How to Prevent SSL Cookie Hijacking in Android & iOS Apps

Last updated May 19, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Prevent Cookie Hijacking in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Cookie Hijacking?

SSL or HTTP cookies are small packets of data stored in your app or browser that are used to facilitate accessing websites or logging into remote services (such as a mobile bank account). Cookies usually contain sensitive data like passwords or user information and is therefore vulnerable to attacks. Cookie hijacking is an attack method used by hackers to access cookies that belong to legitimate mobile users, usually for purposes of impersonating the user, accessing their account, conducting account takeovers (ATO), intercepting communications sessions, or other malicious reasons.

When cookies are generated, they can only be viewed by you – the site owner. No other website can view your cookies. But these cookies travel across the internet. They are used by ad services and analytics services, so they bounce around from server to server all across the globe. If the connection is not secure, a hacker can easily intercept or access the cookies as part of a mobile man-in-the-middle (MITM attack).

One of the most common ways hackers steal cookies is if they are using the same wifi as you. This kind of wifi hacking is called man-in-the-middle attack and can take place only if both are connected to the same wireless network. This can also happen to users within the same computer networks.

Why Prevent Cookie Hijacking in Mobile Apps?

Hijacking cookies is just as powerful (sometimes more so) than stealing a user’s password. It’s possible that with cookie hijacking, hackers can gain unlimited access to all of your resources. For example, an attacker may steal your identity or confidential company data; purchase items; or steal from your bank account.

A cookie attack is often initiated when an attacker sends a user a fake login. The victim clicks the fake link, which lets the attacker steal the cookie – actually, anything the user types in can be captured by the attacker. The attacker then puts that cookie in their browser and is able to impersonate the legitimate user.

Sometimes, a fake link isn’t even needed. If a user is in a session on an unsecured, public Wi-Fi connection, hackers can easily steal the data traveling through the connection. This can happen even if the site is secure and your username and password are encrypted.

Appdome detects, prohibits, and protects app connections against cookie hijacking by validating the server SSL certificate chain’s authenticity and providing authenticity proof to the server on behalf of the client.

Prerequisites for Using Prevent Cookie Hijacking:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent Cookie Hijacking , you’ll need:

Prevent Cookie Hijacking on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Prevent Cookie Hijacking 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. Prevent Cookie Hijacking Compatible With: Obj-C, C+, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Prevent Cookie Hijacking.

    1. Building Prevent Cookie Hijacking by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Prevent Cookie Hijacking feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Prevent Cookie Hijacking

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Prevent Cookie Hijacking 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 Prevent Cookie Hijacking feature via Appdome Console, to add the Prevent Cookie Hijacking 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 Prevent Cookie Hijacking feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Prevent Cookie Hijacking 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 enable MiTM Prevention you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Prevent Cookie Hijacking

        Fusion Set applied Prevent Cookie Hijacking

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Prevent Cookie Hijacking protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Prevent Cookie Hijacking protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Prevent Cookie Hijacking. 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 Prevent Cookie Hijacking

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:

Related Articles:

How to Prevent Session Hijacking Attacks in Android & iOS Apps

How to Detect Deep Proxy in Android Apps

How to Prevent Session Replay Attacks in Android & iOS Apps

 

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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