Gartner®: Avoid Mobile Application Security Pitfalls

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Gartner®: Avoid Mobile Application Security Pitfalls

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My PubNub Publish Key leaked! What should I do?

What is a PubNub Publish Key and how it is used?

A PubNub Publish Key is a unique identifier used to authenticate and authorize the publishing of messages to PubNub channels.

When it comes to secret management and detection practices, it's important for developers to understand the main use cases of the PubNub Publish Key:

  • Securely authorizing clients to publish messages to a PubNub channel
  • Controlling access and permissions for publishing data to specific channels
  • Ensuring data integrity and authenticity by verifying the source of published messages

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1. Code snippets to prevent PubNub Publish Key hardcoding using environment variables

Using environment variables for storing sensitive information like PubNub Publish Key in your code is a good security practice because:

  • Environment variables are not stored in your codebase, reducing the risk of accidental exposure through version control systems.
  • Environment variables are not accessible to users or attackers who may have access to the code, enhancing security.
  • Environment variables can be easily managed and rotated without the need to modify the code, improving security posture.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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2. Code snippet to prevent PubNub Publish Key hardcoding using AWS Secrets Manager

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage PubNub Publish Keys is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the PubNub Publish Key from AWS Secrets Manager.

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3. Code snippet to prevent PubNub Publish Key hardcoding using HashiCorp Vault

Using HashiCorp Vault for managing PubNub Publish Keys is a great way to enhance security. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages for securely handling a PubNub Publish Key using HashiCorp Vault.

Remember to replace the VAULT_ADDR and VAULT_TOKEN with your Vault server address and authentication token. The snippets assume that the PubNub Publish Key is stored under the api_key field within Vault. The specifics of the Vault path and field names should be adjusted to match your Vault setup.

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4. Code snippet to prevent PubNub Publish Key hardcoding using CyberArk Conjur

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage PubNub Publish Key is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the PubNub Publish Key from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a PubNub Publish Key?

Generating a PubNub Publish Key is a straightforward process that involves creating a new PubNub application and obtaining the necessary credentials. Follow these steps to generate a PubNub Publish Key:

  1. Sign in to your PubNub account or create a new account if you don't have one.
  2. Once logged in, navigate to the PubNub dashboard.
  3. Create a new PubNub application by clicking on the "Create New App" button.
  4. Fill in the required information for your new application, such as the name and description.
  5. After creating the application, you will be provided with a set of keys, including the Publish Key.
  6. Copy the Publish Key and use it in your application to publish messages to PubNub channels.

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My PubNub Publish Key leaked, what are the possible reasons?

There are several reasons why a PubNub Publish Key might have been leaked:

  • Accidental exposure in code repositories: Developers may accidentally include the Publish Key in code snippets, configuration files, or documentation that are then pushed to public repositories.
  • Improper handling of environment variables: If developers store the Publish Key as a plain text in environment variables without proper encryption or protection, it can be easily leaked.
  • Insufficient access controls: Inadequate access controls within the organization or on third-party services can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive information, including the Publish Key.
  • Phishing attacks: Social engineering attacks or phishing attempts can trick individuals into revealing their credentials, including the PubNub Publish Key.

What are the risks of leaking a PubNub Publish Key

Leaking a PubNub Publish Key can pose serious risks to the security of your application and data. It is important for developers to understand the implications of such a breach in order to prevent potential security vulnerabilities.

  • Unauthorized Access: If a malicious actor gains access to your PubNub Publish Key, they can potentially send messages to your channels, compromising the integrity of your data.
  • Data Breach: Leaking a PubNub Publish Key can lead to a data breach, exposing sensitive information to unauthorized parties.
  • Financial Loss: An attacker with access to your PubNub Publish Key could incur additional costs by sending a large volume of messages, leading to unexpected charges.
  • Reputation Damage: A security breach resulting from a leaked PubNub Publish Key can damage the reputation of your organization and erode trust with your users.

It is crucial for developers to follow best practices for secret management and detection to prevent the leakage of sensitive information like PubNub Publish Keys. By implementing robust security measures, you can protect your application and data from potential threats.

