We tested the most popular crypto currency mobile apps from Google Play for common vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Over 90% may be in trouble.

Introduction

Over 1,300 crypto currencies exist today with over $308,694.631,252 market capitalization (at the moment of this post publication). One of the most popular and oldest cryptocurrency – Bitcoin has almost reached $10,000 price after several months of fluctuation, but continuous and steady growth.

wide spectrum of mobile applications for crypto currencies were released during the last few years by various startups, independent digital experts and even licensed banking institutions. The total number of crypto currency applications in Google Play designed to store, process or trade crypto currencies has exceeded two thousand and continues to grow.

Obviously, cybercriminals could not pass on such an outstanding opportunity and are aggressively targeting all possible stakeholders of the emerging digital currency market.

Almost every week a new crypto currency exchange is compromised, causing multi-million losses to people who entrusted their coins to the exchange. Fraudsters leverage a new trend of ICO (discouraged by the European Securities and Markets Authority), gather quick cash from naïve investors and disappear just after.

Such events have already become a daily routine in the turbulent world of the new Klondike, exacerbating less frequent but highly detrimental weaknesses in crypto currencies that may wipe out few hundred millions at once.

Research and Free Online Service to Test Mobile Apps

High-Tech Bridge decided to analyze another attack vector on digital currencies and their proponents: mobile applications. For this purpose, we used our free online service Mobile X-Ray that performs dynamic, static and interactive testing or mobile applications for various vulnerabilities and weaknesses including OWASP Mobile Top 10, as well as analyzes potential risks to user privacy.

We took the most popular crypto currency mobile applications from Google Play from the “Finance” category and tested them for security flaws and design weaknesses that can endanger the user, his or her data stored on the device or send/received via the network, or the mobile device itself.

First 30 applications with up to 100,000 installations

93% of applications contained at least 3 medium-risk vulnerabilities

90% of applications contained at least 2 high-risk vulnerabilities

87% of applications were vulnerable MITM attacks exposing app data to interception

66% of applications contained hardcoded sensitive data including passwords or API keys

57% of applications were using functionality that can jeopardize user privacy

70% of applications did not have any hardening or protection of their backend (APIs or web services)

80% of application were sending [potentially] sensitive data without any encryption over HTTP

37% of applications were sending [potentially] sensitive data with weak or insufficient encryption

77% of applications were still using SSLv3 or TLS 1.0 banned by PCI DSS

44% of applications had backends (APIs or web services) vulnerable to POODLE vulnerability

100% of applications didn’t have any protection against reverse-engineering

The most popular vulnerabilities are (from OWASP Top 10):

·         M1 – Improper Platform Usage

·         M5 – Insufficient Cryptography

·         M2 – Insecure Data Storage

First 30 applications with up to 500,000 installations

66% of applications contained at least 3 medium-risk vulnerabilities

87% of applications contained at least 2 high-risk vulnerability

37% of applications were vulnerable MITM attacks exposing all data to interception

34% of applications contained hardcoded sensitive data including passwords or API keys

17% of applications were using functionality that can jeopardize user privacy

77% of applications did not have any hardening or protection of their backend (APIs or web services)

37% of application were sending [potentially] sensitive data without any encryption over HTTP

24% of applications were sending [potentially] sensitive data with weak or insufficient encryption

70% of applications were still using SSLv3 or TLS 1.0 banned by PCI DSS

14% of applications had backends (APIs or web services) vulnerable to POODLE vulnerability

100% of applications didn’t have any protection against reverse-engineering

The most popular vulnerabilities are (from OWASP Top 10):

·         M1 – Improper Platform Usage

·         M2 – Insecure Data Storage

·         M5 – Insufficient Cryptography

First 30 applications with over 500,000 installations

94% of applications contained at least 3 medium-risk vulnerabilities

77% of applications contained at least 2 high-risk vulnerability

17% of applications were vulnerable MITM attacks exposing all data to interception

44% of applications contained hardcoded sensitive data including passwords or API keys

66% of applications were using functionality that can jeopardize user privacy

94% of applications did not have any hardening or protection of their backend (APIs or web services)

66% of application were sending [potentially] sensitive data without any encryption over HTTP

50% of applications were sending [potentially] sensitive data with weak or insufficient encryption

94% of applications were still using SSLv3 or TLS 1.0 banned by PCI DSS

0% of applications had backends (APIs or web services) vulnerable to POODLE vulnerability

100% of applications didn’t have any protection against reverse-engineering

The most popular vulnerabilities are (from OWASP Top 10):

·         M1 – Improper Platform Usage

·         M2 – Insecure Data Storage

·         M5 – Insufficient Cryptography

Conclusions and Remediation  

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and Founder of High-Tech Bridge, comments: “Unfortunately, I am not surprised with the outcomes of the research. For many years, cybersecurity companies and independent experts were notifying mobile app developers about the risks of “agile” development that usually imply no framework to assure secure design, secure coding and hardening techniques or application security testing.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. A mobile app usually contains much less exploitable vulnerabilities than its backend. Weakness in a mobile application may lead to breach of the mobile device or its data, while a vulnerable API on the backend – may allow attackers to steal the integrity of users’ data.

To minimize security vulnerabilities and weaknesses in mobile applications, developers should carefully plan and rigorously implement security and privacy from the early stages of development. Internal and external application security testing is also critically important and should be performed on a regular basis. Requirements of various regulations, such as GDPR, should also be assessed and duly implemented.”

At High-Tech Bridge, to facilitate the uneasy work of mobile application developers, we have launched the Mobile X-Ray free online service with SAST, DAST and IAST capabilities for native and hybrid Android and iOS applications. Our award-winning ImmuniWeb® Mobile provides the most comprehensive manual testing of mobile app and its backend, enhanced by our proprietary machine learning technology.

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