How to Encrypt Strings.xml in Android Apps

Last updated August 11, 2022 by Appdome

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

What is the strings.xml file?

The strings.xml file is the usual location for storing a string resource, which provides text strings for your application, with optional text styling and formatting. Unlike the java strings and the assets folder, the string resources cannot be encrypted on the device because the OS needs to access the strings file. This makes strings the soft belly of any application, as they can contain sensitive information such as phrases, URLs, tokens, and passwords that can be easily understood from the application without using any specialized tools.

How does Appdome Protect the strings.xml File ?

To provide customers with overall security protection of their Android app, Appdome’s XMLEncrypt™ service encrypts the sensitive strings stored in the localizable locations in Android.

Encrypting strings under strings.xml on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Encrypt strings under strings.xml 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: TOTALData™ Encryption.

    1. Building TOTALData™ Encryption by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the TOTALData™ Encryption 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 TOTALData™ Encryption feature via Appdome Console, to add the TOTALData™ Encryption 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 TOTALData™ Encryption feature via Appdome Console

      To build the TOTALData™ Encryption 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) TOTALData™ Encryption, as shown below. TOTALData™ Encryption option

        Figure 3: Encrypt strings under strings.xml option

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

        Fusion Set applied TOTALData™ Encryption

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added TOTALData™ Encryption protection

      4. Extra Configuration with TOTALData™ Encryption:
        1. XMLEncrypt™

          Encrypt sensitive strings.xml values for all locales.

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

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

Prerequisites to Using TOTALData™ Encryption:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Encrypt strings under strings.xml , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using TOTALData™ Encryption. 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 TOTALData™ Encryption

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 TOTALData™ Encryption

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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