How to Use Session Headers in Mobile Bot Defense

Last updated May 19, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Validate Session Headers in Mobile 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 employ a multi-layered approach with application fingerprinting to guarantee a tamper-proof payload and 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.

To learn more about additional features offered under Session Headers, please refer to the knowledge base article, How to Use Appdome MobileBOT™ Defense

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 Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile 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. Mobile App Formats: .ipa for iOS, or .apk or .aab for Android
    4. Session Headers Compatible With: Obj-C, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  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, Circle 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 > Session Headers 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 Threat-Events™ for Session Headers Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Session Headers is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Session Headers in Mobile Apps, use AddObserverForName in Notification Center, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Session Headers shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Session Headers are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Validate Session Headers Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Session Headers
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTION Appdome detects the attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (app chooses how and when to enforce).
ON, IN-APP DEFENSE Uses Appdome Enforce mode for any attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (gather intel on attacks and threats without losing any protection).
Certified Secure™ Threat Event Check x
Visible in ThreatScope™ x
Developer Parameters for Validating Session Headers Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
message Message displayed for the user on event
externalID The external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersion OS version of the current device
deviceModel Current device model
deviceManufacturer The manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppToken The task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfo Info about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmn PLMN of the device
deviceID Current device ID
reasonCode Reason code of the occured event
buildDate Appdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatform OS name of the current device
carrierName Carrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersion Is the OS version up to date
deviceBrand Brand of the device
deviceBoard Board of the device
buildUser Build user
buildHost Build host
sdkVersion Sdk version
timeZone Time zone
deviceFaceDown Is the device face down
locationLong Location longitude conditioned by location permission
locationLat Location latitude conditioned by location permission
locationState Location state conditioned by location permission
wifiSsid Wifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatus Wifi SSID permission status

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), Mobile developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in Mobile applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Session Headers is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Session Headers:


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile 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:

Related Articles:

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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