How to Protect Android Apps When Unknown Sources Enabled

Last updated July 21, 2021 by Paul Levasseur

Learn 4 Easy Steps to Protect Android Apps from abuse of Android ‘Allow Unknown Sources’

What is Android ‘Unknown Sources’?

Unknown Sources is an Android accessibility setting that allows the phone to trust and install applications from any developers, publisher or source outside of the Google Play store. It can be used to trick unsuspecting users to install malware.

This Knowledge Base explains how to enable the “Detect Unknown Sources” feature inside any mobile app to protect the app from harmful content from unknown publishers. Android devices that have enabled the installation of apps from unknown sources

We hope you find it useful and enjoy using Appdome!

How to Prevent Abuse of ‘Unknown Sources’

Appdome is a no-code mobile security and development platform. Using a simple ‘click to add’ user interface, Appdome allows anyone to easily integrate Unknown Sources Detection to any mobile app – instantly, no code or coding required.

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites. For example, there is no Appdome SDK, libraries, or plug-ins to implement. When select your desired features/services and click “Build My App”, the Appdome platform adds the “Detect Unknown Sources” feature and relevant standards, frameworks and more to the app automatically, with no manual development work at all.

When Appdome’s “Detect Unknown Sources” feature is integrated in a mobile app, the app protects itself by detecting that the Android OS feature “allow app installs from unknown sources” setting is turned ON (ie: having this Android OS feature enabled is a less secure setting due to the risk of the mobile app user unknowingly installing malware disguised as legitimate software).  As a result, the app will not run. Instead, the app will display a customizable In-app message to the user before it exits. This message can be customized on the app build on Appdome.

How to Enable ‘Detect Unknown Sources’ in Android apps

Follow these step-by-step instructions to add the “Detect Unknown Sources” feature with App Compromise Notification to Any Mobile App:

4 Easy Steps to Protect Android apps against Unknown Sources Abuse

Please follow these steps to add a mobile app to your Appdome account.
If you don’t have an Appdome account, click here to create an account.

Under the Build, navigate to Security 

  1. Click on the toggle to enable Detect Unknown Sources
  2. (optional) Configure a message or use the default populated message under App Compromise Notification
  3. (optional) Enable Threat Events 
  4. Click Build My App

android unknown sources

The technology behind Build My App has two major elements – (1) a microservice architecture filled with 1000s of code sets needed for mobile integrations, and (2) an adaptive code generation engine that can recognize the development environment, frameworks and methods in each app and match the app to the relevant code-sets needed to add MicroVPN to the mobile app in seconds.

Congratulations! You now have a mobile app fully integrated with “Detect Unknown Sources” protection enabled.
Detect Unknown Sources appdome


How to Sign & Publish Secured Mobile Apps Built on Appdome  

After successfully securing your app using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include 

Or, see this quick reference Releasing Secured Android & iOS Apps built on Appdome. 

How Do I Learn More?

Learn about more ways to protect Android apps from running in compromised environments.

Request a demo at any time.

If your application built with Detect Unknown Sources isn’t detecting a device that has enabled, contact Appdome support at or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

Thanks for visiting Appdome! Our mission is to secure every app on the planet by making mobile app security easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project. If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for free. 

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