Obfuscate Mobile Business Logic, Anti-Reversing in Android & iOS Apps

Last updated April 17, 2023 by Appdome

Learn to Obfuscate App Logic in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is code obfuscation?

One of the most used types of reverse engineering is static code analysis, where an attacker attempts to analyze the source code of an iOS or Android application in order to understand what the source code does and how it does it – all without running the app.

While there are many different methods and techniques to obfuscate mobile application code, Obfuscating App Logic is an effective way of preventing attackers from using static code analysis to understand the application’s logical flow, especially when combined with other obfuscation techniques such as binary code obfuscation and application shielding.

How does Appdome implement code obfuscation?

When customers enable Obfuscate App Logic, all application logic classes and methods will be obfuscated and renamed to random strings. Appdome automatically keeps open-source libraries non obfuscated.  When combined with string encryption and Strip Debug Information, understanding what the code does is very difficult and impractical.

When enabling Appdome’s Obfuscate App Logic feature, the protections specified as optional configuration, such as the obfuscation of package names and dynamic classes, are included automatically.

Obfuscating App Logic on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Obfuscate App Logic 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
  2. Build the feature: Obfuscate App Logic.

    1. Building Obfuscate App Logic by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Obfuscate App Logic 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 Obfuscate App Logic feature via Appdome Console, to add the Obfuscate App Logic 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 Obfuscate App Logic feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Obfuscate App Logic protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALCode™ Obfuscation section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Obfuscate App Logic, as shown below. Obfuscate App Logic option

        Figure 3: Obfuscate App Logic option

      3. When you select the Obfuscate App Logic you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Obfuscate App Logic

        Fusion Set applied Obfuscate App Logic

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Obfuscate App Logic protection

      4. Optional Configuration with Obfuscate App Logic:
        1. Obfuscate Package Names

          Obfuscates package and class names within the application’s business logic.

        2. Obfuscate Dynamic Classes

          Obfuscates (renames) classes to random strings.

        3. Obfuscate Dynamic Methods

          Obfuscates (renames) methods to random strings.

        4. Obfuscate Linkages and Reflection

          Supports obfuscation of classes and methods used in reflection and in JNI up-calls and down-calls.

        5. Obfuscate Crashes

          Obfuscates methods and classes in crashes and stack traces.

        6. Anti Java Decoding

          Prevents Java decoding by external tools such as Jadx.

        7. Exclude Specific Classes

          List class or package prefixes to exclude from obfuscation.

        8. Obfuscation Mapping File/Script

          Download mapping scripts and files in order to deobfuscate the app for further investigation.

      5. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Obfuscate App Logic protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Obfuscate App Logic feature in Android Apps.

    After building Obfuscate App Logic, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Obfuscate App Logic protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Obfuscate App Logic protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Obfuscate App Logic shown in Certificate secure

    Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate

    Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Obfuscate App Logic has been added to each Android app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Obfuscate App Logic and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Prerequisites to Using Obfuscate App Logic:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Obfuscate App Logic , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Obfuscate App Logic. 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 Obfuscate App Logic

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:

All apps protected by Appdome are fully compatible with any public app store, including Apple App Store, Google Play, Huawei App Gallery and more.

Features Similar to Obfuscate App Logic

Here are a few related resources:

How to Obfuscate Non-Native Android & iOS Code and Frameworks

How to add Native Code Obfuscation to any iOS, Android app

How to Encrypt Java Class Files (.dex) in Android Apps

Appdome ONEShield Mobile App Hardening

If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

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