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Essential .NET, Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime by Chris Sells, Don Box

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Public Keys and Assemblies

The CLR uses public key technology both to uniquely identify the developer of a component and to protect the component from being tampered with once it is out of the original developer's hands. Each assembly can have a public key embedded in its manifest that identifies the developer. Assemblies with public keys also have a digital signature that is generated before the assembly is first shipped that provides a secure hash of the assembly manifest, which itself contains hashes of all subordinate modules. This ensures that once the assembly ships, no one can modify the code or other resources contained in the assembly. This digital signature can be verified using only the public key; however, the signature can be generated ...

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