How to Detect Xposed Framework, Protect Android Apps

Last updated May 7, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Block Xposed Framework in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Xposed Framework?

Xposed is a framework that allows developers to apply modules (add-ons) to the Read-Only Memory (ROM) of Android for the purpose of modifying the app’s behavior or creating a modified app (a “mod”).  Xposed is used by pen testers and hackers to modify the flow of an Android app at runtime. It does this by writing custom modules for hooking into said Android apps. These Xposed Framework modules are custom-created Android .apk files that can be used to modify the runtime of an android mobile app. Xposed has a waned a bit in popularity as of late, with the advent of Magisk. However, it is still a very popular (and quite dangerous) tool that is still used pretty heavily by hackers today.

Why Block Xposed Framework in Android Apps?

The reason for blocking Xposed by adding Appdome’s Root Prevention to any Android app is that while a developer or a pen tester may use Xposed during the development stages of your app, once the app is complete you can assume that any use of Xposed is made by a malicious party in order to modify your Android app.

Using Xposed requires having a rooted Android device, as well as the setting Enable Unknown Sources turned on, as this setting allows attackers to install programs whose source is not an approved store (like custom exposed modules) onto an Android device. In addition, you can also add the Detect Unknown Sources  protection, thus further tightening the security of your Android app.

Prerequisites for Using Root Detection:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block Xposed Framework , you’ll need:

Block Xposed Framework on Android apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Block Xposed Framework without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. Android Formats: .apk or .aab
    4. Root Detection Compatible With: Java, JS, C++, C#, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and other Android apps
  2. Build the feature: Root Detection.

    1. Building Root Detection by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Root Detection feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Root Detection

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Root Detection feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Root Detection feature via Appdome Console, to add the Root Detection feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set, as shown in Figure 1 above, and get the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below): fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Cirlce CI or other system:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Root Detection feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Root Detection protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > OS Integrity section.
      2. When you select the Root Detection you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Root Detection

        Fusion Set applied Root Detection

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Root Detection protection

      3. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Root Detection:
        1. Threat-Events™ OFF > In-App Defense

          If the Threat-Events™ setting is cleared (not selected). Appdome will detect and defend the user and app by enforcing Block Xposed Framework.

        2. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Detection

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects the Xposed Framework and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence to the app’s business logic for processing, enforcement, and user notification. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Root Detection Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

        3. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Defense

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Xposed Framework (same as Appdome Enforce) and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence the app’s business logic for processing. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Root Detection Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

      4. Extra Configuration with Root Detection:
        1. SELinux Enforcement

          Prevent user from running your application on devices with no SELinux enforcement.

      5. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Root Detection protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Xposed Framework Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Xposed Framework is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Xposed Framework in Android Apps, use registerReceiver in the Application OnCreate, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Xposed Framework shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Xposed Framework are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Block Xposed Framework Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Root Detection
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTION Appdome detects the attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (app chooses how and when to enforce).
ON, IN-APP DEFENSE Uses Appdome Enforce mode for any attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (gather intel on attacks and threats without losing any protection).
Certified Secure™ Threat Event Check
Visible in ThreatScope™
Developer Parameters for Blocking Xposed Framework Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME RootedDevice
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6901
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
message Message displayed for the user on event
externalID The external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersion OS version of the current device
deviceModel Current device model
deviceManufacturer The manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppToken The task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfo Info about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmn PLMN of the device
deviceID Current device ID
reasonCode Reason code of the occured event
buildDate Appdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatform OS name of the current device
carrierName Carrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersion Is the OS version up to date
deviceBrand Brand of the device
deviceBoard Board of the device
buildUser Build user
buildHost Build host
sdkVersion Sdk version
timeZone Time zone
deviceFaceDown Is the device face down
locationLong Location longitude conditioned by location permission
locationLat Location latitude conditioned by location permission
locationState Location state conditioned by location permission
wifiSsid Wifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatus Wifi SSID permission status
internalError Internal error code as hex
extendedMessageText Internal error code
rInternalErrorCode Internal error code
reason Reason for the root detection

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), Android developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in Android applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Xposed Framework is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Android apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Root Detection:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Root Detection. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.

Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Root Detection

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

Related Articles:

You can add Appdome Root Prevention to any Android app in order to protect the app against Xposed. In addition, you can optionally add Detect Unknown Sources to the Android app just to give it a little more protection against Xposed.

If you have any questions, please send them our way 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.

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