Protecting Your Data and Users' Privacy: A Guide to SDK Security Risks and Solutions for Developers
As a developer, you may have heard of SDKs and their benefits, but have you considered the potential security risks they may pose? From data breaches to privacy concerns, it's crucial to understand the implications of using SDKs in your software. In this guide, we will explore the risks associated with SDKs and provide solutions for protecting your data and users' privacy.
Stripe, Google, Yandex, AWS... all of these companies offer a plethora of inexpensive (or even free) services for developers. A simple npm install, composer install... is all it takes to integrate a third-party company's SDK into an application or software. After generating the authentication keys, the job is done.
However, the companies that make SDKs available do not do so innocently. And if it's free, the end user becomes the product.
Software professionals, web developers, and mobile app developers: it is crucial to research the SDKs that are available. It's not for nothing that certain experts in cyber security conduct audits and warn of the risks associated with these tools.
Google Analytics, a Free Service...
SDKs are true Trojan horses for companies interested in data. The most famous is Google Analytics, a simple and free service. All you have to do is sign up, and Google automatically generates the code to integrate into the web pages you want to analyze. This tool, used by thousands of companies, helps marketing teams establish free graphics and statistics on the visitors to their websites, e-commerce sites, etc.
Through Google Analytic, the California company is able to know all the sources of acquisition of the visitors. For example: a company sponsors a post on Facebook to advertise its site. Without Analytics, Google would not know that 100 visitors arrived on the site in question via Facebook... since the company knows the number of visits from its search engine but has no visibility on third-party systems.
Some Ways to Bypass Issues related to SDKs
Three solutions exist. Developers can:
- Stop using SDKs and interact with APIs (Application Programming Interface ) : this is the only way to truly control the emission and reception of data to third-party services.
- Continue to use SDKs, but analyze and block the version to avoid updates without rechecking the code.
- Use the SDKs but analyze all web requests made outside the application or website. The goal is to check that there are no uncontrolled data that goes into the wild.
Developers and companies are responsible for the application blocks they use in their software, applications... the personal data that is entrusted to them is valuable and must be protected.
[Cover photo : Mathieu Turle]