Verifying RSA signatures using .NET and C# February 29, 2020

I recently found myself wanting a system to cryptographically sign and verify files. I came up with the following method which uses a combination of the OpenSSL command-line utility and the .NET RSA class. I used the version that’s part of .NET Core 3.1.

This post assumes some familiarity with encryption, specifically public/private key encryption.

First we generate the public and private keys and sign the file:

# Generate the private key.
openssl genpkey -algorithm rsa -out privkey.pem -pkeyopt rsa_keygen_bits:4096
# Generate the corresponding public key
openssl rsa -in privkey.pem -outform PEM -pubout -out pubkey.pem
# Sign, storing the signature in
openssl dgst -sha256 -sign privkey.pem -out

The code for verifying the file signature should be fairly straightforward. By default OpenSSL stores the keys in PEM format. The .NET cryptography library doesn’t seem to support loading these directly and so I had to write some supporting code for wrangling the PEM file into a format that the RSA class would like, specifically a byte array.

internal class RsaSignatureVerifier : IDisposable
    private readonly RSA _rsa;

    /// <summary>
    /// Create a new instance of <see cref="RsaSignatureVerifier"/>.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="publicKeyPath">
    /// The path to the public key corresponding to the private key that was used to sign files.
    /// </param>
    public RsaSignatureVerifier(string publicKeyPath)
        _rsa = RSA.Create();

        byte[] pubKey = ReadPemPublicKey(publicKeyPath);

        _rsa.ImportSubjectPublicKeyInfo(pubKey, out _);

    /// <summary>
    /// Verifies the specified file using the specified <see cref="RSA"/> signature. The digest
    /// used is <see cref="HashAlgorithmName.SHA256"/>.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="fileToVerifyPath">The path of the file to verify.</param>
    /// <param name="fileSignaturePath">
    /// The path of the signature used to verify the specified file.
    /// </param>
    /// <returns>Whether the file was verified successfully.</returns>
    public bool Verify(string fileToVerifyPath, string fileSignaturePath)
        var fileToVerifyStream = new FileStream(fileToVerifyPath, FileMode.Open);
        byte[] signatureBytes = File.ReadAllBytes(fileSignaturePath);
        return _rsa.VerifyData(fileToVerifyStream, signatureBytes, HashAlgorithmName.SHA256, RSASignaturePadding.Pkcs1);

    /// <summary>
    /// Reads a PEM encoded public key and returns the corresponding binary key.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="publicKeyPath">The path to the PEM encoded key.</param>
    /// <returns>The corresponding binary key.</returns>
    private byte[] ReadPemPublicKey(string publicKeyPath)
        string encodedPublicKey = File
            .Replace("-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----", string.Empty)
            .Replace("-----END PUBLIC KEY-----", string.Empty)

        return Convert.FromBase64String(encodedPublicKey);

    public void Dispose()

Hope this helps.