Dynamic Certificate Pinning

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

Modern apps communicate using a secure TLS connection between the app and the backend APIs. A common mistake is to believe that this encryption makes sure that the data is not vulnerable to eavesdropping by a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacker. Although TLS ensures that the data is encrypted end-to-end, it can’t be certain that one of the ends is actually your app.

It is possible to trick the app into allowing communication indirectly via an MitM attacker that can observe and potentially modify all of the traffic. Such MitM approaches are commonly used by attackers to reverse engineer an API protocol and extract secrets and API keys for subsequent attack.

MitM Attack

How can You Prevent MitM Attacks?

See why MitM attacks are a particular issue for mobile apps, and understand the techniques used by hackers. See how certificate pinning can help thwart mobile MitM attacks and how dynamic pinning can streamline mobile app devops.

Download the white paper today to understand the MitM threat to mobile apps and the steps you must take to enhance your security and protect your organization’s data and revenue from being hacked.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Protection

Certificate pinning can prevent these attacks. It binds the app to the public key of the certificate that is expected on the backend API service. If an attacker tries to insert their own certificate, even if it is trusted by your customers’ device itself, the connection will be rejected.

Unfortunately, pinning can be complex to implement in the app and requires coordination with the backend API services that may wish to rotate certificates on a regular basis. If there is a certificate mismatch with the pins set in the app, it will become unusable until a new version can be published through the app store, leading to a disastrous customer experience.

Watch the Webinar

This webinar recording shows why MitM attacks are a particular issue for mobile apps, providing an in-depth analysis of the problem and the techniques used by hackers - and how to stop them.

Certificate Pinning Simplified & Secure

Approov provides support for updating pins dynamically over-the-air with no need to update the app. Certificate rotations can be handled instantly and cleanly, with no risk of interruption to customer service. Our frontend Quickstarts implement dynamic pinning across a wide range of different development frameworks.

Approov Dynamic Pinning

When it is not possible to perform a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack by subverting the trusted certificates on a device, attackers turn to other techniques. Sometimes referred to as “Man-in-the-App” attacks, function-hooking frameworks (such as Frida) are used to nullify pinning implementations so that attacker certificates are accepted. Since Approov Runtime App Protection detects hooking frameworks, valid Approov tokens are never issued in such cases, stopping attacks because the backend APIs will not respond.

Talk to a Security Expert

Give us 30 minutes and our security experts will show you how to protect your revenue and business data by deploying Approov to secure your mobile apps and your APIs

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