How to Get an Individual Code Signing Certificate

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Are you an individual developer and not part of a larger organization? No worries, there’s an individual code signing solution for you

As a loan wolf developer, you at times may feel like an outsider. You don’t have a major brand name to back your software, and you may wonder how you can get browsers to trust your content. The solution? An individual code signing certificate.

Now, you may be thinking that we’re full of mud because there is no such thing as a code signing certificate for an individual developer — but that’s where you’re wrong. There is an individual code signing certificate, and you don’t have to be a part of a company or organization to get it.

Let’s talk a bit about what it is and how you can get one.

What an Individual Code Signing Certificate Is and What It Does

Before we can proceed any further, it’s important to note that an individual code signing certificate actually is the same thing as a regular code signing certificate for organizations and businesses. Really. An individual code singing certificate is a regular code signing certificate — they both sign executables and scripts using public key infrastructure (PKI).

So, there’s no real difference between the certificates themselves — the only difference anywhere lies in the vetting process. Verification of an individual and a company is different.

How You Can Use a Code Signing Certificate

Graphic: avoid unknown publisher errors with an individual code signing certificateA code signing certificate for an individual developer is useful in several different ways. First and foremost, it enables you to assert identity with the browsers through the use of a digital signature. We won’t get into all the technical mumbo jumbo on what a digital signature is and how it works as we’ve already covered it in another article, but what you need to know here and now is that it’s a good thing for you and your end users.  Why? Because individual code signing helps you to:

  • Eliminate pesky “unverified/unknown user” Microsoft SmartScreen warnings;
  • Help users know whether your software is genuine or has been tampered with in any way; and
  • Protects your code via a cryptographic hash to validate the authenticity and integrity of your executables and scripts.

How to Get a Code Signing Certificate for an Individual Developer

Much like any other code signing certificate (or SSL certificate for that matter), you can purchase it directly from a certificate authority (CA) or from a reputable and trusted vendor. At this time, only Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA) issues individual code signing certificates. The good news for you is that is a platinum partner of the leading certificate authorities. As such, we can get you the best deals on individual code signing solutions. Another bonus: You can get all the support and assistance you need through our helpful support team.

To get an individual code signing certificate, you must:

  1. Purchase your code signing certificate.
  2. Satisfy the identity validation/authentication requirements. This process helps you prove that you are who you say you are to the issuing CA. This will likely require notarized verification of your identity by a notary or attorney, provide forms of identification, and other financial and non-financial documentation.
  3. Generate and install your code signing certificate. Once the verification process is complete, you’ll need to install your certificate on your keystore or keychain (depending on if you’re a Windows or Mac user).
  4. Sign your code. You’re basically good to go at this point. You can use your code signing certificate and enjoy it for quite a while. After all, code signing certificates have a validity period of four years! And no worries, any signatures on code that you signed while the certificate is active will stay valid even after your certificate expires. Pretty cool, huh?

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