In today’s digital landscape, malicious code and software threats are a constant concern for organizations of all sizes. Cybercriminals use a variety of tactics to compromise networks and steal sensitive data. One of the most common ways they do this is by distributing malware and other malicious code under the guise of legitimate software.

Organizations must have a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes effective policies, procedures, and technology to prevent and detect attacks to safeguard themselves against these risks. Code-signing machine identities are one of the primary technologies used to secure networks against malicious code.

What are code-signing machine identities?

The process of code signing involves affixing a digital signature to executable code, scripts, and software in order to validate its authenticity and ensure its integrity. Code-signing machine identities are digital certificates that are used to sign code and are managed by code-sign in machines. Code-signing machine identities provide a way to verify the authenticity and integrity of code running on your network. By using digital certificates to sign software, you can ensure that the code has not been tampered with or modified since it was signed.

This helps to prevent malicious code from being introduced onto your network and reduces the risk of cyber-attacks. The digital certificates contain information about the code publisher, including their location and name, as well as a public key that is used to encrypt the signature. The private key, which is stored on the code signing machine, is used to sign the code. Digital certificates used for code signing are issued by a trusted third-party Certificate Authority (CA), and each certificate is unique and includes a distinct digital signature.

During the process of code signing, a signature is added to the code by creating a hash of the code, which is then encrypted with the private key of the code signing machine identity. Once this signature is added to the code, it can be verified by anyone who receives the code. To verify the signature, the recipient uses the public key included in the digital certificate to decrypt the signature and generates a hash of the code themselves. They can then compare the decrypted signature to their own hash of the code. If the hashes match, the recipient can be assured that the code has not been altered and was genuinely signed by the trusted source specified in the digital certificates.


Furthermore, code-signing machine identities facilitate the secure distribution and delivery of software updates, enabling organizations to deploy patches and updates to their networks confidently and quickly. This is crucial because it enables organizations to promptly address any security vulnerabilities or other problems that may arise in their software.

Using code-signing machine identities, organizations can guarantee the protection of their networks against malicious code, including viruses, spyware, and other forms of malware that could cause harm to their systems and data. Moreover, code-signing machine identities can assist organizations in meeting regulatory requirements for secure software development and distribution.

How do code-signing machine identities protect your network?

Code-signing machine identities provide several key benefits that help to protect networks from malicious code and software. These include

  • Verification of code authenticity and integrity

    Code-signing machine identities provide a secure and dependable mechanism for verifying the authenticity and integrity of code. Malware can infiltrate a network via several methods, such as phishing emails or exploiting vulnerabilities in software. When malware infects a network, it can lead to various issues like data theft, system downtime, and financial losses. However, when code is signed with a code signing machine identity, the recipient can be certain that the code hasn’t been altered during distribution and that it actually originated from the trusted source denoted in the digital certificate. This mitigates the risk of malicious code being circulated as authentic software, which could compromise the network’s security.

  • Secure distribution and delivery of software updates

    Additionally, code-signing machine identities furnish a secure means of delivering and distributing software updates. When organizations require the deployment of patches and updates to their networks, they can sign the updates using their code-signing machine identity and provide them to users. By doing so, they can guarantee that the updates are authentic and have not been tampered. Consequently, organizations can swiftly and confidently resolve security vulnerabilities and other software-related concerns without malicious code infiltrating their networks.

  • Compliance with regulatory requirements

    Lastly, code-signing machine identities can aid organizations in adhering to regulatory demands for secure software development and distribution. Several industries, including healthcare and finance, have stringent regulations regarding the security of software and the methods employed to create and distribute it. BY adopting of code-signing machine identities, organizations can showcase their commitment to securing their software and conforming to these regulations.

Some other benefits of code-signing machine identities are

  • Authentication

    By verifying that the code has been signed by a trusted source code signing machine identities enable authentication. This hinders the introduction of unauthorized or malevolent code into a network.

  • Integrity

    By validating that the code has not been altered since it was signed, code signing machine identities ensures the codes integrity. This guarantees that there is no malware or other malicious code included in the code.

  • Trust

    Code-signing machine identities help establish trust between software publishers and recipients. When a software publisher signs their code, they are essentially vouching for its authenticity and integrity. This helps recipients trust the code and reduces the risk of introducing malicious code onto the network.

  • Compliance

    Code signing machine identities can assist companies in adhering to industry standards and laws by proving that they have put in place the necessary security measures to safeguard their software.

  • User Experience

    Code signing machine identities can enhance the user experience by reducing security warnings and allowing for seamless installation and updates of software.

