the-distributed-ledger-technology-at-the-center-of-the-code-signing-disruption

Ever since the software industry witnessed the introduction of code signing, software users have learned to rely on digital certificates and GPG to verify the integrity and identity of software. Little questions were raised concerning the security of the certificates and GPG themselves. The "severe" scrutiny of the software publisher by the certificate authority and the uniqueness of GPG key, shared through the publisher’s website, were enough to trust software.

Only recently the software community started to question whether users could trust such signatures. Several tests proved that they couldn’t.

The limitations of current code signing practice

First, a singing digital certificate does not guarantee the authenticity and integrity of the software. Hackers often steal certificates and sell authentic certificates on the darkweb for few hundreds of dollars. Not-so-attentive certificate authorities issue digital certificates to a look-alike company that managed to pass the approval process. Finally, malicious users sign software with certificates issued to themselves or other fake identities: who’s actually checking the name on the certificate before installing a software application, anyway. Notable posts such as that of Bruce Schneier’s (https://www.schneier.com/academic/paperfiles/paper-pki-ft.txt) provide all the details about why digital certificates cannot guarantee the integrity and authenticity of software.

GPG provides a free alternative to digital certificates. GPG is broadly adopted by the open source community. Despite that, GPG shows limitations when applied to code signing (GPG was actually born to encrypt and sign emails). Most of the times GPG keys, which are autogenerated, are not added to the Web of Trust. As a result, they do not provide identity verification of the owner. Instead, they are used merely as hashing key, which is mutable and therefore can be faked. For this reason, founders of open source projects have started to hand out their GPG keys in person during events (certainly not a scalable model).

CodeNotary adds trust to software

CodeNotary was built to solve exactly these problems. Once the code is signed with CodeNotary, it’s SHA-256 hash is committed by the software publisher on a public ledger. As a result, the identity of the publisher and the integrity of the software are immutably stored and anyone can verify them.

Code Signing

In its pursuit to make software trusted, CodeNotary could not rely on a centralized ledger for the software signatures. The goal of CodeNotary was not to replace an intermediary, such as the certificate authority, with another central entity. Such a solution would have suffered similar flaws as current models, including becoming a target for hackers who wanted to steal or modify signatures. CodeNotary’s goal was to completely disintermediate the code signing process and give software publishers the control over their own signatures. The publishers could then sign software assets with infinite granularity (code, applications, patches, libraries, containers, etc.) on immutable and unhackable storage. The Zero-Trust Consortium (ZTC) offered that immutable, unhackable, fast and always-on ledger capability thanks to its Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The Zero-Trust Consortium Distributed Ledger Technology

The ZTC is an independent, community-led membership group whose purpose is to support the usage of a fast distributed ledger, with no transaction cost, and built for the software industry, by the software industry. vChain, the company behind CodeNotary, worked with other notable founding members, such as Acronis and Chainstack, to create the first DLT for the software industry, and are now successfully recruiting new software companies who want to develop enterprise-ready applications using the blockchain technology without the limitation of the public ones.

blockchain block explorer ledger distributed

With the public release of CodeNotary, vChain proved that the ZTC distributed ledger was up to its mission of making the DLT ready for enterprise-class software.

 

Start your free trial on CodeNotary and see how easy and fast you can sign your code on an immutable distributed ledger.

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Metrics and Logs

(formerly, Opvizor Performance Analyzer)

VMware vSphere & Cloud
PERFORMANCE MONITORING, LOG ANALYSIS, LICENSE COMPLIANCE!

Monitor and Analyze Performance and Log files:
Performance monitoring for your systems and applications with log analysis (tamperproof using immudb) and license compliance (RedHat, Oracle, SAP and more) in one virtual appliance!

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Use Case - Tamper-resistant Clinical Trials

Goal:

Blockchain PoCs were unsuccessful due to complexity and lack of developers.

Still the goal of data immutability as well as client verification is a crucial. Furthermore, the system needs to be easy to use and operate (allowing backup, maintenance windows aso.).

Implementation:

immudb is running in different datacenters across the globe. All clinical trial information is stored in immudb either as transactions or the pdf documents as a whole.

Having that single source of truth with versioned, timestamped, and cryptographically verifiable records, enables a whole new way of transparency and trust.

Use Case - Finance

Goal:

Store the source data, the decision and the rule base for financial support from governments timestamped, verifiable.

A very important functionality is the ability to compare the historic decision (based on the past rulebase) with the rulebase at a different date. Fully cryptographic verifiable Time Travel queries are required to be able to achieve that comparison.

Implementation:

While the source data, rulebase and the documented decision are stored in verifiable Blobs in immudb, the transaction is stored using the relational layer of immudb.

That allows the use of immudb’s time travel capabilities to retrieve verified historic data and recalculate with the most recent rulebase.

Use Case - eCommerce and NFT marketplace

Goal:

No matter if it’s an eCommerce platform or NFT marketplace, the goals are similar:

  • High amount of transactions (potentially millions a second)
  • Ability to read and write multiple records within one transaction
  • prevent overwrite or updates on transactions
  • comply with regulations (PCI, GDPR, …)


Implementation:

immudb is typically scaled out using Hyperscaler (i. e. AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure) distributed across the Globe. Auditors are also distributed to track the verification proof over time. Additionally, the shop or marketplace applications store immudb cryptographic state information. That high level of integrity and tamper-evidence while maintaining a very high transaction speed is key for companies to chose immudb.

Use Case - IoT Sensor Data

Goal:

IoT sensor data received by devices collecting environment data needs to be stored locally in a cryptographically verifiable manner until the data is transferred to a central datacenter. The data integrity needs to be verifiable at any given point in time and while in transit.

Implementation:

immudb runs embedded on the IoT device itself and is consistently audited by external probes. The data transfer to audit is minimal and works even with minimum bandwidth and unreliable connections.

Whenever the IoT devices are connected to a high bandwidth, the data transfer happens to a data center (large immudb deployment) and the source and destination date integrity is fully verified.

Use Case - DevOps Evidence

Goal:

CI/CD and application build logs need to be stored auditable and tamper-evident.
A very high Performance is required as the system should not slow down any build process.
Scalability is key as billions of artifacts are expected within the next years.
Next to a possibility of integrity validation, data needs to be retrievable by pipeline job id or digital asset checksum.

Implementation:

As part of the CI/CD audit functionality, data is stored within immudb using the Key/Value functionality. Key is either the CI/CD job id (i. e. Jenkins or GitLab) or the checksum of the resulting build or container image.

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CodeNotary — Webinar

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