How to Block Mobile Bots with Private Certificates

Last updated January 22, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Block Mobile Client Certificates in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is a bot/botnet?

A botnet is a network of computers that have been taken over (hijacked), which are exploited by hackers for performing malicious activities such as DDoS, cyber-attacks, or sending spam email messages.

 

How does Appdome block Bot/Botnet attacks?

Important: Service for the Mobile Client Certificate feature has ended as of December 31st 2023.
We invite you to upgrade to our Mobile Bot Defense solution for enhanced mobile app security. For more information, please contact our support team at support.appdome.com.


Appdome uses Mobile Client Certificate,  a feature that helps secure the communication between the App and the server by using a specific certificate. The Appdome platform will use that certificate, extract its hash, and include it in all requests from the mobile app. You can upload a certificate to the Appdome GUI and build the app. The app will automatically include that certificate hash in the requests.

The certificate hash will help verify request comes from a valid Mobile App versus a Bot/Botnet. The Web Application Firewall (WAF) can filter the traffic based on that shared secret and allow the traffic if the hash exists in the request header. Having the certificate hash in the request indicates that the request is authentic and coming from a valid app versus a fake Bot/Botnet.

Prerequisites for Using Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block Mobile Client Certificates , you’ll need:

Block Mobile Client Certificates on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Block Mobile Client Certificates without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. Mobile App Formats: .ipa for iOS, or .apk or .aab for Android
    4. Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates Compatible With: Obj-C, C+, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates.

    1. Building Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature via Appdome Console, to add the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set, as shown in Figure 1 above, and get the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below): fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Cirlce CI or other system:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > Secure Communication section.
      2. When you select the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates

        Fusion Set applied Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates feature in Mobile Apps.

    After building Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates shown in Certificate secure

    Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate

    Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates has been added to each Mobile app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.

Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Bot Defense-Mobile Client Certificates

After successfully securing your app by using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include:

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If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

Thanks for visiting Appdome! Our mission is to secure every app on the planet by making mobile app security easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project.

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