  • Brand Reputation

    By using code signing machine identities, organizations and developers can safeguard their brand reputation by demonstrating that their software is trustworthy and secure.


The possibility of harmful code and software is a constant worry for various enterprises in this digital age. Code-signing machine identities offer a crucial layer of defense against these dangers by enabling the safe and secure distribution and delivery of software updates and assisting organizations in adhering to legal requirements. They also provide a way to confirm the reliability and authenticity of the code. Organizations can improve the security of their systems and data by implementing code-signing machine identities into their overall cybersecurity strategy. This will help enterprises safeguard their networks from malicious code and applications.

Free Downloads

Datasheet of Code Signing Solution

Code signing is a process to confirm the authenticity and originality of digital information such as a piece of software code.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Surabhi Dahal is a Cyber Intern at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs and Intune. She is doing her graduation from DIT University.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When a program, script, or macro is downloaded, a popup window asking, “Are you sure you want to run this?” will appear during installation or execution. or “Do you want to let the next program affect this computer?” Code signing is being used in this popup. Code signing tools are crucial because they distinguish between legitimate software and malicious or rogue code.

Code signing is a procedure that verifies the legitimacy of the author and the originality and authenticity of digital information, particularly software code. It also ensures that the information is not malicious code. Additionally, it guarantees that this information has not been altered, falsified, or canceled after being digitally signed.

 Your projects developed in Visual Studio with Visual Basics and Visual C# can be published and updated using ClickOnce. ClickOnce is a Microsoft technology used to deploy and update Windows desktop applications over the internet. It allows developers to publish their applications on a web server or network file share and make them available to users via a single click without any complex installation or configuration process.

While you publish your project using ClickOnce, you can sign ClickOnce manifests using a certificate. This will help prove the legitimacy of your application, and this process is called Code signing. Codesigning with ClickOnce provides several security features to ensure that the application and its updates are downloaded from a trusted source and that users are protected against potential security threats. It adds an extra layer of security to your application and can help increase user trust.

When you publish your project using ClickOnce without codesigning, such application when run by the user, a dialogue box is often prompted with a security warning.

ClickOnce without codesigning

But no such warnings are prompted when you Sign ClickOnce manifests with a code signing certificate.

Encryption Consulting has a CodeSigning solution, “CodeSign Secure,” which can help you with tamper-proof storage for the keys and complete visibility and control of Code Signing activities. The private keys of the code-signing certificate can be stored in an HSM to eliminate the risks associated with stolen, corrupted, or misused keys.

This solution provides a tool and certificate for signing ClickOnce manifests. You will have to install and configure the tool and follow the steps below to proceed.

  1. Install and Configure the tool (SigningKSP)
  2. From the command prompt, reach the directory where ECGetCert.exe is located.

  3. Run the command: ECGetCert.exe evcodesigning Here, evcodesigning is the certificate name that we are using for the codesigning purpose.

    This command will save evcodesigning.pem (certificatename.pem) file in the same directory

    Configure the tool (SigningKSP)
  4. Open certmgr.msc and navigate to Personal -> certificates. If there is no certificate folder, right-click on personal -> All Tasks -> Import

    cert certificates
  5. A Certificate import wizard Opens. Click on next; the store location here is, by default, the current user.

    Certificate import wizard
  6. On the next page, browse for the certificate. It should be saved in the same directory where EGGetCert. Exe is located. From there, select evcodesigning.pem (certificatename.pem). If you can’t see the file select all files at the bottom instead of X.509 certificate. Once the certificate is selected, click next.

    X.509 certificate
  7. On the other page, ensure that “Place all the certificates in the following store” is selected. Under that, the Certificate store is set to Personal. Click on next and then Click on Finish. You’ll see a dialogue box saying the import was successful.

    Certificate store
    certificate import
  8. Once the certificate import is done, you need the thumbprint value of your certificate. Click on Personal -> Certificates -> and then the imported certificate. Navigate to “Details” and scroll down to thumbprint. You can copy the value.

    certificate details

    Return to the command prompt. Run the following command. Ensure that you place the Thumbprint of your certificate in your command.

    certutil -f -repairstore -csp “Encryption Consulting Key Storage Provider” -user “My” 79656a9ce126fd0d1bb33f4dc73dba308f58b3ac

    Key Storage Provider
    ClickOnce Publish
  9. Once the command runs, navigate to the project in Visual Studio that you want to publish with ClickOnce.

  10. In the Solution Explorer, Right Click on your project and navigate to Publish. Click on it.

    ClickOnce publish
  11. A new dialogue box opens. Select ClickOnce and click on Next.

