How to Prevent Running on Simulators in Android & IOS Apps

Last updated May 28, 2024 by Appdome

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

What are Simulators?

Simulators are virtualized tools that are used to run software tests on mobile apps inside flexible, software-defined environments.  Hackers use simulators for malicious purposes as part of dynamic analysis efforts, where they run your mobile app in their own controlled environment to learn how your app behaves and interacts with other components or systems while it’s running.

Why Should Developers Prevent Apps from Running on Simulators?

Hackers use simulators to run mobile apps within their own controlled environment so they can mimic, observe, and study how a mobile app functions and behaves while the app is running. This lets them know how a mobile app behaves to help hackers build more effective attacks and attack methods.

For example, using simulators, hackers can observe how an app interacts with the mobile operating system, or study the methods and sequence by which the app connects to and authenticates with its backend. Simulators can also be used to observe how an application app reads/writes to the filesystem (for instance to learn if weak encryption is used, or no encryption at all).

Prerequisites for Using Prevent Running on Simulators:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent running on simulators , you’ll need:

Prevent running on simulators on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Prevent running on simulators 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. Prevent Running on Simulators Compatible With: Obj-C, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Prevent Running on Simulators.

    1. Building Prevent Running on Simulators by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Prevent Running on Simulators feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Prevent Running on Simulators

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Prevent Running on Simulators 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 Prevent Running on Simulators feature via Appdome Console, to add the Prevent Running on Simulators 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 Prevent Running on Simulators feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Prevent Running on Simulators 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 Prevent Running on Simulators you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Prevent Running on Simulators

        Fusion Set applied Prevent Running on Simulators

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Prevent Running on Simulators protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Prevent Running on Simulators protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for running on simulators Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for running on simulators are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Prevent running on simulators Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Prevent Running on Simulators
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 Preventing running on simulators 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), 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 running on simulators is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Prevent Running on Simulators:


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Prevent Running on Simulators. 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 Prevent Running on Simulators

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:

To learn all of the security features included in Appdome ONEShield, visit the OneShield Knowledge Base article.

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.

Want a Demo?

Mobile RASP Security

AlanWe're here to help
We'll get back to you in 24 hours to schedule your demo.