How Android app obfuscation enhances the security feature 

 April 16, 2022

The Android operating network is popular, as developers are developing new modules for running the system. In a generic manner, all mobile codes are prone to reverse engineering, the codes are written in language that is prone to dynamic intersections at runtime like Java that is particularly at risk. Let us understand in details about Android app obfuscation and the reasons why it is important.

The reasons why Android apps requires obfuscation

An Android operating system is an open source that poses a benefit for the developers to be innovative and leads to the development of ground breaking apps. But this also forces the app to be victims of potential attacks. A research conducted on the financial apps indicates that most of them are not using any obfuscation method and even if they do they do not take full advantage of it.

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Unprotected Android apps increase the risk of your business being exposed to IP theft, reputation damage or loss of revenue for a business. An app provider needs to secure their apps properly against emerging threats with a strong layer of defence to safeguard critical mode from the attackers.

The benefits  of obfuscating code for Android apps?

Obfuscation happens to be an area of code transformation which would turn an application code which would be hard to understand and re- engineer. In this manner you ensure that the intellectual rights of your property is protected, unauthorized access is prevented along with the discovery of app vulnerabilities. In this manner you ensure that the products  intellectual property is protected against vulnerability attacks/ Once your app is obfuscated, the threshold for an attacker to undertake a reverse engineering attack is reversed as it may turn out to time consuming and costly to succeed. With code obfuscation, you may

  • Preventing code from being used and without permission
  • Make the app functional on the client side and algorithms less exposed
  • Make it difficult for the attackers to find vulnerabilities in your code.
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The things that you need to consider in a code obfuscation tool

The moment malicious actors have a fair understanding about the inner workings of a mobile app, they might redistribute the fake apps, steal intellectual property, extract sensitive data and more. Ever since the threat continues to target the mobile apps with lack of code hardening, a strong method of obfuscation  could make all the difference in preventing statistic analytical attacks.

Hence it is necessary for a proper code obfuscation to implement effective mobile app security. There are some pointers to consider in a code obfuscation tool

Easy to use

The tools of code obfuscation that you use should prioritize ease for the developers. What it would mean is balancing an initial set – up with an advanced form of configuration tools. An effective form of tools will enable the developers to get started with less configuration for minimum degree of protection while paving way for complex security down the road.

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It is necessary to formulate a user friendly experience, where a strict separation between security code and operational code is necessary. The moment developers are formulating new app features they should not be thinking on the ways to secure it. The obfuscation tool is easy where the developers should not be changing the source code.

With the development process a seamless integration

When the question emerges of adopting any security tool, how it integrates with the existing development workflow turns out to be crucial. This happens to be a crucial element of DevSec Ops that is going to enhance application security at a low cost.

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Coming to the Android obfuscation tools, this would point to integrating with the standard developer tool for Android. Examples are an Android Studio and Gradle build system. In addition the security tool has to be compatible with regular integration systems to make sure that the developers would implement security throughout the app delivery pipeline.

Levels of obfuscation

The concept of code obfuscation goes on to make the applications difficult to decompile, to act as a protection against static attacks. An example is reverse engineering. Some of the popular versions of code hardening methods includes, arithmetic obfuscation, name and control flow. An effective form of Android obfuscation tool, should be able to implement numerous layers of obfuscation to detect malicious features.

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Ever since the apps continue to leverage APIs the ability to hide secrets and keys are necessary. Another feature of obfuscation is protection of monetary features, while hiding and the apps keep on asking for payment. Such situations often call for different coding methods that showcases the need for multiple layers of obfuscation.

Clock resetting

Another important capability for an Android obfuscation tool is application of obfuscation in a different from for each build. This is an unique aspect that calls for implementing polymorphism.

It is a method that resets the cloud on each build which forces the malicious attackers to re- engineer efforts from scratch. But if the app goes on to showcase a plethora of concerns, between security code and development, the concept should not have an impact on the developer at all. This leads to a stronger mobile application security along with rapid development at the same time.

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Visibility along with support

A wise decision is to be made about which Android obfuscation tool is to be chosen. Though it is not going to stop at the ease of implementation along with security measures that it provides. The mobile security tool also needs to provide in depth reports along with support to the app developers so that they are using it effectively.

As the landscape of threat keeps on changing, it is necessary to have visibility about the level of security which an obfuscation tool provides. Since an in depth risk evaluation is done, it goes on to validate the security protections of obfuscation tools. Even the potential areas of improvement are identified.

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When selecting a code obfuscation tool there is a definite requirement of a strong customer support team.

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