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PubNub Publish Key security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers
  • Secure storage: store the PubNub Publish Key in a secure location, such as a password manager or a secrets management service.
  • Regular rotation: periodically rotate the API key to minimize the risk of long-term exposure.
  • Restrict permissions: apply the principle of least privilege by only granting the key the minimum necessary permissions.
  • Monitor usage: regularly check the usage logs for any unusual activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Implement access controls: limit the number of users who have access to the secret and enforce strong authentication measures.
  • Use a secrets manager: utilize secret management tools like CyberArk or AWS Secrets Manager for enhanced security.

By adhering to the best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk associated with PubNub Publish Key usage and improve the overall security of your PubNub Publish Key implementations.

Exposing secrets on GitHub: What to do after leaking Credential and API keys

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PubNub Publish Key leak remediation: what to do

What to do if you expose a secret: How to stay calm and respond to an incident [cheat sheet included]

How to check if PubNub Publish Key was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your PubNub Publish Key account for any unauthorized access or unusual activity. Pay particular attention to access from unfamiliar IP addresses (if you haven’t set up a specific allow list) or at odd hours.
  • Monitor Usage Patterns: Look for anomalies in the usage patterns, such as unexpected spikes in data access or transfer.
  • Check Active Connections and Operations: Review the list of active connections and recent operations on your database. Unusual or unauthorized operations might indicate malicious use.
  • Audit API Usage: If possible, audit the usage of your API key through any logging or monitoring services you have integrated with PubNub Publish Key. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the PubNub Publish Key

Generate a new PubNub Publish Key:

  • Log into your PubNub Publish Key account.
  • Navigate to the API section and generate a new API key.

Update Services with the new key:

  • Replace the compromised key with the new key in all your services that use this API key.
  • Ensure all your applications and services are updated with the new key before deactivating the old one.

Deactivate the old PubNub Publish Key:

  • Once the new key is in place and everything is functioning correctly, deactivate the old API key.
  • This can typically be done from the same section where you generated the new key.

Monitor after key rotation:

  • After deactivating the old key, monitor your systems closely to ensure that all services are running smoothly and that there are no unauthorized access attempts.

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How to understand which services will stop working

  • Inventory of services: keep an inventory of all services and applications that utilize your PubNub Publish Key.
  • Communication and documentation: Ensure that your team is aware of which services are dependent on the key. Maintain documentation for quick reference.
  • Testing: before deactivating the old key, test your services with the new key in a staging environment. This helps in identifying any services that might face issues post rotation.
  • Fallback strategies: Have a fallback or emergency plan in case a critical service fails after the key rotation. This might include temporary measures or quick rollback procedures.

In summary, the remediation process involves identifying potential misuse, carefully rotating the key, and ensuring minimal disruption to services. Being proactive and having a well-documented process can greatly reduce the risks associated with a compromised API key.

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What about other secrets?

GitGuardian helps developers keep 350+ types of secrets out of source code. GitGuardian’s automated secrets detection and remediation solution secure every step of the development lifecycle, from code to cloud:

  • On developer workstations with git hooks (pre-commit and pre-push);
  • On code sharing platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket;
  • In CI environments (Circle CI, Travis CI, Jenkins CI, GitHub Actions, and many more);
  • In Docker images.

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Environment Variables
Environment Variables
Environment Variables

charge

nullable string

For card errors, the ID of the failed charge.

payment_method_type

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

doc_url

nullable string

A URL to more information about the error code reported.

request_log_url

nullable string

A URL to the request log entry in your dashboard.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

payment_intent

nullable object

The PaymentIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a PaymentIntent.

setup_intent

nullable object

The SetupIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a SetupIntent.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

CLIENT LIBRARIES

$ gem install stripe
$ pip install stripe
$ composer require stripe/stripe-php
MAVEN
<dependency>
  <groupId>com.stripe</groupId>
  <artifactId>stripe-java</artifactId>
  <version>24.16.0</version>
</dependency>

GRADLE
compile "com.stripe:stripe-java:24.16.0"
$ npm install --save stripe
$ go get github.com/stripe/stripe-go/v76
$ nuget install Stripe.net
SHOW
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