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Snapshot of Apple’s September Keynote

With the action-packed latest keynote stream at the Steve Jobs theatre, Apple unveiled a smorgasbord of innovation. Starting from the top dog, the new series of iPhone range from the 10.2-inch retina display iPad, the Series 5 Apple Watch to Apple arcade and Apple TV+; CEO Tim Cook got the Apple devotees all worked up at the event.

Unleashing the new range of Apple iPhones:

Featured with an ultra-wide triple camera, a super-powerful bionic A13 chipset with focus on Machine learning across the chip; and 4K video capturing with image stabilization at 60fps; Tim Cook introduced the new iPhone and then handed off to Phil Schiller for the walkthrough.

Starting from a price range of $699 and being available in three variants i.e. iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple’s new launch took the adherents by the big billow. Losing share to local rivals in China seems to be betting that a lower-price point on its iPhone series and improved marketing can help move the needle. 

Now selfie is a word of the past. With 12 MP slo-mo selfie capture at 120 fps or 4K at 60fps Apple gave the Gen Z a new buzz word, “Slofie”. The sleek compact design with a super retina XDR display makes the phone splash-proof, water-resistant and even dust resistant.

As per critics, the iPhone 11 is somewhat an upgraded version of iPhone XR. How badly do you want to save $100, is the biggest question of the hour.

Apple Watch Series 5:

The redesigned, bigger and smarter upgrade with customisable watch faces of the Apple Watch marks the beginning of the end of the war on bezels. The Apple Watch Series 5 marked the return of ceramic and the introduction of titanium.

Health and fitness are always the major focus, with communications being the minor. Apple in its new launch of smartwatch, besides the always-on retina display and compass, added the feature of a complete fitness band. 

Apple iPad:

Creating more hustle and no hassle for the consumers. Apple launches it’s 10.2- inch retina display iPad with A10 fusion power chip for gaming. Powered by an 8MP back camera and a face time HD cam the new Apple iPad, now has a battery life of 10 hours.

Accessorised with a full-size smart keyboard and an Apple pencil makes it suitable for many productivity tasks from school assignments to official presentations; making it a struggle-free option for every situation.  

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+:

Unlike any other game subscription services, the Apple Arcade comes with more than 100 incredibly exciting new sets of games. Designed by the top innovative developers of the world. With unlimited access to all the games, Apple Arcade is priced at a monthly subscription of only $4.99.

Not much to offer for the mass Indian consumers at the moment; Apple TV+ would be an upcoming  American ad-free subscription, video-on-demand web television service.

TV+ will have far less than the deep catalogues offered by Hulu and Netflix. Though priced at $4.99/month, it will be years before Apple TV+ helps the company’s bottom line. 

Apple’s September event was coupled with some hardware tweaks and surprising price drops.

Let us know what grabbed your attention about this year? 
If you missed the other major events of the year read our snapshots of Facebook F8 2019 and Google i/O 2019.

To know us in person, drop a Hi at hello@mantralabsglobal.com

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12 Tips To Secure Your Mobile Application

Cyber attacks and data theft have become so common these days especially when it comes to mobile applications. As a result, mobile apps that experience security breaches may suffer financial losses. With many hackers eyeing to steal customer data, securing these applications has become the number one priority for organizations and a serious challenge for developers. According to Gartner’s recent research, Hype Cycle for Application Security, investment in application security will increase by more than two-fold over the next few years, from $6 billion this year to $13.7 billion by 2026. Further, the report stated, “Application security is now top-of-mind for developers and security professionals, and the emphasis is now turning to apps hosted in public clouds,” It is crucial to get the fundamental components of DevOps security correct. Here are the 12 tips to secure your mobile application: 

1. Install apps from trusted sources:

It’s common to have Android applications republished on alternate markets or their APKs & IPAs made available for download. Both APK and IPA may be downloaded and installed from a variety of places, including websites, cloud services, drives, social media, and social networking. Only the Play Store and the App Store should be allowed to install trustworthy APK and IPA files. To prevent utilizing these apps, we should have a source check detection (Play Store or App Store) upon app start.

