Apple TV

You Can Build Apps for the Apple TV, But Do You Know How to Do It Securely?

Late last year, Apple announced the new app-enabled Apple TV which functions as both a regular TV and an app store where developers can submit apps and games. There are now more than 1 million apps on the App Store. It’s safe to assume that Apple will want to dominate the market for TV apps as well.

To achieve this objective, it’s understandable that Apple makes it easy for app developers to create apps and games for the Apple TV platform using tvOS and profit from them just as they have already done so for the iPhone and iPad devices. Developers can leverage similar frameworks and technologies since tvOS is just a modified version of the iOS. They can even retrofit the apps that were previously developed for iOS to support the Apple TV’s tvOS.

Apple TV

Since the first arrival to the TV scene in 2007, Apple TV now accounts for $1 billion in Apple’s annual revenue.

Consumers already have a thousand songs in their pocket. They can have a thousand apps on their iPhone. There is no doubt that Apple will also now push for a thousand experiences on the Apple TV. Check out these Apple TV apps here and here to get a taste of what exists at the moment and what could be possible in the future.

Mobile app individual developers and development agencies who have been making money from creating apps for iPhones and iPads now have the possibility of an additional source of revenue stream by developing apps for the big screen using tvOS SDK.

Security issues with Apple TV

Though I hate to spoil the fun for all the Apple fans out there, Apple TV is just another networked device, thus having security vulnerabilities and it could be waiting to be hacked.

According to Eduard Kovacs from Security Week, before the release of the latest version 7.2.1, Apple TV contained 60 vulnerabilities. Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities by performing arbitrary code execution, crashing the application, modifying the protected part of the file systems and exposing sensitive information.

Since Apple TV shares the same core technologies built for the iPhone and iPad, it’s correct to infer that security risks and issues found for iOS apps would also apply to the tvOS, Apple TV, apps.

What do you need to know to build secure Apple TV apps?

WHAT ARE THE MOBILE APP SECURITY TECHNIQUES HACKERS DON’T WANT YOU TO USE?

There is only one reason hackers don’t want you to know about these techniques; so they can hack into your apps later on. Check the full details written by Laurence Goasduff from Gartner.

  • Lock down app permissions
  • Don’t rely solely on client-side checks
  • Look for third-party expertise and always test
  • Harden applications
  • Perform regular health checks

PAY ATTENTION TO THESE 5 SECURITY ISSUES WHEN BUILDING MOBILE APPS.

Our partner, Appknox, put together a list of the top 5 security issues you should look out for when developing mobile apps:

  • Insecure data storage
  • Improper SSL implementation
  • Data leakage
  • Accepting untrusted inputs
  • Weak or lack of protection of the application backend

SECURING THE APP IS NOT ENOUGH. YOU NEED ALSO TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF BACKEND SECURITY.

The apps published on Apple TV need to collect and exchange data through a public network to the application backend which is most likely hosted in some private data center. 85% of all cyber attacks happen at the application backend; that is, at the entry point from this public network into the private network.

Once this backend is compromised, all data within the company’s private network becomes vulnerable. Read this article to learn more about the application backend and the importance and value of backend security.

BUILD SECURITY INTO THE APP.

To build the next cool apps and games for the content-rich Apple TV, designing pretty UIs and writing codes are not enough. You also need to become adept at implementing application security measures to ensure a security experience for users, which is providing an optimal user experience without compromising on security.

If Apple can make it easy for developers to build great apps for the Apple TV using tvOS SDK and other existing development toolkits, then the underground hacking business can make it extremely easy for hackers and cyber criminals to wreak havoc with hacking SDK, toolkits or hacking services. It has not only gotten easier but also cheaper for attackers to hack a mobile app, infiltrate internal company’s systems and steal sensitive information about the business and their customers.

So wouldn’t it be wise to make it easy to build secure app and operate it a secure way?

TeskaLabs helps you and your business build and operate mobile apps securely. Our application security solution enables app developers and app development agencies to rapidly go after the Apple TV and securely build and manage mobile and TV applications. Our security experts can help you evaluate the security of your mobile and TV apps. Request a FREE Demo or visit www.teskalabs.com/products/seacat-mobile-secure-gateway to learn more about TeskaLabs Application Security technology.

About the Author

Cindy Dam

TeskaLabs’ Marketing & Community Manager, Cindy Dam, has a penchant for hacking and storytelling. When she's not reading and writing about cyber hacking, she reads, writes, and comes up with mind and travel hacks.


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