How to Secure Android & iOS Apps with Pin to Host

Last updated March 11, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Use Pin to Host in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Pin to Host?

Pin to Host is an advanced Appdome MOBILEBot™ Defense feature designed to fortify mobile applications against a range of cyber attacks by establishing a more secure and controlled communication channel between the app and its designated server. Building on the principles of Secure Certificate Pinning, which focuses on validating the server’s SSL certificate against a known set of certificates embedded in the app, Pin to Host goes a step further by incorporating advanced security measures. These include enforcing specific cipher suites, TLS (Transport Layer Security) versions, and the integration of session headers. This combination of security measures ensures that mobile applications can securely connect to their designated servers, not just by verifying the server’s certificate but also by ensuring that the communication employs the most secure and up-to-date encryption standards. Through this comprehensive approach, Pin to Host offers a tighter security loop, significantly enhancing the application’s ability to protect data during transmission.

Why Pin to Host is Essential for Mobile App Security?

The adoption of Pin to Host is particularly beneficial in protecting mobile apps against various cyber threats, such as man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, where attackers intercept and potentially alter the communication between the app and its server. By enforcing the use of pre-defined cipher suites and TLS versions, Pin to Host minimizes the risks associated with weak encryption algorithms and outdated security protocols, which are common entry points for hackers. Furthermore, Pin to Host’s compatibility with Session Headers adds an additional layer of security, ensuring that each session is uniquely authenticated and encrypted. This is especially important in scenarios where sensitive information, such as personal data and financial transactions, is transmitted between the app and the server. By leveraging the advanced capabilities of Pin to Host, app developers can provide a safer environment for their users, instilling confidence and ensuring a secure user experience across both iOS and Android mobile applications.

Note: Please be aware that the Security Certificate Pinning and the Anti Bot Pin to Host are mutually exclusive. Implementing them together will result in a conflict within the engine. Ensure to use only one method at a time to avoid potential issues.

Prerequisites for Using Pin to Host:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Use Pin to Host , you’ll need:

Use Pin to Host on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Use Pin to Host 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. Pin to Host Compatible With: Obj-C, C+, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Pin to Host.

    1. Building Pin to Host by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Pin to Host 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 Pin to Host feature via Appdome Console, to add the Pin to Host 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 Pin to Host feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Pin to Host protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Anti Bot Tab > MOBILEBot™ Defense section.
      2. When you select the Pin to Host you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Pin to Host

        Fusion Set applied Pin to Host

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Pin to Host protection

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

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Pin to Host. 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 Pin to Host

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 Use Session Headers in Mobile Bot Defense

How to Enforce Rate Limiting in MOBILEBot™ Defense

How to Use Appdome MOBILEBot™ Defense

Use TLSVerify to Test TLS Connections for Mobile Apps

If you have any questions, please send them our way at 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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