How can I secure my application server?
8 minute(s) read
Published on: Jan 26, 2022
Updated on: Mar 20, 2022
You may have already heard about the application server and know how it works. But again, we will have a fast review of its definition and description. Then we will see how is it important to make our application server more secure. In addition, you will see some suggestions for having a secure application server.
What is an app server?
The Application Server is responsible for servicing applications or applications in the network. Application servers can be software or hardware and are often designed to serve web applications. Application servers are only for transferring the requested data to clients, and therefore these tools do not have a graphical interface. Due to the nature of their work, application servers have more flexibility to implement than Web servers. Applications have a greater variety of resources and freedom of action to run. This can also cause security vulnerabilities in application servers that attackers could exploit. Since Web servers have a more straightforward structure than the application, naturally, attacks on web servers are less than application servers. But also note that today almost all applications are written in such a way that they work in conjunction with web servers, it is good that the integration created in these products makes it easy to access the application, and the user can easily connect to the application server using a simple Internet browser, and there is a greater security problem; Security vulnerabilities in app servers and web servers accumulate in this mode, and attackers are more likely to attack such software.
Application server software tasks
- Run your software libraries and services
- Receive system resources from the operating system and prepare them for your system and other systems that may be running on AS at the same time, in a fully managed manner
- Connecting your system to other servers such as a database server (DBMS) and a messaging server
- Communicate with other server applications
- Life-cycle management of various components of your software
Application Server examples
How to secure your apps server
An application can connect to an Internet server or other software. These communication channels can be the site of severe injuries. When you secure the information exchanged between your application and other applications or between your application and a website, the stability of our application and the security of the information you send and receive are greatly enhanced. But how could we secure our application server?
1. Use explicit Intents and non-exported Content Providers
One of the steps in securing the application is to secure the use of Intents and Content Providers of the software. To do this, we can do the following steps.
- Display an apps selector
In situations where the user may be redirected to another software to perform a task, we use implicit intents. When an implicit Intent can open more than two applications on the user's device, we must show a small screen where the user can select the appropriate applications from within. This user interaction strategy allows them to do their job using applications they trust and control the data transformation.
- Use Signature-Based Permissions
It is best to use Signature-Based Permissions when sharing specific information between two applications that we own or control. This model of permissions does not require user approval and instead checks that applications that have access to the data have the same signature key. Because of this, these permissions provide a much safer workflow and user experience.
- Do not allow access to the Content Providers of your
Unless we intend to send data to another application that is not our own, we must always explicitly block other applications from accessing our application's Content Providers. This is especially important if our application will be run on devices that are running Android 4.1.1 (API 16) and lower.
- Always ask for sufficient evidence before showing sensitive information.
We must always make sure that the user owns the device to display user-sensitive information. Therefore, we must always obtain proof of identity from the user before displaying this data model. When we want to receive the necessary documents from the user to show sensitive information or premium content, we can request this from the user by requesting a PIN/password/template or using biometric sensors such as a fingerprint sensor.
2. Implement network security standards
The server connection is one thing that can endanger our application's security. The following sections fully explain how we can enhance network security for our applications.
- Use SSL traffic
If we use web servers with a valid SSL certificate, we can easily send HTTPS requests to the server.
- Add a network security configuration to the this
If our application servers use a new or custom CA, we can add network security settings into an additional configuration file and put them in the project. We can create a configuration file for the application network and add it without any coding using the following steps. To add a network configuration file to our project, we do the following steps: - Inside the Project Manifest, define the config file.
- Add an XML file.
3. Create your Trust Manager
Our SSL checker should not accept any certificates. We may need to create a Trust Manager and manage all the errors and warnings caused by SSL. These warnings may occur in one of the following situations:
- When we communicate with a web server certified by a new CA or a custom CA.
- When our device does not trust the CA in question.
- When we can not use a security configuration for the network.
4. Use WebView with caution
5. Use HTML messaging channels
6. Use the right permissions
One of the most important aspects of app security is the permissions we receive from the user. Remember that our application must ask the user for the minimum permissions they need to work properly. Once the application needs are met, we must release the permissions. Use the following solutions to optimize the permissions in your applications as much as possible.
- Use Intents to Delay Permissions
If we could do a task using another application, we should not add Permission to our application for the same task. Instead, work with Intents to use another application that already has the required permissions.
- Send data securely between applications.
One of the important issues in application security is sending data to others and between internal software modules. To be able to share our data securely between different applications, we need to follow these steps:
- Be sure to use read-only and write-only permissions as needed.
- Allow Client access to data only once using the following flags: FLAG_GRANT_READ_URI_PERMISSION and FLAG_GRANT_WRITE_URI_PERMISSION
- When sharing data, use "content: //" instead of "file: //". Of course, the FileProvider object does this for you automatically.
7. Store data securely
Although our application may require access to sensitive user information in some cases, the user only allows us to make sure that their information is stored securely. So application security has a great impact on building trust and attracting more users. But how can we give this assurance to the user?
- Store private data in internal storage
We must store all private user data on the internal memory, which is considered separately for each application. Our application does not need to receive permission from the user to view these files. Also, other applications will not be allowed to access these files. As another app security measure, when a user deletes our software, the system will automatically delete these files from memory.
- Save data to external storage, depending on the this
We can use the device's external memory to store large, insensitive files and files that we intend to share with other applications. The type of APIs we use depends on our application's design.
- Check the accessibility of the memory.
If our app interacts with removable external memory, we must keep in mind that the user can remove this memory from the device while the application is running. So in-app code, we should always check the process of checking the existence and availability of memory.Click to audit your website SEO