Security

Securing your private keys as best practice for code signing certificates

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Executive Summary

The efficacy of code signing as an authentication mechanism for software depends on the secure storage of code signing private keys used by software publishers. But a series of recent malware attacks using malicious programs signed with legitimate certificates shows that some developers don't take sufficient precaution. This paper describes recent security breaches and why they may have happened. It discusses best practice, especially for the Windows platform, which can help to safeguard the private keys associated with code signing certificates. Critical factors are: - Security of the developers' networks and the developers' systems themselves. - Minimal access to the private keys associated with genuine code signing certificates and the code signing process. - The use of hardened cryptographic hardware products to protect the private keys.

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