How to Encrypt Shared Preferences in Android apps

Last updated August 11, 2022 by Appdome

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

What Are Shared Preferences in Android apps?

In Android app development, Shared Preferences are used to keep track of commonly accessed user and application preferences in Android apps. Preferences are used mainly to create a sense of persistence and personalization for mobile users to improve the user experience. Shared Preferences are stored as plain-text XML key/value pairs inside Android apps and can be retrieved by other apps and systems.

Why Encrypt Shared Preferences ?

Preferences can be any kind of text-based data which may include information about users that is highly personal, private or sensitive. For example – preferences can be used to display a screen that contains personally identifiable information, which is saved when the application closes and brought back when the app opens again.

The use of app preferences is very broad and flexible, and there’s no restriction on the type of information that can be stored in preferences and retrieved by other resources. Furthermore, Shared Preferences are stored as plain-text data (unencrypted) by default, which makes them a valuable area for hackers to target with ease. Appdome’s Encrypt Shared Preferences in Android apps ensures this data cannot be easily accessed by attackers.

Encrypting Shared Prefrences on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Encrypt Shared Prefrences 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 Protection: Encrypt In-App Preferences.

    1. Building Encrypt In-App Preferences by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Encrypt In-App Preferences 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 In-App Preferences feature via Appdome Console, to add the Encrypt In-App Preferences 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 In-App Preferences feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Encrypt In-App Preferences 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 In-App Preferences, as shown below. Encrypt In-App Preferences option

        Figure 3: Encrypt Shared Prefrences option

      3. When you select the Encrypt In-App Preferences 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 In-App Preferences

        Fusion Set applied Encrypt In-App Preferences

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Encrypt In-App Preferences protection

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

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

Prerequisites to Using Encrypt In-App Preferences:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Encrypt Shared Prefrences , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Encrypt In-App Preferences. 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 In-App Preferences

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.

Protections Similar to Encrypt In-App Preferences

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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