How to Use Session Headers in Mobile Bot Defense

Last updated February 26, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Validate Session Headers in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What are Session Headers?

In the context of mobile app security, session headers play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and integrity of user sessions. Their fundamental purpose is to provide a robust security layer that assists in accurately identifying and assessing the security status of each session within a mobile application. This functionality is essential for distinguishing between sessions that are secure and those that are potentially compromised or at risk.

The use of session headers enhances an app’s defense mechanisms against sophisticated cyber threats, such as session replay attacks. By implementing session headers, an application can maintain a vigilant check on the security of its data transmissions, ensuring that the communication between the app and its server remains secure and trustworthy.

How Does Appdome Implement Session Headers?

Appdome’s Session Headers employs a multi-layered approach with application fingerprinting to guarantee not only a tamper-proof payload but also to enhance the WAF’s ability to thwart session replay attacks. This structure offers the WAF insight into the security status of the device running the protected app. Moreover, the WAF can obtain data on threats identified by the protected app and can accurately differentiate between attacks coming from various devices.

Safe Session: Represents sessions that are determined to be safe or not at risk of any threat.

At Risk Session: Represents sessions that are potentially under threat or have detected anomalies.

Payload Signing Key: The public key that Appdome uses to encrypt the payload.

Prerequisites for Using Session Headers:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Validate Session Headers , you’ll need:

Validate Session Headers on Android apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Validate Session Headers 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. Android Formats: .apk or .aab
    4. Session Headers Compatible With: Java, JS, C++, C#, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and other Android apps
  2. Build the feature: Session Headers.

    1. Building Session Headers by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

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

      To build the Session Headers protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

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

        Fusion Set applied Session Headers

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Session Headers protection

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

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Session Headers. 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 Session Headers

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 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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