What is Java Code Signing Certificate [A Detailed Guide]

What is Java Code Singing Certificate

Java is a prominent and highly prevalent language in which thousands of software are regularly designed. From social media platforms to popular desktop applications, Its used to build truly great applications.

However, to ensure the safety of Java applications from malware, owners need to obtain a Java software signing certificate.

It helps assert the software publisher’s identity to its users and affirm file integrity. The certificate proves that the code has not been modified after being signed by the owner.

What is Code Signing?

Code signing is the process of digitally signing a piece of code and providing a hash value to it, which can be used to determine your identity and ensure software integrity.

What is a Java Code Signing Certificate?

A Java Code Signing Cert is a certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority that ensures the code and its owner is verified. It can be obtained for Java Code, JAR Files software, applications, and executables.

To procure a code signing certificate for your apps, your software needs to pass a validation test. Based on the test, the authority issues you the certificate showcasing your software’s genuineness.

How Does it Works?

Whenever a code is signed, a digital signature is affixed to it. Firstly, hashing is done to encrypt the code. The processed file is again signed and then hashed to ensure double security. The hashes in the code serve as a checksum, ensuring that no two disparate inputs can produce the same hash value.

Even a slight code change code will result in a failed checksum. Further, when the client receives the software, they check the validity of the certificate and signature. The system marks the certificate as trustworthy once it authenticates the certificate.

Advantages of Leveraging a Code Signing for JAR Files

You get multiple benefits when you buy Java Code Signing Certificate, such as

1. Secure Digital Signature

A digital signature from the certifying authority that proves your software is authentic. Also, the hashed function used with the digital signature ensures the software code can not be modified without the owner’s permission.

2. Signer Authenticity

When a user downloads software, the OS usually pops up a security message if the software publisher is verified or not. A verified publisher certainly assures the user that the downloaded software is safe to use. 

3. Publisher’s Identity Assurance

The JCE Code Signing Certificate has all the details related to the publisher’s identity. You can verify the software’s company name, owner name, etc., and become sure to use the software. 

4. Software Integrity

The code signing certificate is an essential tool to determine the quality of the code. Having a certificate for software can mean the owner goes through all the required processes to build software. Hence, the probability of code being safe, secure, and reliable is more.  

5. Boosts Customer Trust

A certificate provided with the software definitely adds a level of confidence to the user. The user does not resist downloading the software and gladly makes use of the software.

6. Improves the Brand Reputation

Code signing can significantly amplify your brand reputation. As you provide the users with official documents, they will see more value in your brand and look out for more of your products.

7. Enhances Software Download Rates

The downloading rate of the software also enhances when you sign your Java application with a code signing certificate. Amidst the increasing rate of cybercrimes, users want to use only trustful software.

How to Obtain Certificate?

Follow the steps:

  • Choose a suitable code signing certificate from the list of certificates.
  • Register with the company by making your account.
  • Login to the CA website and generate a certificate signing request (CSR).
  • Enter your details like name, email, and public key, to generate CSR.
  • Submit the request, and you will get it within 1-3 days. 

How to Sign Java Files using Code Signing Certificate?

Before adding the certificate to your software, make sure to have Java Development Kit (JDK) installed in your computer system. Ensure your JDK bin folder is in the PATH environment (C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_02\bin).

The further process is as follows:

Step 1: Creation of ​​Java KeyStore

The process completes in three basic steps:

1. Build a Certificate KeyStore and Private Key

Open your Run window and type the following command:

keytool -genkey -alias alias_name -keyalg RSA -keystore keystore_name.jks -keysize 2048

You will be asked to enter and confirm the password. Make sure to remember this password, else you will have to repeat all the steps again.

2. Complete the Form

Enter your details in the given form. Make sure to add all the information to the form. The form will ask questions such as

Enter keystore password:

Re-enter new password:

What is your name, first and last?

[User]: Firstname Lastname

What is the name of your organization?

[User]: CompanyName

What is your City Name or Locality Name?

[User]: YourCity

What is the name of your State?

[User]: YourState

What is the two-letter country code for this unit?

[User]: YourCountryCode

Is CN= Firstname Lastname, O=YourCompanyName, L=YourCity, ST=YourState, C=US correct?

[no]: yes

Enter key password for <server>

3. Submitting the Request

After all the necessary details are entered correctly, you need to submit the form and a Java KeyStore file (keystore_name.jks) will be created.

Step 2 : Generation of CSR

To generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request), you need to follow the given procedure:

1. CSR Generation using Command Line Interface

Use the CLI to generate your CSR once the Keystore is created. Type in the command:

keytool -certreq -keyalg RSA -alias alias_name -file your_csr_file.csr -keystore keystore_name.jks

This command will generate a private key (.jks file) and a CSR (.csr file). Also create a backup for the file to prevent going through the same process if any installation issues come at later stages.

2. Completion of the Form

Visit the certificate issuing authority and generate a request. Some authorities let you upload the CSR file to gather information about you.

3. Installing the Certificate

After successfully submitting a CSR request, the certificate authority will validate your information and software and issue your Certificate that can be obtained via email.

Once you get the code signing certificate, you can install it on your website server using the following command:

keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias alias_name -file CertFile.p7b -keystore keystore_name.jks.

The Final Thoughts

Java (Digital Signing) Code Signing is a great way to earn the trust of your customers and ensure software integrity. Therefore, every publisher must obtain the code signing certificate for its software for a secure user experience.

Looking for Cheap Java Code Signing Certificate from the Trusted Certificate Authority? Get at only $199.99/yr and sign your Java Apps & JAR Files!

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.