How to Encrypt Assets & Resources in Android Apps

Last updated December 19, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Encrypt assets & resources in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What are Application Resources?

In Android apps, the Assets and res directories are places where the developer can add arbitrary files like text files, XML, HTML, fonts, music, and video in the application. These files, which are necessary for the app’s functionality and performance, are stored in the device under the assets folder of the application, and are used during runtime.

Why Should Developers Encrypt Application Resources in their Android Apps?

Users with privileged user access can easily read the resources contents. Appdome can encrypt these files using modern and standardized AES encryption, render them unreadble for malicious application users. The resources are decrypted when the application uses them to make sure that the app’s functionality doesn’t change.
Resources can be easily accessed by potential attackers, and the resources include databases, texts, and other files that may contain sensitive information. Therefore, Encrypting Application Resources hardens the security of that information

Encrypting assets & resources on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Encrypt assets & resources 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: Encrypt Resources.

    1. Building Encrypt Resources by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Encrypt Resources 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 Encrypt Resources feature via Appdome Console, to add the Encrypt Resources 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 Encrypt Resources feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Encrypt Resources protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALData™ Encryption section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Encrypt Resources, as shown below.
        If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Encrypts assets & resources. Encrypt Resources option

        Figure 3: Encrypt assets & resources option
        Note: The App Compromise Notification contains an easy to follow default remediation path for the mobile app end user. You can customize this message as required to achieve brand specific support, workflow or other messaging.

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

        Fusion Set applied Encrypt Resources

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Encrypt Resources protection

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

    After building Encrypt Resources, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Encrypt Resources protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Encrypt Resources protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Encrypt Resources 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 Encrypt Resources has been added to each Android app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Encrypt Resources and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Prerequisites to Using Encrypt Resources:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Encrypt assets & resources , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Encrypt Resources. 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 Encrypt Resources

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 Encrypt Resources

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!

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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