Also read, https://andresand.medium.com/add-method-to-check-which-app-store-the-android-app-is-installed-from-or-if-its-sideloaded-c9f450a3d069

2. Root Detection:

Android: An attacker could launch a mobile application on a rooted device and access the local memory or call specific activities or intents to perform malicious activities in the application. 

iOS: Applications on a jailbroken device run as root outside of the iOS sandbox. This can allow applications to access sensitive data stored in other apps or install malicious software negating sandboxing functionality. 

More on Root Detection- https://owasp.org/www-project-mobile-top-10/2016-risks/m8-code-tampering

3. Data Storing:

Developers use Shared Preferences & User Defaults to store key-value pairs like tokens, mobile numbers, email, boolean values, etc. Additionally, while creating apps, developers prefer SQLite databases for structured data. It is recommended to store any data in the format of encryption so that it is difficult to extract the information by hackers.

4. Secure Secret Keys:

API keys, passwords, and tokens shouldn’t be hardcoded in the code. It is recommended to use different techniques to store these values so that hackers cannot get away quickly by tampering with the application. 

Here’s a reference link: https://guides.codepath.com/android/Storing-Secret-Keys-in-Android

5. Code Obfuscation

An attacker may decompile the APK file and extract the source code of the application. This may expose sensitive information stored in the source code of the application to the attacker which may be used to perform tailored attacks. 

It is better to obfuscate the source code to prevent all the sensitive information contained in the source code.

6. Secure Communication:

An attacker may perform malicious activities to leverage the level of attacks since all communication is happening over unencrypted channels. So always use HTTPS URLs over HTTP URLs.

7. SSL Pinning:

Certificate pinning allows mobile applications to restrict communication only to servers with a valid certificate matching the expected value (pin). Pinning ensures that no network data is compromised even if a user is tricked into installing a malicious root certificate on their mobile device. Any app that pins its certificates would thwart such phishing attempts by refusing to transmit data over a compromised connection

Please refer: 

https://owasp.org/www-community/controls/Certificate_and_Public_Key_Pinning

8. Secure API request & response data

The standard practice is to use HTTPS for the baseline protection of REST API calls. The information sent to the server or received from the server may be further encrypted with AES, etc. For example, if there are sensitive contents, you might choose to select those to encrypt so that even if the HTTPS is somehow broken or misconfigured, you have another layer of protection from your encryption.

9. Secure Mobile App Authentication:

In case an application does not assign distinct and complex session tokens after login to a user, an attacker can conduct phishing in order to lure the victim to use a custom-generated token provided by the attacker and easily bypass the login page with the captured session by using a MiTM attack.

i) Assign a distinct and complex session token to a user each time he/she logs on successfully to the application. 

ii) Terminate the session lifetime immediately after logging out. 

iii) Do not use the same session token for two or more IP addresses. 

iv) Limit the expiry time for every session token.

10.  Allow Backup 

Disallow users to back up an app if it contains sensitive data. Having access to backup files (i.e. when android:allowBackup=”true”), it is possible to modify/read the content of an app even on a non-rooted device. So it is recommended to make allow backup false. 

11. Restrict accessing android application screens from other apps

Ideally, your activities should not give any provision to the opening from other services or applications. Make it true only when you have a specific requirement to access your flutter screens from other apps otherwise change to android:exported= ”false”

12. Restrict installing packages from the android application

REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES permission allows apps to install new packages on a user’s device. We are committed to preventing abuse on the Android platform and protecting users from apps that self-update using any method other than Google Play’s update mechanism or download harmful APKs.

Conclusion: 

Mobile Apps have become more personalized than ever before with heaps of customers’ personal data stored in them every day. In order to build trust and loyalty among users and prevent significant financial and credential losses for the companies, it is now crucial to make sure the application is secure for the user. Following the above-mentioned mobile app security checklists will definitely help to prevent hackers from hacking the app.

About the Author:

Raviteja Aketi is a Senior Software Engineer at Mantra Labs. He has extensive experience with B2B projects. Raviteja loves exploring new technologies, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

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