EV Code Signing without Hardware Token – Is It Possible?

EV Code Signing Certificate Without Hardware Token

Organizations utilize the EV Code Signing Certificate to secure the software with the highest standard. Although to configure it for digital sign and timestamping, a hardware token gets issued from the CA.

However, there can be chances that someone lost that Token or forgot its passcode, or anything unexpected happens. No company wants to go through such a situation. And to prevent it, they started to find the Extended Validation Code Signing without Hardware Token.

So, let’s get started to discover whether signing without a token is possible or not.

What is EV Code Signing and Hardware Token?

When any organization needs to provide the highest level of security assurance, selecting EV Code Signing Certificate is the first preference. As the name defines, Extended Validation Code Signing utilizes the advanced hashing mechanism, making the Code secure from malicious actors.

In addition, the applicant must undergo a strict verification procedure to Buy EV Code Signing Certificate. Therefore, only legitimate businesses get the EV certificate.

Recommended: Requirements to Obtain an OV or EV Code Signing Certificate

Furthermore, the only Code Signing Certificate assures zero warnings and alerts from the Defender SmartScreen mechanism. When any end-user installs the software with such a certificate, the operating system treats it as legitimate. And its installation procedure gets completed impeccably.

And another reason for selecting it is the Hardware Token.

Whenever any Certificate Authority issues an EV Code Signing Certificate, its private key gets delivered in an external USB drive. It is an additional security layer, as only limited people can access it. Moreover, it gets stored offline, preventing attackers from gaining access to it.

Hardware Token or the external USB is a crucial component, as an organization doesn’t sign the software without it. Let’s walk through it, working to understand it better.

How does EV Code Signing Certificate Works?

How Does EV Code Signing Works

EV Code Signing Certificate utilizes the hashing and encryption mechanism to secure the source code. Every organization undergoes the following steps for maintaining code integrity.

Step 1:

Source code is focused, and the enterprise performs hashing upon it. It converts the overall Code into an unreadable format, preventing attackers from making the unauthorized alteration.

Step 2:

The company configures the external hardware token into its system and uses it to sign the software. Both automatic and manual approaches use SignTool to complete the signing procedure.

In addition, a timestamp also gets added to the software, optimizing its authenticity.

Step 3:

Now, the publisher has the hashed and encrypted executable file, which will get uploaded to the server for end-users.

Step 4:

When any end-user downloads the software, its browser will check its authenticity. After successful download, the operating system will cross-verify the hash value and cryptographic keys.

After passing all the checks, the software will get installed successfully. As EV Code Signing Certificate provides the highest level of business legitimacy, the system will not show any warning message to the user.

Cheap EV Code Signing

Is it Possible to Sign the Code by not using External Hardware Token?

After going through the working of the EV Code Signing Certificate and its overview, it is clear that Hardware Token is a necessary component. Every Certificate Authority provides a hardware token to its EV applicant.

Recommended Read: What is HSM? Role of HSM in Digital Signing

In addition, such tokens are one of the primary reasons behind the EV certificate’s popularity.

To strengthen security, organizations prefer the Comodo EV Code Signing Certificate. Additionally, it is more expensive than IV and OV certificates. Hence, to fulfill the promise of top-level security and to provide value for money, CAs provide external USB.

Therefore, it is impossible to digitally sign the software without a hardware token while using the Extended Validation Code Signing Certificate.

It would help if you safeguarded the external USB behind appropriate physical security to protect the private key associated with your digital sign.

Why Hardware Token with Extended Validation Code Signing?

Extended Validation certificates get issued to companies who prove their business legitimacy. Mainly, large enterprises select the EV software signing certificate to provide a seamless experience. And also for bypassing the Defender SmartScreen alert.

Additionally, companies Purchase EV Code Signing Certificates to leverage cutting-edge security benefits. Thence, the advantage of an external USB or hardware token.

Moreover, Certificate Authorities provide the Token for the following reasons:

  • To fulfill the assurance of state-of-the-art security, a private key on a physical device has a very low probability of getting breached.
  • To leverage the company to allow only limited and authorized persons to modify the Code as required.
  • To aid organizations in limiting access to the private key, getting used to digitally signing the software.


EV Code Signing Certificate works at the highest level and provides avant-garde security. And to utilize it for digitally signing the software, a hardware token is the primary component. Once the Certificate Authority issues the Software Signing Certificate, it provides the external USB or Token to the applicant.

Further, the organization plug-in the USB and configure it as per CA’s instructions. Without the Token, it is impossible to use the EV Code Signing Certificate, as the Token aids in maintaining security and performing core operations.

Get the Highest Level of Security Assurance with EV Code Signing Certificate from the Most Trusted Certificate Authorities.

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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