Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X Naukri.com. Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X Naukri.com
Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Security Issues
2.1.
Storage of Sensitive Information
2.1.1.
Solutions to help Storage of Secure Information
2.2.
Selecting Local Storage for data persistence
2.2.1.
Security Issue
2.2.2.
Solutions to help in Local Storage for Data Persistence
2.3.
Deep Linking
2.3.1.
Security Issue
2.3.2.
Security solutions to overcome this issue of deep linking
2.4.
Android Specific Security Issues
2.5.
iOS Specific Security Concerns
2.6.
Authentication Issues
2.6.1.
Security Issue
2.6.2.
Security solutions to overcome this issue
2.7.
SSL Encryption & SSL Pinning
2.7.1.
Security Issue
2.7.2.
Security Solution
3.
Monitoring JavaScript Vulnerabilities
4.
Why is security needed in React Native Applications?
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
Why React Native is less secure?
5.2.
Define keychain in React Native?
5.3.
Define network security and SSL pinning React Native?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Easy

React Native App Security

Author Ankit Mishra
0 upvote
Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
Speaker
Ashwin Goyal
Product Manager @

Introduction

Developing a smartphone app requires more than just navigation and animations. Data security is one of the most important considerations while designing a mobile app, especially when it comes to sensitive data when any security compromise might result in irrevocable damage.

Almost every app contains sensitive user information. Therefore app security is essential, especially when dealing with passcodes, touch ids, account names, credit card information, and other sensitive data. Many businesses choose to hire software development firms to ensure that their apps are highly functioning and feature-rich. However, they frequently disregard the security of their app.

Source

All JavaScript-based frameworks, including React native, are subject to security concerns. From the perspective of react native security, the various components of the framework, as well as the connections between them, must be considered.

Now, let's discuss the common Security issue in working with React Native Applications.


Click on the following link to read further: Hooks in React JS

Security Issues

Like many JavaScript-based frameworks, React native is prone to security vulnerabilities. From the perspective of react native security, the various components of the framework, as well as the connections between them, must be considered.

Storage of Sensitive Information

There are a few instances where you must define sensitive data in your code, as listed below:

  • It's normal to make server calls to acquire data while developing an application, and you'll need to establish API endpoints in your app to do so.
  • You may need to integrate third-party authentication, in which case you must define an application secret created on a third-party platform such as Facebook or Google in your application to access their services.
  • To incorporate features like notification, messaging, and analytics in your app, you may need to employ open platform services like firebase or Google. It would be best if you also defined the secret of an open platform application in your application to utilize their services.

Keep important keys and secrets out of your app code. Anyone reviewing the app package could access anything included in your code in plain text.

If someone manages to tamper with your API endpoints, everything will come to a screeching halt. Security breaches can take a long time to recover from, which is equivalent to corporate suicide. While most firms will presumably be unaffected by an hour or two of downtime, it is not acceptable for some.

Solutions to help Storage of Secure Information

  • We need to utilize react-native-dotenv and react-native-config to protect API endpoints.
  • The same technique that we will explain as an alternative to Async Storage will be used to specify secrets of open platform services like Facebook and Google Firebase because these secrets will also be stored locally on the device.
  • Note that the react-native-config module does not encrypt secrets for packaging. Therefore sensitive keys should not be stored in the .env file.

Selecting Local Storage for data persistence

Whether to support your app for being used offline, reduce network queries, or save your user's access token between sessions, so they don't have to re-authenticate each time they use the app, you'll frequently discover the need to save data on the device. To save various forms of data in the device, we use Async Storage in React Native.

Security Issue

Async Storage is an unencrypted, asynchronous key-value storage. Because Async Storage uses an unencrypted technique, it makes your data vulnerable to hackers. In Async Storage, we can preserve non-sensitive data, redux state, Graph-QL state, and global application-level variables. However, for sensitive information such as tokens and secrets, we must use a different route.

Solutions to help in Local Storage for Data Persistence

There is no way to store sensitive data in React Native. There are already pre-existing solutions for Android and iOS that we can use with React Native by configuring it on the native side.

Deep Linking

Deep linking is a method of transferring data from an external source straight to a native program. A deep link looks like an app:/, where the app is your app scheme, and the / could be used to handle the request inside.

For example, if you were developing an e-commerce software, you could use app:/products/1 to visit the product detail page for a product with id 1.

Source

Deep connections are insecure and shouldn't be used to transport sensitive information.

Security Issue

  • Because there is no centralized mechanism for registering URL schemes, deep linkages are insecure. You can use whatever URL scheme you like as an app developer by specifying it in Xcode for iOS or adding an intent for Android.
  • By employing the same approach, malicious software can access the information included in your link. While sending something like app:/products/1 is safe, sending tokens poses a security risk.
  • A single URL Scheme can be claimed by many apps on iOS. Sample:/, for example, can be used by two completely different apps to implement URL Schemes. This is how some malicious apps exploit the URL Scheme to access users' data.

Security solutions to overcome this issue of deep linking

Universal Links were introduced in iOS 9 to address the lack of graceful fallback functionality in custom URI scheme deep links. Universal Links are regular web links that can be used to access both a web page and content within an app. When you open a Universal Link, iOS checks to see if any of your apps are registered for that domain. If this is the case, the program will launch without ever loading the web page. If not, Safari loads the web URL (which could be a simple redirect to the App Store).

Hijacking and malicious login token replaying are prevented by utilizing a universal link (HTTP or HTTPS) login interface and applying a random identification to validate the incoming login token locally.

