How to Block Mobile App Patching in Android & iOS Apps

Last updated September 18, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Prevent Mobile App Patching in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Mobile App Patching?

Attackers can take original app and modify its code to make the app vulnerable to Rooted devices, debuggers, Frida, and Static Tampering. Malicious code can also be added to the app.

Why Prevent Mobile App Patching in Mobile Apps ?

The prevention of Static App Patching is one of Anti-Tampering features of Appdome’s ONEShield™. This feature ensures that the app has not been tampered with and does not contain malicious elements.

Using this feature prevents this angle of attack and ensures that the users are protected and that the original code is retained.

Preventing Mobile App Patching on Mobile apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Prevent Mobile App Patching 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. Mobile App Formats: .ipa For iOS device or .apk or .aab
  2. Build the Protection: Block Mobile App Patching.

    1. Building Block Mobile App Patching by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Block Mobile App Patching 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 Block Mobile App Patching feature via Appdome Console, to add the Block Mobile App Patching 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 Block Mobile App Patching feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Block Mobile App Patching protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > ONEShield™ section . Like all other options in ONEShield™, Mobile App Patching is turned on by default, as shown below: Block Mobile App Patching option

        Figure 3: Prevent Mobile App Patching 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.

      2. When you select the Block Mobile App Patching you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Block Mobile App Patching

        Fusion Set applied Block Mobile App Patching

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Block Mobile App Patching protection

      3. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Block Mobile App Patching:
        1. Threat-Events™ OFF > In-App Defense

          If the Threat-Events™ setting is cleared (not selected). Appdome will detect and defend the user and app by enforcing Prevent Mobile App Patching.

        2. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Detection

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects app code has been changed and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence to the app’s business logic for processing, enforcement, and user notification. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Block Mobile App Patching Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

        3. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Defense

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Mobile App Patching (same as Appdome Enforce) and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence the app’s business logic for processing. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Block Mobile App Patching Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

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

Using Threat-Events™ for Mobile App Patching Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Mobile App Patching is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Mobile App Patching in Mobile Apps, use AddObserverForName in Notification Center, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Mobile App Patching shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Mobile App Patching are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Prevent Mobile App Patching Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Block Mobile App Patching
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTON 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
Visible in ThreatScope™
Developer Parameters for Preventing Mobile App Patching Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME AppIntegrityError
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6917
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
messageMessage displayed for the user on event
externalIDThe external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersionOS version of the current device
deviceModelCurrent device model
deviceManufacturerThe manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppTokenThe task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfoInfo about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmnPLMN of the device
deviceIDCurrent device ID
reasonCodeReason code of the occured event
buildDateAppdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatformOS name of the current device
carrierNameCarrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersionIs the OS version up to date
deviceBrandBrand of the device
deviceBoardBoard of the device
buildUserBuild user
buildHostBuild host
sdkVersionSdk version
timeZoneTime zone
deviceFaceDownIs the device face down
locationLongLocation long
locationLatLocation lat
locationStateLocation state
wifiSsidWifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatusWifi SSID permission status
AntampIntegrityErrorMessageError message
dataData related to the security event
certificateSHA1Failed certificate
reasonReason for the detection
modifiedSelectorsNamesChunkModified Selectors Names Chunk

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), Mobile developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in Mobile applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Mobile App Patching is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Block Mobile App Patching:

Prerequisites to Using Block Mobile App Patching:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent Mobile App Patching , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Block Mobile App Patching. 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 Block Mobile App Patching

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 Block Mobile App Patching

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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