[Owasp-leaders] OWASP Mobile Top Ten 2014 - M10 Datapoints

Jim Manico jim.manico at owasp.org
Wed Nov 5 07:41:51 UTC 2014

Certificate pinning does hard-code •secrets•, it hard-codes the •public•
SSL/TLS key. This is a significant difference, Jonathan.

Jim Manico
(808) 652-3805

On Nov 5, 2014, at 11:38 AM, Jonathan Carter <jonathan.carter at owasp.org>

While M10 does touch on digital rights management, it goes far beyond
that.  Here's an easy example: certificate pinning.  Certificate pinning is
a classic coding technique that relies upon hardcoded data.  This security
control has an inherent set of other related binary vulnerabilities that
would allow an attacker to completely bypass or disable your flawlessly
written code.  You must make it as difficult as possible to prevent someone
from modifying that hardocded data.  If they do, you've completely made
your certificate pinning control irrelevant.  This is what M10 is touching
on and it's something that OWASP really doesn't like to talk about or

On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 7:12 PM, Tim <tim.morgan at owasp.org> wrote:

> Hi Leaders,
> I have brought up my concerns about M10 before and I have done a fair
> bit of thinking about this since then.  I think it would be useful to
> re-frame the discussion with some more subtle distinctions:
> 0. Are all software security risks also considered business risks?
>    Yes, I would say so.  It is hard to find a computer security risk
>    that doesn't pose some kind of business risk.
> 1. Are all business risks considered security risks?
>    No, I definitely don't think so.  There are plenty of things
>    outside of the realm of software security that are very real
>    business risks (e.g. employees running over a business partner in
>    the parking lot by accident).
> 2. Is binary modification/repackaging a real business risk to
>    intellectual property?
>    Yes!  It is happening already.  An attacker could repackage your
>    app, redistribute, and reap benefits from app stores based on your
>    hard work.
> 3. How is mobile reverse engineering and/or repackaging a security
>    risk?
>    Yes, specifically:
>    A) Reverse engineering can expose crypto keys and any other secrets
>       that are foolishly embedded in the app.
>    B) Repackaging can be used to try and fool users into installing
>       the wrong version of an application which has malicious intent.
>       Very similar to phishing.
> 4. Does mobile app obfuscation/monitoring/anti-reverse engineering
>    technology help solve a *business* risk?
>    Yes, in that it raises the cost of reusing the compiled version of
>    the software.  Raise the cost enough, and the attacker might as
>    well write their own app.  Even if you don't raise the cost *that*
>    high, you reduce the number of people willing to target your app
>    specifically.
> 5. Does mobile app obfuscation/monitoring/anti-reverse engineering
>    technology help solve a *security* risk?
>    No, I don't think so.
>    Regarding (3A)-- If crypto keys/credentials/etc are valuable, it
>    doesn't take a whole lot of effort decode an obfuscated binary to
>    get that them.  Definitely worth the minimal effort.
>    Regarding (3B)-- If cloning apps like this is effective against
>    users, then it's just as easy to copy the images from the company's
>    website, slap it on a "hello world" app, add a login form, and
>    poof: you have users' credentials.  You don't need to clone a whole
>    app to fool users.
> I think many folks on each side of the discussion are correct in what
> they are saying, but they are talking about different things.  Look at
> the issue with a slightly higher resolution, particularly in the
> context of what attacks are actually applicable, and it all becomes
> much more clear:  Remove M10.  (After all, OWASP is primarily about
> computer security, not digital rights management.)
> Cheers,
> tim

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