Store Encrypted Secrets in Protected Memory of Android & iOS apps
Learn to Use Store in Protected Memory in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.
Why Store Encrypted Secrets in Android & iOS Memory?
Despite the protections provided by iOS and Android sandboxing, application memory is not always secure. There are various scenarios where memory can be exposed:
- Specialized kernels that remove memory protection
- In rooted mobile devices:
- (iOS) Users can use the function vm_read to view the app memory.
- (Android) Users can view the app memory files under /proc/<pid>/mem
- Zero-day attacks
- Malicious dynamic reverse-engineering and debugging attempts on the app.
To counter these threats, Appdome covers most of these scenarios with features like Jailbreak and Root Detection and Anti-Debugging protection. Moreover, the Store in Protected Memory solution was developed by Appdome to ensure complete protection and hardening of mobile app data and secrets.
What is Appdome's Approach to Encrypted Memory Storage?
Appdome stores sensitive data (secrets) and encrypts it in the process’s memory, ensuring that the data remains encrypted throughout the entire process runtime. When the application accesses this memory, it reads the original data, while any external access only reads the encrypted data.
Due to the nature of encrypted memory, accessing it takes longer than usual. For this reason, Appdome chooses not to encrypt the entire process memory. Instead, it encrypts only the essential information generated by the application when enabling features like Appdome’s In-App Generated Seed and Smart Offline Handoff.
When storing those generated keys, Appdome employs encrypted memory, ensuring the secrets remain protected. It’s crucial to note that, for full protection of the keys, app developers must adhere to responsible coding practices. This includes wiping the secret from within the app code after it has been passed to Appdome. Failure to do so can result in the secret becoming exposed if the application’s memory is dumped.
Prerequisites to Using Store in Protected Memory:
To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Use Store in Protected Memory , you’ll need:
- Appdome account (create a free Appdome account here)
- A license for Store in Protected Memory
- Mobile App (.ipa For iOS device or .apk or .aab For Mobile)
- Signing Credentials (see Signing Secure Android apps and Signing Secure iOS apps)
Use Store in Protected Memory on Mobile apps using Appdome
On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Use Store in Protected Memory without an SDK or gateway:
Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.
Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System
Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
Mobile App Formats: .ipa For iOS device or .apk or .aab
Store in Protected Memory Compatible With: Obj-C, C+, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
Build the feature: Store in Protected Memory.
Congratulations! The Store in Protected Memory protection is now added to the mobile app
Building Store in Protected Memory by using Appdome’s DEV-API:
Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Store in Protected Memory feature as shown below:
Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Store in Protected Memory feature via Appdome Console, to add the Store in Protected Memory feature to this Fusion Set.
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):
Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).
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:
Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Store in Protected Memory feature
Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).
Building the Store in Protected Memory feature via Appdome Console
To build the Store in Protected Memory protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.
Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALData™ Encryption section
How: Toggle (turn ON) Store in Protected Memory, as shown below.
Figure 3: Use Store in Protected Memory option
When you select the Store in Protected Memory you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Store in Protected Memory
Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Store in Protected Memory protection
Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
Certify the Store in Protected Memory feature in Mobile Apps.
After building Store in Protected Memory, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Store in Protected Memory protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Store in Protected Memory protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below:
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 Store in Protected Memory has been added to each Mobile app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Store in Protected Memory 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 Store in Protected Memory. 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 Store in Protected Memory
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:
- Customizing, Configuring & Branding Secure Mobile Apps
- Deploying/Publishing Secure mobile apps to Public or Private app stores
- Releasing Secured Android & iOS Apps built on Appdome.
All apps protected by Appdome are fully compatible with any public app store, including Apple App Store, Google Play, Huawei App Gallery and more.
- How to Encrypt App Contants & Strings in iOS Apps
- How to Provide Secure Offline Data Access for iOS & Android
- How to Encrypt Data at Rest in Android or 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.
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.