    ClickOnce Publish today
  12. On the next page, choose a publish location or leave the default bin\publish and click Next.

    leave the default bin
  13. You can choose the Install Location as per your choice or leave the default. Click on Next.

    Install Location
  14. Select your settings in the next tab as you like and click Next

    VS settings
  15. In Sign manifests, check the box “Sign the ClickOnce manifests” and click on select a certificate from the store.

    Sign the ClickOnce manifests

    A dialogue box opens with a certificate, which was initially imported. Click OK to proceed.

    open a certificate

    You can now see the certificate details in Sign manifests

    certificate details
  16. Click on next to choose your configuration and click on Finish.

  17. You’ll see Publish profile creation progress and a green tick when successful

    Publish profile creation
  18. You can see the Publish Profile created.

    ClickOnce manifests with Visual Studio

We have successfully signed ClickOnce manifests with Visual Studio. Click on Publish to publish your project.


With its digital signature and other security features, Signing ClickOnce manifests enables developers to establish the level of trust users should have in an application. This can decrease the probability that harmful software will be executed on a user’s machine. With the rapid increase in viruses and malware on applications online, it’s necessary to take such measures to prevent any damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

To summarize, incorporating code signing into software security is crucial to safeguard it against malware attacks and tampering. Encryption Consulting’s Code Sign Secure offers various advantages, including seamless integration with development workflows, robust authentication and encryption, and customizable pricing options. To learn more about how you could use Code Sign Secure visit: or contact us at:

Free Downloads

Datasheet of Code Signing Solution

Code signing is a process to confirm the authenticity and originality of digital information such as a piece of software code.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Surabhi Dahal is a Cyber Intern at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs and Intune. She is doing her graduation from DIT University.

Read Time: 04 minutes

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a system of roles, policies, and technologies that are required to create, manage, store and revoke, digital certificates and public keys for encryption. In order to authenticate the identification of users, devices or services, these digital certificates are issued. The prevalence of IoT (Internet of Things) gadgets in our daily lives are rising, from industrial machinery to smart home appliances.

Meanwhile, the demand for secure communication increases as more and more devices are linked to the internet. One way to address this growing demand is through the use of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). As PKI enables secure communication and device authentication for connected devices, it can be utilized to address a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) Internet of Things (IoT) concerns.

IoT devices are often basic sensors and actuators with significant resource limitations. In order to participate in a PKI, they must have mechanisms for initial enrollment (i.e., obtaining the first certificate and key pair), re-enrollment and certificate verification.

While IoT devices grow in tens of billions around us, with a person being connected to an average of 3 devices each, it is no wonder we face several problems and challenges concerning IoT. We can make efficient use of PKI to deal with them.

A general overview of the process, how we can use PKI to solve IoT challenges

  1. Identify the security challenges

    The first step in using PKI to solve IoT problems is to identify the specific security challenges facing your IoT deployment. This can include issues such as device authentication, secure communication, device management, and compliance with regulations.

    This is a crucial step as it will help you to determine which PKI solution will be the best fit for your IoT deployment, and what specific PKI features you will need to implement to address these challenges.

  2. Choose a PKI solution

    Once the security challenges have been identified, you will need to choose a PKI solution that is appropriate for your IoT deployment. Several PKI solutions are available, including commercial, open-source, and custom-built solutions. It is important to choose a solution that is compatible with your devices and network infrastructure, and that provides the features you need to address your specific security challenges.

  3. Set up the PKI infrastructure

    The next step is to set up the PKI infrastructure, which typically includes creating and configuring the certificate authority (CA), issuing digital certificates to devices and servers, and configuring the devices and servers to use the PKI infrastructure. This step can involve setting up hardware, such as a physical server or virtual machine to host the CA, and configuring software, such as the CA software itself.

  4. Configure device authentication

    Configuring device authentication is the next step after setting up the PKI infrastructure. This normally entails issuing each device a special digital certificate that can be used to authenticate the device’s identity when it tries to connect to a network or system. This step could also involve setting up any necessary trust connections between the servers, devices, and the CA, as well as configuring the devices and servers to use digital certificates for device authentication.

  5. Configure secure communication

    Once device authentication is configured, the other step is to configure secure communication between devices. This usually involves using digital certificates to encrypt the communication between devices to ensure that only authorized devices can read the communication.

  6. Configure device management

    The next step is to configure device management. This generally involves using digital certificates to authenticate the device management server, ensuring that only authorized servers can access and administer the devices. It also includes ensuring that only authorized software updates can be installed on the devices, reducing the risk of malware or other malicious software being installed.

