How to Build Anti-Tampering in Android & iOS Apps

Last updated August 30, 2022 by Appdome

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

What is code tampering?

Tampering involves the modification of a mobile app (either the compiled app or the running process), or the mobile app’s environment, thereby affecting the app behavior. For example, an app might not run on your rooted test device, thus preventing any option to run some of your tests.

Why Prevent code tampering in Mobile Apps ?

Tamper prevention protects your app against unwanted changes, mods, and hacks – all without adding development work or time to your release cycles. This is done by sealing your app and actively detecting modifications during initialization and at multiple other points during run-time (whenever the app is being used).
Mobile Anti-Tampering protects against the following static and dynamic modifications to the application:

  • Re-signing the application.
  • Attempting to Modify the Appdome adapter.
  • Modifying the application’s main executable (app binary – ipa in iOS and DEX file in Android).

Preventing code tampering on Mobile apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Prevent code tampering 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: Prevent Code Tampering.

    1. Building Prevent Code Tampering by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Prevent Code Tampering 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 Code Tampering feature via Appdome Console, to add the Prevent Code Tampering 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 Prevent Code Tampering feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Prevent Code Tampering 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™, code tampering is turned on by default, as shown below: Prevent Code Tampering option

        Figure 3: Prevent code tampering 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 Prevent Code Tampering 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 Code Tampering

        Fusion Set applied Prevent Code Tampering

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Prevent Code Tampering protection

      3. Extra Configuration with Prevent Code Tampering:
        1. Checksum Validation

        2. App Integrity/Structure Scan

        3. Prevent Static App Patching

        4. Prevent Code Tampering

        5. Prevent App Repacking

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

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

Prerequisites to Using Prevent Code Tampering:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent code tampering , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Prevent Code Tampering. 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 Code Tampering

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 Prevent Code Tampering

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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