Jacob Marble Jacob Marble - 1 month ago 15
Android Question

How safe are client SSL certificates in a mobile app?

I'd like to have secure communication between my Android/iOS app and my Internet-accessible backend service, so I'm investigating HTTPS/SSL.

If I create self-signed certificates, then put a client certificate in the app and cause the backend service to require that client certificate, is this truly secure?

Here's why I'm asking. It seems that the client certificate could be "hacked" by interrogating the .apk. The client certificate is just a string constant, right? That means anyone could use the client certificate to access my backend. Is the .apk (and iOS equivalent) sufficiently opaque to prevent the client certificate from being discovered?

EJP EJP
Answer

The certificate is harmless. It is the private key that needs protection, and it is only as safe as the device itself, no safer. Distributing the certificate and private key with the application just means that anyone who has the application has the key, so it doesn't provide you any security whatsoever. I think you need some kind of post-install registration step.