OWASP Top 10 Mobile Risks - M1: Improper Credential Usage

Enhancing Mobile App Security against Improper Credential Usage with Approov's Runtime Secrets Protection

In mobile app security, improper credential usage, identified as a top threat by OWASP, poses significant risks to both businesses and users. This threat encompasses the misuse of hardcoded credentials and insecure handling practices, leading to unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Here, we delve into how Approov's Runtime Secrets capability serves as a robust defense mechanism against this prevalent issue.

The Risk Landscape

Improper credential usage is a gateway for threat agents employing automated tools to exploit mobile applications. These vulnerabilities allow unauthorized access to sensitive app functionalities, risking data breaches, fraud, and severe reputation damage. The simplicity of exploiting such vulnerabilities—through locating hardcoded credentials or leveraging improperly managed credentials—highlights the need for stringent security measures.

Approov's Runtime Secrets Capability: A Closer Look

Approov stands at the forefront of mobile app and API security, offering a comprehensive solution that directly addresses the challenge of improper credential usage. The runtime secrets capability within Approov ensures that credentials are managed securely throughout their lifecycle—during storage, transmission, and authentication.

Securely Managing Credentials with Approov

  • Eliminating Hardcoded Credentials: Approov negates the need for embedding credentials in the app’s source code or configuration files, a common vulnerability exploited by attackers.
  • Encrypting Credential Transmission: Approov ensures that all credential transmissions are encrypted, and delivered from the cloud securely, safeguarding against interception by malicious actors.
  • Preventing Insecure Credential Storage: With Approov, credentials are not stored insecurely on the device, they are stored safely in the cloud and delivered just-in-time, mitigating risks associated with physical device access.
  • Enforcing Strong Authentication: Approov's capability supports robust user authentication protocols, ensuring only legitimate users gain access.

Mitigating Attack Scenarios

Let’s explore how Approov addresses common attack scenarios associated with improper credential usage:

  • Hardcoded Credentials: Approov's approach removes the reliance on hardcoded credentials, thus nullifying this attack vector.
  • Insecure Credential Transmission: By encrypting all transmitted credentials, and pinning the channel, Approov prevents attackers from intercepting and misusing user credentials.
  • Insecure Credential Storage: Approov's strategy ensures credentials are not stored on the device, thereby protecting against unauthorized access even if the device is compromised.


In light of the challenges presented by OWASP's M1 Threat, "Improper Credential Usage," the urgency for robust, innovative security solutions in the mobile app domain has never been more critical. Approov's Runtime Secrets capability directly addresses this pressing issue, providing a comprehensive and sophisticated approach to credential management that mitigates the vulnerabilities highlighted by OWASP. By eliminating the use of hardcoded credentials, securing the transmission and storage of user credentials, and implementing strong user authentication protocols, Approov not only confronts the specific risks associated with M1 but also elevates the overall security framework of mobile applications.

The real-world attack scenarios underscore the tangible benefits of integrating Approov into mobile app security strategies, showcasing its effectiveness in thwarting unauthorized access and safeguarding sensitive information. This not only aligns with the best practices recommended by OWASP but also sets a new standard for security measures within the mobile application industry. Approov's dynamic approach to addressing the M1 Threat demonstrates a forward-thinking methodology that not only responds to current security challenges but also anticipates future vulnerabilities.

As we navigate the complexities of mobile app security in an era where digital threats are constantly evolving, the significance of adopting comprehensive security solutions like Approov's Runtime Secrets capability cannot be overstated. In doing so, developers and organizations can ensure that their applications are not only resistant to the prevalent risks identified by OWASP but are also prepared to meet the security demands of tomorrow. This commitment to advanced security measures is essential for maintaining user trust and ensuring the continued success and reliability of mobile applications in the digital landscape.