What Happens Once Your Code Signing Certificate Expires?

What Happened if you Code Signing Certificate Expired

Find Out What Could Go Wrong & What You Should Do About It Once Your Code Signing Certificate Expires

Like SSL/TLS and other x.509 digital security certificates, code signing certificates also come with a limited validity period – from one to three years. And, for many software developers and especially large companies that manage multiple code signing certificates, it becomes an issue if the code signing certificate is handled manually.

Keeping with essential tasks such as renewal, issuance, and revocation of each code signing certificate can be stressful. And, if you’re an enterprise that handles thousands of code signing certificates, then managing such tasks at scale wouldn’t be easy, and it’s likely how easily you may forget to reissue your code signing certificate expires without you being aware of it.

So, what to do about it? Most importantly, what could go wrong once your code signing certificate expires?

Here’s What Can Go Wrong Once Your Code Signing Certificates Surpasses Expiry Date

Once your code signing certificate surpasses its expiry date, one thing is for sure you won’t be able to sign any applications or software. So, for software companies, it’s a must that you renew your code signing certificate on a timely basis, and it’s even recommended that you do it before expiry occurs.

Usually, before 90 days from its expiry, you can renew your digital software signing certificate and, you’re even allowed to skip specific validation steps if you renew before it expires. Likewise, the remaining days are added as a grace period into your new certificate.

For software users, there are two possibilities:

  • If your signed software is timestamped, they won’t face any issue, and you’ll even be able to provide regular patches and updates using your new code signing certificate.
  • If signed software is not timestamped, they’ll start getting warning messages, and software may even stop working abruptly. To be precise, a Microsoft SmartScreen warning message will be seen whenever the user tries opening software or installing it. Likewise, the Google Safe Browsing warning is displayed if the user tries downloading your software.

Nonetheless, the company will need to repurchase, re-validate, and re-install the newly issued software signing certificate, and till that, you won’t be able to sign any new software that means there will be a delay in your work progress.

So, the good solution is to prevent your code signing certificate from expiring and re-issue it before it surpasses the expiry date. And, if your code signing certificate is expired and you’re wondering what you should do now, keep reading.

Here’s What You Can Do if Your Code Signing Certificate Expires

Unluckily if your code signing certificate has surpassed its expiry date, then you’ll require to go through below mentioned three steps:

Let’s look through each step in detail.

Purchase Your Code Signing Certificate Again

Renewal is similar to a repurchase. If its done before its expiry can help you avoid the vetting process.

On the other hand, if the expiry date surpasses or you wish to go with another CA (Certificate Authority), you’ll be required to go through all the steps, including the vetting process, from the very beginning.

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Go Through the Validation Process

As mentioned above, if you do it before its expiry, then depending upon your chosen CA, you may be asked to skip this validation step entirely. Similarly, some CAs don’t ask for every document like they did initially.

However, if the expiry has surpassed or you choose to go with another CA, you will be required to satisfy this validation step. And, depending upon the code signing certificate, the documents you need to submit for validation that prove your legitimacy differ.

For instance, there are three types of code signing certificates:

Note: Click on the type of certificate to know which documents are required to get your code signing certificate issued.

Recommended: Code Signing Certificates Validation Guide

Code Signing Certificate Installation

Once your validation process completes, which usually takes around one to three business days for OV & Individual Code Signing certificate and one to five business days for an EV Code Signing certificate, you will receive your certification in an email.

Likewise, it ships your HSM device to your registered business address if it’s an EV code signing certificate.

Nonetheless, once you receive your code signing certificate, you’ll be required to install it. And, for that follow steps as mentioned below:

  • Go through the email address that you gave during registration. You may have received an installation link for your reissued code signing certificate.
  • Click on that link and open it in your web browser. It’ll allow your certificate to be installed within your login keychain or certificate store, depending upon which operating system you’re using, whether it’s Windows or Apple. Also, you can export your code signing certificate as a .p12 file for your Mac and .pfx for Windows.
  • Lastly, click Generate Certificate for creating and installing your code signing certificate.

Recommended: Code Signing Certificate Installation Guides

How to Manage Code Signing Certificate Efficiently?

Nonetheless, if you’re an enterprise that uses multiple code signing certificates, it’s obvious it’ll not be easier to manage each one. For instance, there’s a high chance you may forget to get it reissued on time.

Henceforth, it’s recommended that instead of handling each code signing certificate manually, you can choose to go with the Enterprise Code Signing certificate. It offers as many code signing certificates as you want to purchase and also provides complete management through its certificate manager.

Similarly, it provides a complete dashboard that provides all the details regarding your code signing certificate, including its expiry date.

Closing Thoughts

Code Signing certificate comes with a validity period. So, once your code signing certificate surpasses that validity date, you’ll no longer be able to sign new software or applications digitally.

Henceforth, it’s recommended that you use the free feature Timestamp that helps freeze your digital signature, so it stays valid even after your code signing certificate expires.

Is your Code Signing Certificate is expired or going to expired soon? Renew your existing code signing certificate at just $210.99/yr.

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.