Android Specific Security Issues

Reverse engineering with an APK or app bundle file allows the hackers to access our codebase quickly. We can implement the Pro Guard rules to prevent this. Any android application can use Pro Guard rules as a security shield. It essentially obfuscates your code. It's not readable if someone reverses and engineers it, which protects you from engineering attacks. Another advantage of utilizing Pro Guard is that it minimizes the size of the APK by deleting unneeded code and resources. If your project includes a third-party library, you can include its Pro Guard rules in your rules file.

 

The minifyEnabled property in the app/build .gradle file must be enabled to enable the Pro Guard rule.

iOS Specific Security Concerns

We'll discuss how we can prevent unsafe domains from being used on iOS. It will protect us against attacks on the transport layer. By specifying some policies in your Info.plist file, you can prohibit unsafe domains.

Let's talk about what you should put in your Info now.

There's a plist file for that.

Apple included a dictionary named NSAppTransportSecurity to iOS 9.0, which you can locate inside the info.plist file. The key NSAllowArbitraryLoads is set to NO by default in NSAppTransportSecurity, indicating that you have accepted security advantages. If you're working with a localhost or an HTTP domain, you'll need to set it to YES. Else, you won't be able to make the network requests with those unsafe domains.

Authentication Issues

The OAuth-2 authentication protocol is extremely common these days, and it is widely regarded as the most comprehensive and secure protocol available. This is also the foundation of the OpenID Connect protocol. The user is prompted to authenticate via a third party via OAuth-2. This third party returns to the requesting application with a verification code that may be exchanged for a JWT i.e a JSON Web Token — upon successful completion.

Security Issue

This redirect phase is secure on the web since URLs are guaranteed to be unique. This isn't the case with apps because, as previously stated, there is no centralized mechanism for registering URL schemes! An additional check must be introduced to solve this security vulnerability.

Security solutions to overcome this issue

We can utilize the SHA 256 cryptographic method as an enhancement to make the OAuth-2 approach safer by ensuring that the authentication and token exchange requests come from the same client. For a text or file, SHA 256 generates a unique "signature." The signature is always of the same length, and the signature will always be the same for the same input. Proof of Key Code Exchange is the name given to this entire procedure (PKCE).

SSL Encryption & SSL Pinning

Between the time it leaves the server and the time it reaches the client, SSL encryption prevents the requested data from being read in plain text. Even if you use https endpoints, your data could still be intercepted.

Security Issue

With https, the client will only and only trust the server if it can produce a valid certificate signed by a trusted Certificate Authority that is already installed on the client. An attacker may exploit this by installing a rogue root CA certificate on the user's device, which would cause the client to trust all certificates signed by the attacker. As a result, relying solely on certificates may leave you vulnerable.

Security Solution

SSL pinning is a client-side approach that can be used to prevent this attack. It works by embedding (or pinning) a list of trusted certificates into the client during development. Only requests signed with one of the trusted certificates are accepted, and any requests signed with self-signed certificates are rejected.

When utilizing SSL pinning, keep in mind that certificates can expire. Certificates expire every 12–18 months, and when they do, they must be updated both in the app and on the server. Any apps that have the old certificate incorporated will stop working as soon as the server certificate is updated.

Get the tech career you deserve, faster!
Connect with our expert counsellors to understand how to hack your way to success
User rating 4.7/5
1:1 doubt support
95% placement record
Akash Pal
Senior Software Engineer
326% Hike After Job Bootcamp
Himanshu Gusain
Programmer Analyst
32 LPA After Job Bootcamp
After Job
Bootcamp

Monitoring JavaScript Vulnerabilities

Because React Native apps use JavaScript, the security analysis of RN apps includes a look for common JS-related flaws like XSS attacks.

In general, pure JavaScript apps have a large attack surface. It gets narrower for ReactJS, and it gets even narrower with React Native.

Typical browser-based XSS vectors (for example, depending on the href property) relevant to ReactJS are not used in React Native source code. Because React Native apps are not browser-based and solely run JavaScript code, this makes sense.

Despite the fact that React Native apps provide effective protection against XSS (cross-site scripting) attacks, developers can utilize potentially risky API in JavaScript code, such as the eval() function, which can exploit eval-based injection to steal all data from local storage (Async Storage).

Linters and static code analyzers can detect and alert developers when unsafe functions like eval() are used.

Moving to our last discussion section, we need to secure the React Native applications.

Why is security needed in React Native Applications?

  • Having security helps in expertise on every platform.
  • Minding the React Native app-specific vulnerabilities.
  • Managing the dependencies needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why React Native is less secure?

All JavaScript-based frameworks, including React native, are subject to security concerns. From the perspective of react native security, the various components of the framework, as well as the connections between them, must be considered.

Define keychain in React Native?

Only while the device is opened by the user can the data in the keychain item be accessed. After a restart, the data in the keychain item cannot be accessible until the device has been unlocked once.

Define network security and SSL pinning React Native?

SSL pinning is a technique for validating server certificates on the client-side after completing SSL handshaking. During development, a list of trustworthy certificates is incorporated into the client app so that it can be compared to the server certificates during runtime.

Conclusion

In this article, we have extensively discussed various security issues in React Native Application and how we can secure them to avoid various vulnerabilities and security issues with them.

You can also consider our React Js Course to give your career an edge over others.

Do upvote our blogs to help other ninjas grow.

Happy Learning!

Previous article
Support With Typescript
Next article
React Native App Performance
Live masterclass