How to Encrypt Shared Preferences in Android apps

Last updated March 6, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Encrypt In-App Preferences 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 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 attackers cannot easily access this data.

Prerequisites for Using Encrypt In-App Preferences:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Encrypt In-App Preferences , you’ll need:

Encrypt In-App Preferences on Android apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Encrypt In-App Preferences 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. Encrypt In-App Preferences Compatible With: Java, JS, C++, C#, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and other Android apps
  2. Build the feature: 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, Circle 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. 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

      3. 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

Using Threat-Events™ for In-App Preferences Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for In-App Preferences are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Encrypt In-App Preferences Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Encrypt In-App Preferences
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 x
Visible in ThreatScope™ x
Developer Parameters for Encrypting In-App Preferences Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF
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

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 In-App Preferences is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Android apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Encrypt In-App Preferences:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android 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:

Related Articles:

How to Protect Android & iOS Apps from Copy/Paste Attacks

How to Protect iOS Apps from Screen Sharing Malware

Blur Application Screens for Mobile User Privacy in iOS Apps

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

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