where the code signing certificate comes into play.
The certificate helps android developers to mitigate app duplications or malicious code injections. The certificate helps to protect the code against unnecessary and malicious edits. With the certificate, app users know that the code has not been tampered with since it was published.
Are you still wondering what a code signing certificate is and why it is an indispensable ingredient for every app developer? Wonder no more. This article will take you through all the vital details you need to know about code signing certificates and their importance.
Defining Code Signing Certificates
To understand what code signing certificates are, you first need to understand the working of digital certificates and certificate authorities. Like all digital certificates, code signing certificates are also issued by these certificate authorities.
As a developer, you have plenty of CA options at your disposal. Thawte, Comodo, and GlobalSign are some of the celebrated certificate authorities to consider for your code signing certificate needs.
These certificates apply cryptographic hashes to digital sign mobile apps and executables, thereby validating the codes’ authenticity and ensuring the code has not been altered since it was signed.
The primary motive of the code signing certificate is to make app users aware that the application they are using is genuine and free from any malicious elements. Android developers must ensure they buy and use code signing certificates to boost their mobile app security.
Why Mobile Applications Need Code Signing Certificates
This section will delve into the nitty-gritty details of why every mobile app needs to have code signing certificates and why developers should be willing to attach the certificates to every product.
#1. Code Signing Certificate for preventing Malware Infiltration
Statista has observed an increase in the number of newly-developed malware applications and projects that number to grow further in the coming years.
Malware attackers have identified android as one of their primary targets. Mobile applications are no longer safe. Attackers usually insert attack codes in legitimate mobile apps.
The modified code is then introduced in the market to carry out all sorts of harm to unsuspecting victims. It is almost impossible for users to differentiate between a fake mobile app from a genuine one.
The consequence of this is always devastating. App users can lose their vital and sensitive app data. Hackers could also use compromised mobile apps to send unwanted content or advertisement to users. Worse is when attackers use the compromised mobile application to send premium-rate messages at the users’ cost.
To deal with malware creators and ensure secure mobile applications, app developers need to employ the code signing certificate. The certificate guarantees that the app’s integrity is upheld to the core and no room is left for malware creators.
#2. Establishing Authority in App Stores
Due to the overwhelming surge in the threats that target mobile applications, app store service providers such as Google do not allow apps to run without an authentic code signing certificate.
If developers want their app or product to feature in the Google play store, they will have to purchase and install the certificate. As such, the code certificates provide ground and space on app stores for developers to market their applications.
#3. Establishing Code Integrity
One of the fundamental purposes of the code signing certificate is to provide proof that the mobile application is authentic in the eyes of the end-users. An application signed with the certificate tells users that it is genuine and that it has not been tampered with or altered whatsoever since the code was signed.
If developers want to see success in the competitive app development industry, they need to prove their authenticity, and the code signing certificate is an easy and proven tactic for proving code and app authenticity.
Apps that lack the certificate will be marked with “unknown publisher” warnings. End users are inclined not to trust such apps. Trust is of great essence and one of the determinants of success in this highly competitive industry, which is why android developers should consider employing code signing certificates.
#4. Increased Revenue and App Distribution
Convinced that the mobile app they are about to download is genuine, free from malware infections, and from a genuine developer, app users will be more inclined towards downloading such an application.
In the end, the application will enjoy excellent penetration among its target users, and this will lead to increased revenues. The elevated rate of app distribution among its target users means an increase in revenue. As such, although not directly, the code signing certificates help to boost app revenues.
#5. Seamless User Experience
A mobile app that holds high integrity and security standards provides a seamless user experience. App users do not have to worry about getting affected by malware or any other security threat.
App users are not bothered by endless warnings and errors when downloading and using the mobile app. This way, app users enjoy a seamless and flawless experience with the app.
Many android app developers become concerned about the impact of an expired code signing certificate and whether their mobile app will remain credible after the expiry.
First, it is crucial to understand that different code signing certificates have lifespans (ranging from one to three years). However, with the timestamping feature, users do not have to worry about the credibility of their mobile applications even after the elapse of the code certificate.
All that matters is to sign the code while the certificate remains valid. Thereafter, you can enjoy all the app security benefits even after the certificate has expired.
Which Code Signing Certificate Is Good for Your App?
Developers have two code signing certificate options at their disposal- a regular code signing certificate and an EV code signing certificate. Extended validation (commonly shortened as EV) certificate entails extensive publisher vetting by the certificate authority. Moreover, with EV code signing certificates, private keys are stored externally to protect them from unauthorized use.
Regular code signing certificates are issued after the certificate authority performs a standard publisher vetting. Regular code signing certificates are issued quickly, and the developer stores the private keys locally.
EV Code signing certificates are the most preferred option because they come with many benefits, such as enhanced user trust, greater reputation, and advanced safety with two-factor authentication.
Cyber attackers have now shifted their attention to mobile applications. Following the many cybersecurity threats that target mobile applications, there is a dire need to secure these applications from threats.
One of the surefire ways to protect mobile apps from security threats is by using a code signing certificate. You will be pleased to learn that code signing certificates do more than just offer app security. This article has explained what a code signing certificate is and why every android developer needs to use it.