  7. Monitor and maintain the PKI infrastructure

    Once the PKI infrastructure is set up and operational, it is crucial to monitor it for any issues and manage it so that it keeps working as intended. This entails regularly applying the most recent security fixes to the computers and servers, keeping an eye out for security breaches, and revoking or replacing any compromised digital certificates.

  8. Compliance

    If the IoT devices handle sensitive information and the device needs to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, etc. it is important to keep a record of the PKI infrastructure setup, the digital certificates issued, and the devices that have access to the network, in order to demonstrate compliance with regulations. This includes keeping track of the devices, certificates, and other components of the PKI infrastructure, and ensuring that all necessary compliance documents are in order.

Some of the IoT challenges and how PKI can be used to deal with them are explained in brief below.

Device Authentication

Making sure that only authorized devices are connected to a network or system is one of the biggest difficulties facing IoT. IoT applications are quite versatile, and the number of smart devices in our environment is increasing dramatically.

These applications include smart cities, smart homes, and even smart healthcare, which calls for a significant number of linked devices—tens of billions, to be exact. Knowing who is permitted to send and receive the data is crucial since a lot of data is sent and received through the internet. Due to IoT resource limitations, typical communication protocols are ineffective for IoT systems.

PKI can be utilized to authenticate IoT devices by issuing unique digital certificates to each device. When a device tries to connect to a network or system, these certificates can be used to confirm the identification of the device.

The process works by the device providing its certificate to the network or system, which then verifies the authenticity of the certificate by checking it against a trusted certificate authority (CA). The device is given access to the network or system after the certificate has been validated. This ensures that only permitted devices can connect to the network and stops unauthorized devices from doing so.

Secure communication

The connected devices in IoT are susceptible to attacks from other devices. An attacker can quickly corrupt all other connected devices in a home network, for instance, if they manage to access just one device on the network. The potential for a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is one of the most significant risks brought on by insecure communication.

If your device doesn’t use secure encryption and authentication protocols, hackers can easily carry out MitM attacks to compromise an update procedure and gain control of your device.

PKI can be used to secure IoT communication is by encrypting the communication between devices. This can be done by enabling devices to obtain and renew X.509 digital certificates which are used to encrypt the communication, ensuring that only authorized devices can read the communication.

For equipment like medical devices or industrial machinery that handles sensitive data, this is extremely crucial. For instance, to secure patient information, a medical device may utilize PKI to encrypt communication between the device and a hospital’s electronic health record (EHR) system.

Network Security

Network-based attacks may be used to exploit IoT devices. Networked devices boost an organization’s operational efficiency and visibility, but they also pose serious security threats and increase the attack surface. The network touches all data and workloads after the devices connect to it.

Hackers can use this technique to compromise any systems and data on the network. The devices connect to the network and the network touches all data and workloads. Hackers can use this technique to compromise any systems and data on the network.

PKI can be used to secure communication between the devices and the network by encrypting the data and securing the network communication channel with digital certificates. This helps to ensure that the data is protected while it is in transit, and that it is only accessible by authorized devices.

Network security is aided by PKI, which controls the issuing of digital certificates to protect sensitive data and also offers distinct digital identities for secure end-to-end communication. Network security is aided by PKI, which controls the issuing of digital certificates to protect sensitive data and also offers distinct digital identities for secure end-to-end communication.

Over-the-Air (OTA) updates

Once embedded, IoT devices require constant maintenance and updates to stay sophisticated and reliable over time. IoT devices are frequently deployed in the field and are difficult to reach for software upgrades and maintenance. Hence IoT devices are maintained with the help of Over-The-Air (OTA) updates. Any updates that are wirelessly distributed and deployed are referred to as OTA updates.

PKI can be used to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the OTA updates, to prevent unauthorized updates and to guarantee that the device software is authentic. PKI can be used to encrypt the communication channel between the device and the update server and to sign firmware images. By doing this, the device can confirm the update’s authenticity and only accept updates from reliable sources.


To sum up, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is an essential system that can be used to address the growing demand for secure communication and device authentication in the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape. By identifying specific security challenges, choosing an appropriate PKI solution, setting up the PKI infrastructure, configuring device authentication, secure communication, device management, monitoring and maintaining the PKI infrastructure, and ensuring compliance with regulations.

PKI can help ensure that only authorized devices are connected to a network or system, and that the communication between these devices is secure. As the number of connected devices continues to grow, PKI will play an increasingly important role in addressing the security challenges of IoT.

Free Downloads

Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Surabhi Dahal is a Cyber Intern at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs and Intune. She is doing her graduation from DIT University.

Let's talk