How to Detect Debugger Code Manipulations in Android & iOS Apps

Last updated February 22, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Detect Debugger Code Manipulations in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What are Debugger Code Manipulations?

Runtime Code manipulation (also known as Debugger Code Manipulations) is a hacking technique involving executing or changing existing classes and methods of your application while the application is running.

Why Detect Debugger Code Manipulations in Mobile Apps?

Here’s why you would want to Block Runtime Code Manipulations in Android & iOS Apps

IOS: The dynamic traits of Objective-C allow you to change methods, handle or redirect messages by overwriting specific methods, and add/set/remove properties and Ivars of a class, thereby making it fragile to misuse.

Android: Android allows you to load classes from a .apk file containing classes.dex entry, which can be used to execute code not installed as part of your application.

Prerequisites for Using Detect Debugger Code Manipulations:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Detect Debugger Code Manipulations , you’ll need:

Detect Debugger Code Manipulations on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Detect Debugger Code Manipulations 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, or .apk or .aab for Android
    4. Detect Debugger Code Manipulations Compatible With: Obj-C, C+, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Detect Debugger Code Manipulations.

    1. Building Detect Debugger Code Manipulations by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Detect Debugger Code Manipulations 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 Detect Debugger Code Manipulations feature via Appdome Console, to add the Detect Debugger Code Manipulations 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 Detect Debugger Code Manipulations feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Detect Debugger Code Manipulations protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > ONEShield™ section.
      2. When you select the Detect Debugger Code Manipulations you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Detect Debugger Code Manipulations

        Fusion Set applied Detect Debugger Code Manipulations

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Detect Debugger Code Manipulations protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Detect Debugger Code Manipulations protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Detect Debugger Code Manipulations. 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 Detect Debugger Code Manipulations

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:

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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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