We’ve been thinking a lot about contact tracing apps in recent weeks. There are ongoing debates about whether a centralised or decentralised model is superior, and how the ensuing discussions around privacy will impact their takeup.
When the NHSX contact tracing app was made available in the app stores last Thursday we decided to take a quick look at its operation and how the code has been put together. We used the Android version and the excellent MobSF tools to do our reversing analysis. On Friday the full source code of the app was also published on github.
The eBay concept first came to light as a browser based auction platform, giving sellers a chance to offer their goods to potential buyers from across the globe, before making the transition to become one of the world’s most popular mobile auction apps. Others have since emerged, with mobile auction apps giving event organisers the tools to simplify setup and management, and buyers the simplicity and speed of making bids and performing transactions with the swipe of a finger. Of course, every financial opportunity throws itself open to dishonest practices -- and mobile auction apps are no exception. Scalping and sniping are two of the major issues faced by mobile auction operators.
Last Friday, there was an unusual joint announcement from Apple and Google providing details of a new phone API for Covid-19 contact tracing via Bluetooth. The protocol allows mobile phones to continually transmit Bluetooth advertisements to one another. This includes a proximity identifier derived from randomly generated keys that can be held secretly on each device. If a phone user is later diagnosed with Covid-19, they are able to upload the daily tracing keys for those days when they might have been infectious.
With smartphone usage now a global phenomenon, mobile apps and connectivity are common denominators binding people the world over. And as the world’s nations grapple with the common dilemma of how to manage the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus or COVID-19, it’s little wonder that governments and health authorities across the planet are turning to mobile app technology as a weapon in their crisis management arsenal.
As mobile apps become increasingly paramount to operating successfully in today’s markets, a big question mark over API security is raised. Gartner has previously predicted that by 2022, “API abuses will be the most-frequent attack vector resulting in data breaches for enterprise web applications.” Since every mobile app out there is powered by APIs, securing them is clearly a top priority.
“It's the wave of the future,” declared the US State of West Virginia's Secretary of State of following a limited deployment of a blockchain-based voting app for the state's general midterm elections. For cybersecurity and election integrity advocates, however, the move was “an example of all the things states shouldn’t do when it comes to securing their elections.”
In this article you will start by learning what Third Party APIs are, and why you shouldn’t access them directly from within your mobile app. Next you will learn what a Reverse Proxy is, followed by when and why you should use it to protect the access to the Third Party APIs used in your mobile app.
As APIs become a critical part of almost every business, the need to build a robust API security strategy grows infinitely. API calls account for 83% of web traffic, according to the Akamai 2019 [state of the internet] / security: Retail Attacks and API Traffic report. The largest API directory now lists nearly 22,000 public APIs, up from 12,000 in 2015. A majority of companies now consider APIs to be critical to business strategy and imperative for developing partner ecosystems, enhancing customer value and creating new revenue opportunities. Cloud Elements, in its third annual State of API Integration report, recently found that businesses planned to deploy an average of 18 new APIs in 2019, compared to just 11.5 in 2018.