Gartner®: Avoid Mobile Application Security Pitfalls

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Gartner®: Avoid Mobile Application Security Pitfalls

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My PubNub Secret Key leaked! What should I do?

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

A PubNub Secret Key is a unique alphanumeric string used for authentication and authorization purposes in PubNub's real-time messaging platform. It is used to securely authenticate clients and grant access to specific resources.

When using PubNub, the Secret Key is primarily used for:

  • Authentication: The Secret Key is used to authenticate and authorize access to PubNub services, ensuring that only authorized users or applications can interact with the platform.
  • Encryption: The Secret Key is used to encrypt and decrypt messages sent over PubNub channels, providing a secure communication channel for sensitive data.
  • Access Control: The Secret Key is used to control access to specific features or functionalities within PubNub, allowing developers to restrict access based on user roles or permissions.

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

Using environment variables for storing sensitive information like PubNub Secret Key in your code is secure for the following reasons:

  • Environment variables are stored outside of your codebase, reducing the risk of accidental exposure through version control or code sharing.
  • Environment variables can be easily managed and updated without changing the code itself, providing flexibility and reducing the chances of hardcoded secrets being leaked.
  • Access to environment variables can be restricted based on user permissions, adding an extra layer of security to sensitive information.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage PubNub Secret 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 Secret Key from AWS Secrets Manager.

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

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

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage PubNub Secret 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 Secret Key from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a PubNub Secret Key?

To generate a PubNub Secret Key, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your PubNub account.
  2. Go to the Admin Dashboard.
  3. Click on the "Keys" tab.
  4. Under the "Keys" tab, click on the "Create New Keyset" button.
  5. Enter a name for your keyset and select the desired permissions for the key.
  6. Click on the "Create Keyset" button.
  7. Your Secret Key will be generated and displayed. Make sure to keep it secure and do not share it publicly.

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

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

  • Improper storage: Storing the Secret Key in a plaintext file or hardcoding it in the source code can lead to accidental exposure.
  • Weak access controls: Inadequate access controls on repositories or servers where the Secret Key is stored can make it vulnerable to unauthorized access.
  • Logging sensitive information: Logging the Secret Key in clear text in log files or debugging messages can inadvertently expose it.
  • Sharing credentials: Sharing the Secret Key with unauthorized users or including it in publicly accessible code repositories can result in leakage.

What are the risks of leaking a PubNub Secret Key

As a security trainer, it is crucial for developers to understand the risks associated with leaking a PubNub Secret Key. The PubNub Secret Key is a sensitive piece of information that, if exposed, can lead to serious security vulnerabilities and potential breaches. Here are some specific risks associated with leaking a PubNub Secret Key:

  • Unauthorized Access: An attacker who gains access to a PubNub Secret Key can potentially read, write, and modify data being transmitted over PubNub channels, leading to unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Data Manipulation: With access to the Secret Key, an attacker can manipulate the data being transmitted over PubNub channels, potentially leading to data corruption or falsification.
  • Financial Loss: If sensitive financial information is transmitted over PubNub channels and the Secret Key is leaked, attackers could exploit this information for financial gain, leading to financial loss for the organization.
  • Reputation Damage: A security breach resulting from a leaked PubNub Secret Key can damage the organization's reputation and erode trust among customers and stakeholders.
  • Legal Consequences: Depending on the nature of the data exposed, leaking a PubNub Secret Key could lead to legal consequences, such as regulatory fines or lawsuits.

Therefore, it is imperative for developers to follow best practices in secret management and detection to prevent the leakage of sensitive information like PubNub Secret Keys.

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PubNub Secret Key security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers
  • Secure storage: store the PubNub Secret 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 Secret Key usage and improve the overall security of your PubNub Secret Key implementations.

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

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PubNub Secret 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 Secret Key was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your PubNub Secret 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 Secret Key. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the PubNub Secret Key

Generate a new PubNub Secret Key:

  • Log into your PubNub Secret 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 Secret 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 Secret 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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