Apple sent out an email to registered Mac developers today informing them of a new program called Developer ID. The new program allows developers outside the Mac App Store to get their apps signed by Apple, which ensures that the apps are secure and malware-free.
The Mac App Store is the safest place for users to get software for their Mac, but we also want to protect users when they download applications from other places. Developer ID is a new way to help prevent users from installing malware on their Mac. Along with Gatekeeper, a new feature in OS X Mountain Lion, signing applications with your Developer ID certificate provides users with the confidence that your application is not known malware and has not been tampered with.
The new feature will work alongside OS X Mountain Lion’s new Gatekeeper feature, which allows users to block apps on their machine that are not signed with Developer ID, while allowing easy access for the user to run signed apps. The setting can be set to only accept Mac App Store apps, to accept Mac App Store and Developer ID signed apps, or to allow all apps.
The new security feature will be available to users once Apple rolls out Gatekeeper (which may also arrive on OS X Lion as well), and seems to be an excellent option for users to keep their Macs stable and secure while downloading and using apps from outside the Mac App Store.