Adversaries may undermine security controls that will either warn users of untrusted activity or prevent execution of untrusted applications. Operating systems and security products may contain mechanisms to identify programs or websites as possessing some level of trust. Examples of such features include: an app being allowed to run because it is signed by a valid code signing certificate; an OS prompt alerting the user that an app came from an untrusted source; or getting an indication that you are about to connect to an untrusted site. The method adversaries use will depend on the specific mechanism they seek to subvert.
On iOS, the
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Mobile OSes have implemented measures to make it more difficult to trick users into installing untrusted certificates and configurations. iOS 10.3 and higher add an additional step for users to install new trusted CA certificates and configuration profiles. On Android, apps that target compatibility with Android 7 and higher (API Level 24) default to only trusting CA certificates that are bundled with the operating system, not CA certificates that are added by the user or administrator, hence decreasing their susceptibility to successful adversary-in-the-middle attack.
Typically, insecure or malicious configuration settings are not installed without the user's consent. Users should be advised not to install unexpected configuration settings (CA certificates, iOS Configuration Profiles, Mobile Device Management server provisioning).
On Android, the user can use the device settings menu to view trusted CA certificates and look for unexpected or unknown certificates. A mobile security product could similarly examine the trusted CA certificate store for anomalies. Users can use the device settings menu to view which applications on the device are allowed to install unknown applications.
On iOS, the user can use the device settings menu to view installed Configuration Profiles and look for unexpected or unknown profiles. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) system could use the iOS MDM APIs to examine the list of installed Configuration Profiles for anomalies.