How to Perform SSL Pinning in iOS Apps?

How to Perform SSL Pinning in iOS Apps?

july 27, 2023 12:35PM

SSL Pinning in iOS Apps - PerfectionGeeks

When people get out of their houses to go out in search of WiFi networks that are open. If they're waiting at the airport or an eatery, the main goal is to locate an open Wi-Fi network.

Incredibly, hackers are on the same search. They wait for users to make a connection request through the network before putting their phishing minds to work, and then they take away sensitive information, or even worse, the money that is in their bank accounts.

Although HTTPS can be effective to a certain extent, it's an SSL protocol that is known to keep users safe because it's a sturdily secure and unbreakable protocol. However, Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) cyber attacks have been able to penetrate this as well.

This is where the SSL Pinning technique enters as one of the top mobile security methods. Particularly for platforms, it's the perfect iPhone app security tool that does a fantastic job of resolving the issue.

In this article, we're going to explore the various ways and processes for including SSL Pinning in iOS apps to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. This is a vital element that is part of the OWASP test of mobile security practice.

Types of SSL Certificate Pinning Methods

There are two main methods to conduct an SSL Pinning test, as discussed in the following paragraphs:

  • The certificate is saved. It is possible to download the server's certifications and include them in the application. When the app is running, it will compare the server's certificate to those that you've embedded.

  • The public key is pinched. You can find the certificate's public key inside the code in a unicode string. When the application is running, it will compare the certificate's public key with one that has been hard-coded into the code.

The choice of one of the SSL pin iOS options is based on the server configuration you have and your specific requirements. If you select the first option, you'll need to install the application every time the server updates its certificate or ceases to function. If you select option 2, you could violate the policy on key rotation because the public key won't change.

Let's take a look at how to incorporate SSL Pinning in your iOS application

Note: The steps listed below are based on the procedure for iOS certificate pinning using Swift.

How do you implement SSL Pinning into your iOS App?

  • NSURLSession

    In the case of NSURLSession, the primary method for handling SSL pinning is URLSession: didReceiveChallenge:completion Handler: delegate. IOS app developers need to configure the class to conform to URLSessionDelegate and copy this function into the class:

    It is the iPhone application developer that checks the certificates on the server against those stored within the bundle of apps. If both certificates are similar, the authentication process will allow them through, and the client can join the server.

  • Alamofire Certificate Pinning

    Alamofire is one of the more renowned libraries that supports HTTP networking in the Swift language. It is a built-in function to support SSL Pinning in iOS apps and is extremely user-friendly. This is how you can create an extremely secure iOS app using Alamofire Certificate Pinning.

Common Issues Associated With SSL Pinning Implementation and How to Solve Them

SSL Pinning in iOS Apps - PerfectionGeeks

It is the Quality Assurance Experts of reputed agencies for app development that regularly test mobile applications for security flaws, including complete network penetration. However, there are numerous agencies testing apps that don't examine this area with as much passion. They're hesitant to implement this specific iPhone security feature within their applications.

Here are a few of the common reasons for this: These are the most prevalent reasons:

  • One of the major drawbacks of SSL pins within the iOS app is their implementation. It is a complex process and can require developers to write code over and over again, which can make the process of creating apps more difficult.

  • iOS SSL certificates, which are susceptible to changing frequently, could cause developers to upgrade the app's binary every time the certificate changes.

  • Many steps must be taken to secure ways to evade iOS SSL verification.

In light of the negative consequences that a stage's absence could result in, here's how common mistakes can be avoided by a trusted iPhone app design firm.

Testing the pin

In contrast to regular app testing, where you check whether or not everything functions, the procedure for the SSL testing of pinning is to test whether or not something is failing. The focus will be on ensuring that the application removes any potentially compromised connections. If the app allows communication between a single endpoint, the testing process is as easy as sending a GET request in an undefined state. Ideally, in this situation, the app should be able to terminate the connection, and the request will be unsuccessful.

Handling changes to certificates

A domain certificate that is renewed will retain the key pair public/private; however, this isn't always the case. However, if you plan the upgrade process properly, it will be possible to minimise the time it takes for users.

To ensure that the iOS SSL certificate is made active through the website, you need to add it to the app, along with the certificate that is currently active, and then issue an update. If we follow this procedure on Appinventiv to build an encrypted iOS app, we conduct an initial test using the new certificate for a short period and test the application with both certificates pinned.

FAQs About SSL Pinning in iOS Applications

  • Where can sensitive data be stored within the iOS app?

    The app's sensitive information should always be saved within iCloud or Keychain within iOS or in a database following appropriate encryption.

  • What is SSL?

SSL Pinning is among the most popular iOS app security tricks. To fully understand what it is, you must first be aware of how SSL operates.

  • A browser tries to connect to a site that is secured by SSL. The browser then asks the server to authenticate it.

  • The web server sends the browser an SSL Certificate copy.

  • The browser will check whether the SSL certificate can be verified. If it's trusted, a message will be transmitted to the web server.

  • The Web server sends back an acknowledgment that will begin the SSL secure session.

  • The encrypted data is later transmitted between the browser and the web server.

Ending Thoughts

While SSL Pinning is regarded as secure and widely used whenever encryption is required, an additional layer of security is always appreciated when creating high-risk applications. SSL pins allow you to confirm the identity of the server in the SSL chain of trust.

With SSL pins, you can block all connections except those that are connected to the server that has an SSL certificate that we've saved to the bundle we have locally. One potential disadvantage is that you must refresh the application each time your server's SSL key changes.

If you're contemplating launching an iOS app that includes SSL pins, it could be a good idea to find the most reliable iOS app development services.

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