Many developers still embed sensitive access tokens and API keys into their mobile applications, putting data and other assets stored on various third-party services at risk.
performed by cybersecurity firm Fallible on 16,000 Android applications revealed that about 2,500 had some type of secret credential hard-coded into them. The apps were scanned with an online tool released by the company in November.
Hard-coding access keys for third-party services into apps can be justified when the access they provide is limited in scope. However, in some cases, developers include keys that unlock access to sensitive data or systems that can be abused.
This was the case for 304 apps found by Fallible that contained access tokens and API keys for services like Twitter, Dropbox, Flickr, Instagram, Slack, or Amazon Web Services (AWS).
that had been hard-coded into open source projects hosted on GitHub.
AWS access keys have also been found inside GitHub projects in the past by the thousands, forcing Amazon to start proactively scanning for such leaks and revoking the exposed keys.
for Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) frameworks stored inside Android and iOS applications. Those credentials unlocked access to more than 18.5 million database records containing 56 million data items that app developers stored on BaaS providers like Facebook-owned Parse, CloudMine, or AWS.
Earlier this month, a security researcher that can help companies and individual developers scan their software projects for secret tokens that may have been added at some point and then forgotten about.