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Code Signing CLI tool supporting Authenticode, NuGet, VSIX, and ClickOnce

Project README

Sign CLI

This project aims to make it easier to integrate secure code signing into a CI pipeline by using cloud-based hardware security module(HSM)-protected keys. This project is part of the .NET Foundation and operates under their code of conduct. It is licensed under MIT (an OSI approved license).


Given an initial file path or glob pattern, this tool recursively searches directories and containers to find signable files and containers. For each signable artifact, the tool uses an implementation of System.Security.Cryptography.RSA that delegates the signing operation to Azure Key Vault. The tool computes a digest (or hash) of the to-be-signed content and submits the digest --- not the original content --- to Azure Key Vault for digest signing. The returned raw signature value is then incorporated in whatever signature format is appropriate for the file type. Signable content is not sent to Azure Key Vault.

While the current version is limited to RSA and Azure Key Vault, it is desirable to support ECDSA and other cloud providers in the future.

Supported File Types

  • .msi, .msp, .msm, .cab, .dll, .exe, .appx, .appxbundle, .msix, .msixbundle, .sys, .vxd, .ps1, .psm1, and any portable executable (PE) file (via AzureSignTool)
  • .vsix via OpenOpcSignTool
  • ClickOnce .application and .vsto (via Mage). Special instructions below.
  • .nupkg via NuGetKeyVaultSignTool


ClickOnce files can be signed with this tool, but it requires an extra step -- you must zip up the publish directory containing the setup.exe, foo.application or foo.vsto files along with the Application Files directory. The Application Files must only have a single subdirectory (version you want to sign). Zip these and then rename the extension to .clickonce before submitting to the tool. Once done, you can extract the signed files wherever you'd like for publication. If the name parameter is supplied, it's used in the Mage name to update the Product in the manifests. If the descriptionUrl parameter is supplied, it's used as the supportUrl in the manifests.

You should also use the filter parameter with the file list to sign, something like this:


Best Practices

Sample Workflows

Code signing is a complex process that may involve multiple signing formats and artifact types. Some artifacts are containers that contain other signable file types. For example, NuGet Packages (.nupkg) frequently contain .dll files. The signing tool will sign all files inside-out, starting with the most nested files and then the outer files, ensuring everything is signed in the correct order.

Signing .exe/.dll files, and other Authenticode file types is only possible on Windows at this time. The recommended solution is to build on one agent and sign on another using jobs or stages where the signing steps run on Windows. Running code signing on a separate stage to ensure secrets aren't exposed to the build stage.

Build Variables

The following information is needed for the signing build:

  • Tenant Id Azure AD tenant
  • Client Id / Application Id ServicePrincipal identifier
  • Key Vault Url Url to Key Vault. Must be a Premium Sku for EV code signing certificates and all certificates issued after June 2023
  • Certificate Id Id of the certificate in Key Vault.
  • Client Secret for Azure DevOps Pipelines
  • Subscription Id for GitHub Actions

Creating a code signing certificate in Azure Key Vault

Code signing certificates must use the RSA-HSM key type to ensure the private keys are stored in a FIPS 140-2 compliant manner. While you can import a certificate from a PFX file, if available, the most secure option is to create a new Certificate Signing Request to provide to your certificate authority, and then merge in the public certificate they issue. Detailed steps are available here.

Migrating from the legacy code signing service

If you've been using the legacy code signing service, using SignClient.exe to upload files for signing, you can use your existing certificate and Key Vault with this new tool. You will need to create a new ServicePrincipal and assign it permissions as described above.

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "SignService" Project. README Source: dotnet/sign
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