How to Enforce Rate Limiting in MobileBOT™ Defense

Last updated May 19, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Enforce Rate-Limit Connections in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Rate Limiting?

Rate limiting is a strategy for limiting network traffic. It puts a cap on how often someone can repeat an action within a certain timeframe – for instance, trying to log in to an account. Rate limiting can help stop certain kinds of malicious bot activity. It can also reduce strain on web servers.

Rate limiting is often employed to stop bad bots from negatively impacting a website or application. Bot attacks that rate limiting can help mitigate include:

  • Brute force attacks
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack

How Does Appdome Rate Limiting Connections Work?

Traditional rate limiting strategies primarily focus on monitoring the number of requests coming from each IP address within a certain timeframe. By analyzing the time between requests and the quantity, these systems identify potential abusive patterns. While conventional systems rely on Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) to enforce rate limiting on the server-side, Appdome takes this security measure one step further by enforcing rate-limit connections directly within the mobile application itself.

In addition to this in-app enforcement, Appdome now provides app developers with the option to add multiple enforcement URLs to the Rate Limit Connections feature. These URLs function independently and are not linked to the main session headers protected host. This arrangement ensures there is no future dependency with the list under Session Headers, permitting distinct and separate enforcement mechanisms for each URL. Importantly, while incorporating these URLs, developers must ensure that the base URL’s length remains unchanged.

For example, if a user repeatedly attempts to log into their account and fails, traditional rate limiting might lock the account or delay further login attempts, typically based on the user’s IP address or username. Attackers can sometimes circumvent IP-based restrictions using different IP addresses, or they might exploit username-based limitations by cycling through a list of known usernames with common passwords. Appdome’s in-app rate limiting addresses these loopholes. By monitoring the login attempts directly from the application, it identifies excessive login behaviors more accurately, regardless of any IP address changes or username strategies employed by attackers. Users making frequent unsuccessful login attempts will encounter a message indicating they’ve exceeded the allowed number of tries, advising them when they can attempt to log in again or that their account access has been temporarily restricted.

 

Note: When Rate Limit User Notifications are set, they apply to all protected hosts that are using Rate Limit Connections.

Prerequisites for Using Rate-Limit Connections:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Enforce Rate-Limit Connections , you’ll need:

Enforce Rate-Limit Connections on Mobile apps using Appdome

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

    1. Building Rate-Limit Connections by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Rate-Limit Connections 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 Rate-Limit Connections feature via Appdome Console, to add the Rate-Limit Connections 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 Rate-Limit Connections feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Rate-Limit Connections protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

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

        Fusion Set applied Rate-Limit Connections

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Rate-Limit Connections protection

      3. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Rate-Limit Connections:
        1. Threat-Events™ OFF > In-App Defense

          If the Threat-Events™ setting is cleared (not selected). Appdome will detect and defend the user and app by enforcing Enforce Rate-Limit Connections.

        2. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Detection

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects when the Rate Limit is reached and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence to the app’s business logic for processing, enforcement, and user notification. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Rate-Limit Connections Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

        3. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Defense

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Rate-Limit Connections (same as Appdome Enforce) and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence the app’s business logic for processing. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Rate-Limit Connections Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

      4. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Rate-Limit Connections protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Rate-Limit Connections Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Rate-Limit Connections are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Enforce Rate-Limit Connections Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Rate-Limit Connections
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
Visible in ThreatScope™
Developer Parameters for Enforcing Rate-Limit Connections Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME MobileBotDefenseRateLimitReached
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6801
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 Rate-Limit Connections is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Rate-Limit Connections:


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Rate-Limit Connections. 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 Rate-Limit Connections

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.

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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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