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.
More details of the UK's controversial NHSX contact tracing app are being released as the app starts a wider scale trial on the Isle of Wight this week. NHSX is a digital transformation group associated with the UK National Health Service.
Why controversial? There are many reasons, some to do with how the app development was initially procured, but also specifically from a technical perspective as the UK has opted for a centralised contact tracing approach rather than the decentralised model being championed by Apple and Google amongst others (including ourselves).
Google announced Android App Bundles a couple of years ago at I/O 2018. App Bundles are a new app publishing format providing new features that have rapidly driven their adoption. In particular App Bundle delivery enables automatic splitting of various assets within the overall app package, so they are only delivered to a device if they are actually needed.
Our aim is to make the process of integrating Approov into your mobile app as simple as possible. Our Quickstart guides show you how to Approov into your app, tailored to whatever framework or programming style you’ve already adopted. In this blog we are going to cover the comprehensive options we have for Android Native app development.
In recent weeks we have been following the race to build contact tracing smartphone apps in the worldwide fight against COVID-19. Such apps are a powerful weapon in controlling the growth of infection by automating the scaling of the contact tracing process. By tracking interactions between people, the apps allow instant user notification if they have recently been in close proximity with anyone later diagnosed with COVID-19. This allows immediate social distancing or self isolation measures to be instituted for that potential infected user, slowing the spread of the virus. It would have been better if these apps were widely available during the initial phase of the pandemic, but they may still have a crucial role to play as we eventually emerge from full lockdown We have some specific suggestions about how this can be achieved while maintaining citizen anonymity.
In a previous article we saw how to protect the https communication channel between a mobile app and an API server with certificate pinning, and as promised at the end of that article we will now see how to bypass certificate pinning.
To demonstrate how to bypass certificate pinning we will use the same Currency Converter Demo mobile app that was used in the previous article.
In this article you will learn how to repackage a mobile app in order to make it trust custom ssl certificates. This will allow us to bypass certificate pinning.